Nothing I Do is Good Enough → How To Stop Feeling Like a Failure

Takeaway:   Always feeling like you’re not good enough can limit your life in every area, from career to personal relationships. In this post, I explain the belief associated with this thought and preferred techniques to help change this belief.

Table of Contents

  1. Why do I keep telling myself I’m not good enough?

  2. Feeling like you can’t do anything right

  3. I don’t feel good about myself

  4. Why do I feel like such a failure?

If you are always thinking that “nothing I do is good enough,” whether for your boss, your partner, your parents or even yourself, it’s time to start changing this narrative. This thought can lead to never-ending frustrations, exhaustion and a deep sense of resounding defeat.

Why do I keep telling myself I’m not good enough?

It may seem like thoughts randomly appear out-of-nowhere in our lives. However, most of our thoughts are very much engrained from years of thinking the same way over and over again. It’s important to understand that when there is repetition of thought going on, the brain will accept that as a core belief and will embed that programming and make it automatic.  


This thought “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do anything right” is an automatic response that most likely developed out of an experience, a particular event or routine conditioning, that over time, was accepted as a truth. 

Often what starts as a belief for something seemingly benign (Example: being scolded when younger for not doing the dishes well enough) grows to become a universal truth towards most things in life.

Feeling like you can’t do anything right

Feeling like you can’t do anything right is the perfect hand-holding partner for the thought of  “I am not good enough.”  If you are a person who strives for perfection, then this can feel like a daily mantra.  


When you have this thought, it’s important to recognize that the trigger word that makes this statement so defeating is the word, anything. "Anything” is a word known to produce all-or-nothing type thinking, a type of “cognitive distortion.” 

It is a distorted way of thinking because the word “anything” like the words “never,” “always,” or “nothing” represent extreme ways of thinking and can actually negate any or all the things you “can” do. We tend to respond to what we tell ourselves continuously more than we respond to the occasional positive thought. 

And since our automatic thinking is embedded in our subconscious, it can seem impossible to stop, no matter how much we try. This is because our subconscious is much more powerful than our conscious thinking. It is hard wired in. 

"If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right!" 

Mary Kay Ash

I Don’t Feel Good About Myself

When you don’t feel good about yourself, it is mostly because your self-talk tells you so. Your belief dictates the emotion So, where does this thinking come from? If this is a chronic feeling that seldom leaves, the person may be carrying negative self-beliefs that were a result of something someone did or said to them early on in life. This event or comment or experience that contributes to the negative self-talk often developed over time, years.

This belief associated with this feeling engages continuous self-doubt and encapsulates the mind into a sense of unworthiness.  However, if you don’t feel good about yourself, it is difficult for others to feel confident in you because no matter how much you may try to hide your feelings, the true belief about yourself can seep through.


As a Mindset Coach, I recently worked with an entrepreneur who listed all the departments she oversaw , committees she was on, meetings she led and would go to sleep at night not feeling good about herself because she always felt that she wasn’t doing enough. She also felt she could not succeed no matter how hard she tried because, well… she didn’t believe in herself.

Self-belief shapes your thinking and your behavior. If it is negative, it will lead you down a road of weariness.

A better question to get to the core of this thought is “how do I feel enough?” Because if you don’t feel enough, doing more, striving more, pushing yourself more, can be a never arriving journey. When you accept and hold the belief that “I am enough”, that life tends to get easier and easier. 

Why Do I Feel Like Such A Failure?

The word “failure” also contributes to the “all-or-nothing” way of thinking. If you are constantly telling yourself “I’m a failure,” it is likely that you are not limiting this kind of self-berating thinking to this one thought. Most likely, you are also including thoughts of “I’m an idiot,” “I can never get it right,” or “I’m a loser” to name a few. 

While it is both ok and healthy to feel your emotions, labeling it as who you are rather than the behavior that you did can limit growth and train the brain to focus on failures. 

Thinking and then believing you're a failure is an irrational belief that can become a looping, ingrained thought that can spill into many other areas of life. 

"Failure isn't fatal, but failure to change might be" 

 John Wooden

How to overcome self-defeating self-talk

According to the National Science Foundation, we have some 50,000 thoughts a day. Most of these thoughts are actually memories–thoughts about things we still need to do but haven’t, frustrations with interactions we had, regrets for not speaking up, and so forth. 

We tend to think the same thoughts and if you feel stuck in life, it is most likely that your self-talk (your thinking) is set on this programmed default setting.


4 (Better) Strategies to help change your thinking  


Turn off distractions. Take a few moments throughout the day without your phone, computer, tv, music turned on, and listen to your thoughts. What is the continuous stream of thoughts saying? You can’t change something you are not aware of so really take the time and hear yourself. When you are aware ask yourself, “why” am I thinking about this? Then ask yourself, is this thought helping me or hurting me? 

Reframe your thoughts

Rather than just replacing your thoughts with positive thinking, actually choose better thoughts.  It is understandable that when someone tells you to just “think positive” that you get more irritated. It’s not that easy! Oftentimes, thinking a positive thought when outside reality shows to differ, the positive thought is fleeting at best. A better thought can simply be the next step up from “I’m a failure” to “I failed. I’m ok”. 

Move your body to change your mind

Just like the looping thoughts that get stuck in our mind, we tend to move and hold our body in a certain way when we think. Changing your physiology can change your psychology.  If you find yourself stuck in your head, get moving. Adding a different physical activity to your movements help. For example, hum a song while taking a walk, do jumping jacks while counting backwards, pump your double fists into the air, and repeat your positive reframe out loud.

Get Dreamy

Negative self-talk is housed deep in our subconscious. This is the part of the mind where the brain has encoded the program to make it automatic and efficient. The subconscious is the total reservoir of all our accumulated experiences, memories and beliefs. Choosing to make the change at this level requires a vigilance to keep on it, catching the negative self-talk when it occurs, reframing it and so forth. 

However, when the brain is in a slower more relaxed brain-wave state (aka Alpha brain), it can be more susceptible to change. The time before sleep is a perfect time to do your reframe and positive thinking.  Rapid Transformational Therapy, a method of hypnosis, is also an extremely valuable tool to make significant shifts in the subconscious quickly and then reprogramming your mindset to more positive and empowering ways of thinking. This can be done through listening to a progressive relaxation and using imagery or through the guidance of a qualified coach. 

Whatever the technique you choose, know that changing negative self-talk is possible and necessary to get what you ultimately want in life.


0967842001655925085.jpgJacqueline Connors, MA is a Psychotherapist and Neuro Transformative Coach who has worked in the private and public sector in leadership roles.  She is trained in Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) Neurolinguistics Programming (NLP), Brain-Based Coaching and Lean Management.  She has a unique blend of skill sets derived from psychology, business and neuroscience and an understanding of how to apply the best from each discipline into the coaching experience.

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