It’s true: We’re all our own worst enemies. After all, who hasn’t been going along just fine when, all of a sudden, you’re hit with the certainty that you’re not good enough? That you just don’t have what it takes and you’re going to fail? It’s coming…so let’s talk about how to deal with it.
“What do you do when you feel inadequate?” is one of the most common questions I get. Why? Because at some point everyone will feel it. It’s part of how we operate: As soon as we start moving forward and pursuing a dream, one of the first things that will happen is that our brains send out alert signals to keep us in the status quo. And this alerts take the form of thoughts like, “You’ll never make this work” and “You’re not good enough to do this.” Pretty crummy, huh?
But, here’s the good news: you’re not alone and these feelings can actually help you.
Everyone Feels Inadequate—Even the Pros
There’s some comfort to take in knowing it will come and knowing that everyone else feels it. In fact, I’d put out there that there’s something wrong if someone doesn’t feel it. The feeling is crummy, but it also forces you to do a little self-searching and there’s never anything wrong with that.
And when I say “everyone else feels it” that includes people you might not think of. Even the most brilliant, celebrated, successful copywriters in the industry have questioned themselves and felt inadequate. Plus, at each stage of your career—if your goal is continue growing—you’re going to continue to hit these walls of doubt.
No One is Born Writing Copy
One very key thing to remember is that everyone starts in exactly the same place: Not knowing anything. No one is born knowing how to write great copy. Everyone had to learn it—including copywriting geniuses, including me, including you.
As adults, it’s not often that we have to start completely at the beginning on something. Think about it: When was the last time you had to do something that you were brand new at? That just makes it especially scary since we haven’t done it in so long; we’ve lost the feeling we had as kids that it was natural not to know anything about a new subject and not to fear digging in.
Learning Means You’re Growing
You might think you’re inadequate. You’re not. You’re learning. You’re probably not going to feel comfortable with writing copy for a while—and that’s good. This discomfort is how we grow. Think of it like working out. To build muscle, you have to take your body through some discomfort. You suffer through it and gradually your body gets better at performing the exercises and your muscles increase.
Learning and practicing makes you better, but it also makes you feel better.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you’re feeling inadequate or you’re wondering if you’ll be able to do this, it’s not a message from your intuition. All it means is that you’re on the right track and your brain is kicking up some self-doubt, just like it does for everyone when they push themselves at all outside of their comfort zones.
You’re on the right path. Keep fighting through that self-doubt. You can do it. 🙂
P.S. For a good reference on what he calls “resistance,” check out Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.
On episode 72 of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast, Nicki and Kate are sharing their top 3 tips for combatting imposter syndrome. The I’m-not-good-enough thoughts will always try to derail you, but here’s how you can make sure you get your work done and fuel your confidence rather than your doubt.
Your turn! What crummy and fear-mongering thoughts has your brain fed you? Let us know in the comments below. (I’ll start—when I’m in a situation where I feel unsure, I think that I’m going to fail because “there’s something wrong with me.” It always knocks me down until I can eventually remember that it’s only fear trying to keep me from growing. Fight it. Grrr.)
Last Updated on June 30, 2023