The Power of YOU (Addendum)

Competence is such a slippery concept. It is tied so directly to our worthiness. What makes us think we can do what it is we do. There will always be scoffers, people who think we are not qualified to do the job we have been called to do.

Sometimes we are the scoffer. We mock ourselves enough. We literally struggle to see how it is we can do what we are supposed to do. “I’m in over my head.” We’ve all sensed that feeling of being over-whelmed, but who says the “over” part?

In other words, who tells us we are out of our league? Who gets to define the league. It is ultimately us. Certainly many of the challenges we face will be new to us. Others will seem to be seasoned pros. All they have is experience, not expertise.

That’s the qualifier we often forget in self-loathing. Just because people have been doing it longer does NOT make them better. Their experience creates a mirage of confidence and competence that simply may not really be there.

Competence sounds so official, so definitive. Our tendency is to let others define what competence is. In our utilitarian ways we base it on the “average.” “Well, compared to others...”, we create a whole system upon computing average competency.

The implied message is that we “should” be competent in every area. To be a fully-functioning human (what some call a “contributor”), we need to have a working level of competence in basically every area of life (think the subjects in school).

And while there is a general sense to where a working knowledge of all subjects is helpful, our tendency is to want to be great (or “the best”) in every area. We compare ourselves with experts in each area and beat ourselves up for not being better.

As we get older (and hopefully wiser) we learn to accept our limitations, but some still with a tinge of bitterness. Instead, let someone great in one area inspire you to be great in yours. Who cares that you are not good at someone else’s “what.”

Don’t let anyone else define for you what success is. Many people will cut in on your race and offer suggestions. Don’t let them. They will try to make you their version of whatever it is. They have no authority or responsibility to do so.

We are alone held accountable for our lives. We can not blame anyone else for our ultimate decisions. Who we deeply are outside even of our actions is the person we have to listen to. No one else knows that person like we do.

The most well meaning people can be the most dangerously dead wrong. Listen to your life. Listen to the deep voice inside yourself. Certainly we can gather insight from trusted people on who we are, but it is us doing the asking, not them.

My race is no one else’s. Finishing my race implies NOT finishing yours. I am not accountable to finish someone else’s. That means I must know my race. That alone may be the one single, solitary, most important thing we ever do. God help us.

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