Battling My Inferiority Complex

New client projects for the month have been announced at the Enterprise Fellowship. I was just sitting ideally and scrolling through Instagram.

[Phone rings]

Me: Hi Ankita didiiii. Good morning!

Ankita : [After a few minutes of casual talk]  Bhaskar, another thing that I wanted to call you is… please don’t quit from the current project in between. Finish this and try to communicate with the client properly this time.

Me: Yeah, I need this attitude shift now. I have done this ghosting business enough in the past. Thanks for pushing me. I promise I won’t quit in between this time.

Ankita: Glad you’re feeling this way, we all are here to help you. Call whenever you feel like you’re getting stuck or you need help.

[Call ends] Me: (Sigh!)

I have managed to surround myself with the right people all my life. I think approaching and making a connection with other humans that I admire, had come up very naturally to me. It’s a skill that I cannot feel more grateful for. I love connecting with people, working on different projects with them, building my network, a solid body of work, and grabbing more opportunities every other day. But here’s what always happens when I meet someone I admire; let me tell you a story.

I was working as a team member at the Enterprise as a video editor for Instagram and YouTube. It started in October of 2019. I was at the peak of my energy for the first 3 months and was delivering the best I could. But eventually, there started a constant comparison in my head with my fellow teammates. Looking at how professional they are, the way they balance their life, the way they communicate, made me feel like I have a long way to go before I even think of working with these people. My inner critique just made me feel like I wasn’t even worthy of being around such amazing people. This affected the way I delivered work. I was under constant pressure from myself. And this was pretty much visible to everyone around. The team started asking me if I’m doing good and needed any help. The irony is, this kindness was scaring me too. It made me so small in my head that I felt like I don’t deserve them. The best thing I could do is start ghosting people. [I regret this a lot now]. And I did. I chose to be lonely and let no one come in contact with me. I used to not answer calls, texts, or meetings. This has gone for a complete month. And that is how I lost my job. I didn’t resign. I wasn’t fired. I just stopped showing up.

This is what’s been happening in almost all parts of my life till now when it comes to relationships. This has gone to such an extent recently that I have stayed in a cocoon for more than a year. This overall, had a very huge negative toll on me as a person because now I get scared to meet the people I admire; I get scared when an opportunity comes to me. I get scared to just take up things and be accountable. I have been paying a huge opportunity cost for the last two years because of this one trait. The fact that people aren’t giving up on me scared me even more. It made me feel like I’m going in dept to them. I spoke about all of this for the first time to my mentor (Aditya Jhunjhunwala) about three months ago. He listened to me very carefully and made me feel safe to open up. It felt like I’m putting down huge loads of pressure that I’ve been carrying for years.

We spoke about a lot of stuff about how I can come over this. The best thing that stuck to me was:

Adi: “Ideally we all hear that we need to help ourselves, one who can stand alone is compared to a lion, many such things. But honestly, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. There should be absolutely nothing to fear to be vulnerable. This happens with me too sometimes. But I try my level best to be shameless and ask for help. I want to know what’s stopping you from doing that.”

Me: “I feel like I’ll be in debt to them for life. I can never repay them ever”.

Adi: I want to help you. But why aren’t you willing to take help from me? Repaying means what? Money? I don’t want your money.

Me: Maybe! I don’t know. Never asked me these questions.

Adi: Even if it’s money, I don’t agree. Do you think that you’ll never be in a position to financially help someone? Do you think that your financial status won’t grow?

Me: Of course ill be earning. It’s not about money alone. I don’t feel confident.

Adi: I love how observant you are about yourself. What do you think can make you more confident? What can I do to help you become more confident? See Bhaskar, we all are here to help you. All you need to do is help us to help you. Bindaas hoke help manage kaa. Be shameless when asking for help. Jyada se zyaada kya go jaayegaa?

Since the time I had this conversation (I won’t say that I am completely a confident person now but) I am seeing that I’m not quitting on people. The current project that I’m handling now, it’s been 8 weeks now, and I’m communicating with the team and the clients regularly with our work updates. This might look basic but is a huge thing for me. A 4 months older version of myself would have quit the project and ghosted the clients by now. Yes, I am taking time to show up sometimes, but I’m not a quitter anymore.

Deep inside, to be honest, I know a lot of people are trying to help me, either by pushing me to work or even just listening to whatever I have to say. I still get voices from my head saying “These people are rebuilding you. What do you have in return for them? Such an unworthy person”. But I’m trying my level best to calm this voice. I have left a very unprofessional reputation for myself in the last couple of months. I am happy now that I’m being able to change this slowly. Sooner or later there will come a day when people feel will say: “Agar Bhaskar ko kuch kaam diya naa, wo kar ke degaa. Even if he doesn’t know how to do it, he’ll find out and come with a solution. I’m already loving the way I see myself in the mirror with utter confidence. Trust me, it feels GREAT.

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