Pep Talk (July 2021) – No One Knows What They’re Doing

No One Knows What they're doing

Every month I write a pep talk to (hopefully) inspire, motivate, or pick you up if you’re feeling down. Think of it as both nurturing encouragement and your ‘kick up the butt’ to get going on your goals or dreams (or just help you feel good).

Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? It’s when someone doubts their own abilities and doesn’t believe they’re as good as others perceive them to be.

Those feelings – of self-doubt and ineptitude – stop us from trying things. They keep us from pushing further on the things we do try, because we don’t think we’re capable of it.

It can feel like everyone around us knows what they’re doing. They have everything figured out, but you must have missed the email somehow.

But you know what? Everyone’s making it up as they go along.

Life doesn’t come with a manual

We live in a world of comparison, and it’s so easy to look at someone who seems to be doing something so well and be completely put off by their capability. They seem to know exactly what they’re doing and they make it all look so easy – how could you even attempt to try, next to their perfect example, when you have absolutely no idea? What would even be the point?

Listen – that person has no idea either. When they first started, they were just like you. Sure, they might have gained some experience by now, but there’s probably at least one moment in every single day where they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing or what’s going to happen.

That’s life. It doesn’t come with a manual. We have to figure everything out, every moment, as it comes.

The magic lightbulb moment

Look at it this way: remember when you were a kid, and adults just knew everything? They always had the answers, always knew what to do, always had everything figured out?

It was a total lie.

Adults are really good at faking it.

Because there’s no magic moment when you grow up, and a light bulb goes off, and suddenly you know everything. There’s no download that occurs and suddenly you are an adult who has all the answers. You have to learn – and usually that’s learn by doing.

And yet we look around at everyone else thinking that magic light bulb did go off for them. They were instilled with all this great knowledge at some point, and now they know everything.

They don’t. No one does. We’re ALL figuring it out as we go, every single day. Some of us are just better actors.

Everyone feels the same

So take this as motivation. As a confidence boost. If you’re scared to do something because you have no idea what you’re doing – well, neither does anyone else.

It means there’s no right or wrong way to do something. And no one with any humility is going to look at you and think you’re doing it wrong – they’re probably too busy trying to make it look like they know what they’re doing. They might even be looking at you, thinking the same things: wondering how you know everything.

I guarantee you, even those people who seem to go through life flawlessly – the ones who have their life together, are financially and professionally successful, have the perfect family life, and always seem to be happy, organised, and good at everything – they weren’t instilled with some magic knowledge. They’re figuring everything out as they go. What they’re really good at is hiding it.

And I bet they have plenty of aspects in their life they want to improve, where they still have no clue what they’re doing.

There’s no magic moment when you grow up, and a light bulb goes off, and suddenly you know everything.

The meaning of life is unknown

I’m not saying it’s not possible to be competent and comfortable and skilled within life – of course it is. But life itself is an enigma. We still don’t know our purpose here, or the meaning of the universe. We cannot sit down in the evening and accurately predict how every single minute of the following day is going to go.

So we have to make it up. Every single day. Every single one of us.

And that means you have just as much right and experience and capability to try whatever you want. If you’re scared, that’s normal. If you feel self-doubt, remember you learn by trying. And if you don’t feel good enough, know that every one else started exactly the same as you.

There is no magic light bulb. We’re all just human, trying to figure out life as it comes.

This pep talk is part of a series I write each month, to help motivate, inspire, and give you a boost, either in work or personally – if you like this and want more, find previous pep talks here.

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