Voice of Indiscriminate Doubt

 

"I should let you know that you may have overestimated my potential," he said to me. "I thought about cancelling this meeting but I wanted to tell you in person that you might be wasting your time."

This is from a friend who has a lot to offer the world, but he doesn't know it yet. I know he will read this, but this isn't for him. It's for you.

We're getting garbage in from all kinds of sources. The most dangerous are the people in our lives whose opinion we value. The little voice of indiscriminate doubt (VOID) in our heads doesn't need to say much if that VOID has hired a spokesperson who looks an awful lot like someone you care about.

I'm so grateful that someone in my life showed me how much he believed in my potential. Better yet, I'm glad he was someone who had a reputation for being right. He didn't do any of the work for me, but he always guided me to the next step. First this, then that. Next thing I knew, a decade had gone by and I had something to show for my part.

Someone has invested in you, perhaps. A boss? A mentor? A parent? A stranger?

My privilege is having parents who filled me with competence and optimism. My good fortune was finding people who needed my competence and optimism on their team, and had something to add to my skill set. My obligation is to pass it on before the lights go out.

[Caution: foul language ahead. I will ease into it.]

Maybe you didn't have the privilege I did, but you can get competence and optimism from lots of places. Hell, they are free.

Maybe you didn't have the good fortune to find a great boss, but you get to quit your shitty boss when you decide you deserve better. I can't do that for you.

Maybe you don't feel a sense of obligation in your soul to reach your potential. Of all the nerve... What gives you the right to even attempt it?

Maybe your VOID was talking about herself and not you. When the lights go out, will you know with certainty that the VOID didn't get the best of you?

Stop playing devil's advocate. The devil doesn't need an advocate. He's doing just fine without your help.

Tell that voice of indiscriminate doubt to fuck off. There's a lot of work to do before the lights go out and you don't know how much time is left.

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