Identity in the Not Good Enough World

Like many children, I grew up in the not good enough world. How about you?

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my cousins.  I had a lot of first cousins.  72 to be exact.  I was always compared to my cousins who seemed to be always better than I was, especially in school.  Yes, even in my childhood I lived in the “not good enough world.” My first year in university was my worst.  I failed every course and was expelled.

Lecture by Dr. Rick Warren

Later in my career unrealistic business goals kept me trapped in the ever elusive goal we call success.  Even in my role as a father and husband and even in church ministry, I lived in a world where there was no realistic yardstick to measure success, progress or achievements.  Even there like many, I experienced the “not good enough world.”

The International Federation of Coaches  (IFC) is a global network of 20,000 executive and life coaches in more than 100 countries.  A global study by IFC indicates that the top reason for which people seek the service of a life or executive coach is to help them improve their self-esteem.  Why? Why is it that as many as 43% of those surveyed struggle with the issue of identity and self-esteem?  The answer may lie in the fact that we all live in the “not good enough world.”

The Gallup organization conducted a study of people in 150 counties to define what they call wellbeing and what contributes to our wellbeing. This study is the basis for the excellent book, Wellbeing, by Tom Rath and Jim Harter Ph.D. In this book, Rath and Harder highlight that “Much of what we think will improve our wellbeing is either misguided or just plain wrong.” In a nutshell, the book suggests that the key to wellbeing rests on establishing our identity and how we see ourselves and what matters to us.

So what is the answer? According to Dr. Rick Warren, the answer rests on establishing our true identity as children of our heavenly father through our relationship in Christ. In 2 Peter 2:9 & 10 we are told that “… you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”  Take time to watch this lecture by Dr. Rick Warren? at the top of this post.

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