Public Speaking – How to Beat the Epidemic of Not Enough


There’s an epidemic infecting the majority of the population of America. Maybe the world.

No, I’m not talking about avian flu, or malaria or hyperopia.
I’m talking about the Epidemic of Not Enough.

The symptoms to watch for are:

  1. a tendency to always think or feel that you are in some way not enough, that you are lacking some quality, skill, talent or characteristic.
  2. the thought that others may be able to be, have or do what they want, but you don’t get to.
  3. the feeling that you always need more of “something” (more money, more time, more training, more experience) before you can take action or succeed.
  4. feeling stuck, like you can’t move ahead or follow an impulse because you either talk yourself out of it, postpone it or doubt your ability to create a satisfactory result.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, don’t call your doctor. Chances are he’s got the same disease and won’t have a clue as to how to cure you.

In my work with clients, when someone is feeling nervous, anxious, scared or stuck about expressing themselves in public, it is almost always associated with what Kim George calls, The Illusion of Not Enough. (Kim is the author of “Coaching Into Greatness,” an amazing book that I am eating up right now.) This is when you start feeling extremely nervous and scared because you hold some belief or thought that you’re simply not up to the task of speaking or performing in public.

You tell yourself you’re not smart enough. Not polished enough. Not interesting enough, not attractive enough, not articulate enough.  Or, that you don’t have enough of something. For instance, you can’t do it until you more training, more time, more practice, more experience, a better outfit, the right atmosphere.

Stop and think about it. Is this sounding at all familiar to you? Can you identify the ways you may be the victim of Not Enough?

The tragedy of this Illusion of Not Enough is two-fold. One, it keeps you small, silent, scared and frozen in place. It prevents you from moving towards what you want and what you deserve.

But the even bigger tragedy is that it’s all a lot of hooey! It just isn’t true. It is, in fact, an Illusion. You ARE enough. Who says otherwise? As Kim George says, “Who’s holding the measuring tape?” And against what standard of measurement are they holding it?

And perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that once we’ve bought into this Illusion, and if we aren’t willing to see it for the lie that it is, then no matter what we do or who we become we always believe, and act out of the belief, that we’re not enough.

So, can we immunize ourselves against the Illusion of Not Enough? Well, I’m not sure there’s a vaccine, but here’s what we can do.

  1. Become aware
    Start paying attention to how the Illusion of Not Enough may be playing out in your life. Where do you hold back out of the fear of rejection or being judged as less than? Where do you keep from moving towards what you want out of the belief that you don’t have enough of something to move forward? Where do you dash your dreams to the floor with the thought that “I’ll never be able to do that because..” or “I could, but only if…”
  2. Who Says?
    Once you’re aware of how the Not Enough Illusion is infecting your life, ask yourself what’s really true here? “Who says I’m not enough? What’s enough? Who says I need more of this or that? Why?” Is it really true that you need more before taking action? Is it really true that you are in some way deficient or lacking in something that prevents you from moving towards what you want today?
  3. Accept and Acknowledge
    Fully accept who you are right now. Acknowledge yourself and your self-worth right now. Oh, sure. You may want to be more or have more or become more. But right now, you are who you are, and that IS enough. In fact, it’s absolutely perfect. And in your acceptance of who you are, also acknowledge that right now you have within yourself everything you need to move into what you want, to live in confidence, joy and ease. Nothing outside of yourself is going to complete you. You’ve got it all.
  4. Appreciate Fully and Fanatically
    Fully appreciate who you are. Get fanatical about it. Take it to the extreme. Everyday, write down all the things you appreciate about yourself, from the smallest thing (I love that freckle under my right eye) to the grandest qualities (I’m a loyal, loving friend).

    If you find yourself balking at this exercise, ask yourself why. What’s going to happen if you start intentionally and deliberately appreciating who you are? I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. You may tear the Illusion of Not Enough to shreds and live into your fullest, richest, most outrageously confident life. “There is nothing, and I do mean nothing that we cannot accomplish by appreciating who we are, being grateful for our infinite capacity and living into our Greatness.” states Kim George.

  5. Take action today
    What can you do today to move past your Not Enough story and walk into what you want? Let it be something simple and small. Don’t worry about the Grand Dream or the Huge Goal. What can you do today? Do it.

    If you want to speak at your next networking meeting, today you take 10 minutes and sketch out an outline of what you’d like to say. Or maybe you can make one phone call to the meeting coordinator. Take one small action towards what you want. This gets the energy moving in the right direction, and it tells You and all the spirits of the Universe, “I’m enough and I’m going for it.”

Be easy with yourself. The Not Enough Illusion is “the mother of all Illusions” (another quote from Kim George). It’s not a take-an-aspirin-and-call-me-in-the-morning kind of bug-a-boo. But with a little awareness, willingness and one little step a day, you can move past this Illusion and into the truth of who you really are.

If you want more tools and support in becoming free of the Illusion of Not Enough, join us on Thursday, May 24, at the Become the Star You Are TeleClinic. Bring your questions and get ready to immunize yourself!

1 reply
  1. Anu
    Anu says:


    I read your article and liked it very much.
    Plz provide more suggestion while boosting up self confidence in front of public group at professional, career, home, personal front.

    Thanking you,
    A reader


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