When you feel like you don’t have what it takes

Obianuju Ezeanyagu
4 min readOct 20, 2022

I have gone through some difficult times in the past few years. It sucks to feel like you aren’t good enough.

Photo by kevin turcios on Unsplash

The praises

I have spent most of my young adult being at the top of my game academically and even professionally. I got used to the accolades and praises. It was a thing of joy being at the top of my class and succeeding professionally. It seemed natural to do well. Yes, I worked hard, but then I never had a problem working hard as long as it placed me at the top.

My parents would often tell me how proud they were of me. My mother once called me Ngozi Okonjo Iweala because she felt I was just like her — strong, brilliant, and breaking boundaries; at least, that’s what I think.

Fast forward to 2019 …

I found myself in a workshop that wasn’t ideal for me. I remember praying to be accepted for the program — funny now that I think about it. During my time at the workshop, I felt stressed out almost every day and would sometimes cry. I considered quitting several times; however, I kept going. It wasn’t just about the work but the culture/environment. Something about it didn’t sit right with me. It made me feel anxious. It was a virtual workshop, so other attendees did not have to see me at my worst. I felt slightly better the days I got dressed and went to meet up with some attendees in the program. There was something about talking with them about work and sharing how I felt that made me feel better. Anna often shared that she felt the same way I did and cried quite often. There were days I would encourage her and advise her on what to do.
Maybe, that was part of why I felt better on the days I met with other attendees. Being able to encourage others made me forget how I felt.

And later …

I joined a different program, and I felt much better. It was going well until it wasn’t. I hear in different ways that I am not good enough. Maybe they are saying I am not doing well enough, but let’s be honest, that’s not what I hear.

It’s like you constantly have to prove yourself, and I don’t think it stops even when you climb the “professional success” ladder. You have to prove that you are worthy of being the senior administrator, the Head of product, and even the CEO. I hate that. That often leads to stress, anxiety, and burnout- all for compensation and a title.

It’s pretty scary; I don’t look forward to climbing a professional ladder. Maybe I would feel differently ten years from now when my friends are at the top of their fields — CEOs, CTOs, CFOs, and I don’t have such a title. But right now, I want to do good work that impacts someone else’s life and get paid well for it.

The thoughts of leaving the workshops behind and getting myself on a path that leads me to that place of fulfillment and purpose creep into my mind often. But when it does, I sometimes also hear a voice in my head saying, “if I can’t figure out how to handle challenges in a small workshop like this, how will I succeed on my own? I don’t think you have what it takes, do I?

A note to myself — Finding my Grit in tough times.

Photo by Paulo Vizeu on Unsplash

I admire people that say they failed ten times but still find the will and power to keep going. I think they are a lot stronger than those who win on the first or second try. We don’t talk enough about how difficult it is to keep going in tough times or how challenging it is to walk on an unpopular path. I wish we did. I’ve got to find a way to keep going. I mutter to myself often — the battle is the Lord’s. I’ll pray, trust in the Lord to bless my storehouse and do the work in faith. It will feel harder on some days; other days, it will be a breeze. Regardless, I’ll focus on showing up every day to do the work.

Living in my purpose means working at making an impact in someone’s life and putting all of my heart into it. I am not responsible for the outcome; I’ll let God take care of that.

Some details in this piece have been changed to hide details of the actual event but still, convey the main ideas.

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Obianuju Ezeanyagu

…the disciple whom Jesus loves, a sister, a friend, and a product manager interested in a purpose-driven life.