“How to accept your best might not be enough?”

Submitted Request..

This post is an answer to a submitted question. It aims to provide help and solutions to overcome the issue.

Podcast version: HERE

“When we want to change things that are out of our hands, we end up causing ourselves great stress. When we focus on what is out of our control, not only do we cause ourselves unnecessary suffering, we focus on the wrong things.”

Submitted Question:

“How to accept your best might not be enough?

The thing I find incredibly hard to accept while studying for exams is that the final outcome is still out of my control, even if I focus on the things that are: my techniques, the hours I put in, they all may amount to nothing if I don't get the grade I want.

How do I come to terms, or as some say be liberated by the fact that its not up to me when I want to succeed so badly.”

My Response if we were in a coaching setting. Although without being able to ask questions I may assume or use scenarios to fill in the gaps.

What I hear is a desire to feel indifferent however you're still wanting to bend something that's out of your control, to be in your control. Desire creates a ton of mental suffering.

What is your perception or what does it means to "succeed"?

In our society, success is often associated with achieving specific goals or reaching certain milestones, set by something external. 

Do you have to be successful and feel "good enough" only if you get an A+? What is it you want exactly? 

Is success to please someone? Yourself, your family member(s), is it comparing yourself to someone else in class? Are you trying to impress your professor? A girlfriend or boyfriend that appears to hardly study and get’s straight A’s?

What is the thoughts or relationship to the word success or succeeding? 

When we solely focus on external markers of success, we may overlook the importance of personal growth, well-being, and fulfillment. We are blind to seeing how we are growing and evolving with each test, every time improving the studying process, and prioritizing things that make it easier to absorb and maybe it’s improvement in test taking anxiety. 

Celebrate the growth, looking through the lens of seeing the improvements you will find them, if you look through the lens of what you didn’t do right, or how you failed, you will certainly find proof of that as well.  

What if success isn't attached to a specific outcome on your test it's bigger than that? What if it's various aspects of life, including relationships, mental, emotional, physical health, personal development, your wellbeing and overall happiness?

What if you were to focus on the growth, and enjoying the journey what would that open up for you in your daily life experience? 

Choose, or command your thoughts, your perception or relationship to what it means to "succeed" or be “successful”.  

Changing our perception of success means shifting away from the idea that it is solely determined by external achievements. We humans can get really lost when we attach our happiness to something that we have little to no influence in. This means that studying hard doesn't necessarily equate to getting an A; it means you did your best, you put your heart, soul and set yourself up for success in every way possible. Celebrate it, go easy on yourself and reflect on what you've learned from the time committed to studying and the style you chose to study this topic. What worked, what didn't work, and adjust accordingly next time. Seeing what has been done in the past with discernment, non judgmental view of the process. 

The variables of how tricky the test might be or the content in the test are not within your control.

What is in your control is your thoughts, feelings and actions. 

How you think about the test will either motivate you to study or avoid studying. 

How you feel about the upcoming test is purely thought created. don't like how you're feeling about it? Choose thoughts that empower you verses disempower you. This is the lubricant to the ACTIONS you take. This is the key to the HOW to move forward powerfully. If your thoughts are empowering, the feeling will set your heart on fire to prioritize studying and giving it your best effort.

Feeling liberated, or other ways to articulate feeling at peace with the test or your grade, are within your control. When you practice mental fitness by letting go of thoughts that don't serve you and cling to those that do serve you will shift to your mind serving you vs your mind creating an illusion of misery.  

Success can be viewed as a journey rather than a destination. It is about continuous learning, growth, and self-improvement. Having that tenacity and grit to keep going, vs wallowing around in self pity and shame. These negative feelings if we stay in them begin to be our default, our brain and nervous system like to stay with what feels familiar and good, if growing attached to a negative feeling protects you in some way it will become a loop or habit that will become your new way of being. I am sure you’ve met people who are just negative nancy’s and can suck the air out of a room. Here’s the thing that is their default they aren’t consciously aware of what they are doing. Some people think it’s bonding or connecting with other people to talk about the negative things they see in this world. 

If success is defined by measuring or comparing ourselves to others or conforming to societal expectations, creates a difficult way of existing. It is essential to define success on our own terms and celebrate our unique strengths and accomplishments.

By changing our perception of success, we open ourselves up to a world of possibilities. 

We become more attuned to our inner desires, purpose, meaning and values, allowing us to make choices that align with our authentic genuine selves. We are no longer bound by the pressure to conform or meet society's definition of success, but rather empowered to create our own path and live a fulfilling life. Showing up, doing our best and learning, growing and evolving with each hurdle.

Challenge your current perceptions, thoughts, beliefs and stories of what success means and focus in on what you can control. See the growth and focus on areas to strengthen to improve your studying process that comes from an empowering energy vs a disempowering energy. 

Prioritize your well-being, mental, emotional health, personal growth, and cultivate happiness.

Expectations often lead to disappointment. Expecting a certain grade with too many unknown variable outside your control it's sure to lead to some sort of negative emotion. This might be a pattern in not only this area of your life, and others. Often when we are hard on ourselves in a state of mind that we are never enough, that creates a lot of mental suffering within ourself, with life and with other people we associate with. 

Ultimately, success is a deeply personal and subjective experience. 

It is not solely determined by external factors, but rather by our own rules, perceptions, values, goals, and aspirations. By deeply understanding your feelings towards anything is within your power, by choosing or commanding your thoughts towards how you want to feel about anything including this exam you'll learn, evolve, pivot when things go a certain way. You'll grow to see the gifts and possibilities in every situation, focusing on the positives and adjusting how you think, feel and act when studying for the next exam. 

I hope this helps. I wish you all the best. Please share this with anyone you believe would benefit from the insights. Post a comment, I read and reply to them all. Thank you in advance!

If you want to send a question, please send to hello@katherine-hood.com please include: 

  • A coachable question (something that addresses what's in your control, your thoughts, feelings or actions.)
  • And context, explain a situation in the past, currently going through, or worries/concerns of the future, giving me some details on your thoughts and feelings about it. 

To learn more about mental fitness go HERE

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