I grew up in a highly competitive environment.
Living in Hong Kong, I spent 7 years of my teenage years in a “grade A” local school, where the culture considered a “good student” as somebody who is academically outstanding, musically talented or good at sports.
I wanted to show that I was a good student too. However, I was always mid-range level in my grades, nor did I have any talent on music or sports. I never seemed to be able to have a voice, and I didn’t receive support in the school environment.
At age 15, my class teacher complained to my Mother on parent’s day and said, “she is not cooperative”. In response, my Mother answered, “what you describe there is nothing like my daughter, she is a good girl, and a diligent student”. I will never forget how she defended me.
I am not sharing the above story to complain about the education system in Hong Kong, but to highlight a personal growth journey that brought me to where I am today.
Society are not giving children and young adults a fair chance to grow and thrive into their adult and professional years if they are not supported in a way that allows them to unleash their own talent and potential. They need to feel empowered to believe there is something they are good at.
In my situation and throughout my teenage years, I suffered from what I call ‘I am not good enough’ syndrome. I believed that what I did, didn’t have much value and that I didn’t have anything that I was particularly good at. This naturally impacted all aspects of my life and prevented me from being a better version of myself.
A conversation with a colleague a couple of years ago completed shifted my mindset and perspective on how I see things. I shared that I believed my role was relatively easy in comparison to other, what I believed were, more important roles. They replied, “you think your job is easy because you are naturally good at it, and it doesn’t mean everyone can do your job.” This powerful moment answered a question I had been searching for a long time to answer, “what am I good at?”.
This conversation not only changed how I see things, but also invited me to be more self-compassionate and confident in myself. It allowed me acknowledge that I matter. Through sharing my story and my willingness to be vulnerable, I was able to find courage and resilience in my life journey.
To all those who are thinking you are not good enough, remember that life is a bumpy journey that shapes you to become stronger.