Resisting the Seduction of Inadequacy

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For a week now, I have fretted over an answer I gave recently during a taped interview for our local PBS television station. I was invited to join a roundtable discussion that would air during Women’s History Month (March), and the other women invited carried impressive resumes and careers; all seemed so much more eloquent, poised and lovely than me. When I was asked whether what I was doing now was something I had always dreamed of doing, I answered honestly. And ever since, I’ve been kicking myself for not being more eloquent, for not having a better answer, for not saying something that might inspire a new generation of girls to pursue tech.

I don’t know. Maybe my answer could have been better; it probably could have been more poised. In fact, I’m sure of that.

But after listening to an amazing speech by the lovely actress Lupita Nyong’o (shared in its entirety at the end of this post), I am reminded that even at my age, I am still doing exactly what she describes – giving in to the seduction of inadequacy. There is great temptation in focusing on our inadequacies, in tearing ourselves apart over the things we want to change about ourselves. We can’t possibly challenge ourselves to move forward, to face our fears, to try even scarier things if we can convince ourselves that we couldn’t even handle the challenges we’ve already faced. We can fall into complacency with the “truth” that we tried but just weren’t good enough, and then who can blame us for not changing the world if we can’t even change one little thing about ourselves?

NMTCWIT Honorees Roundtable Interview on KNME PBS.

NMTCWIT Honorees Roundtable Interview on KNME PBS.

Who knows – maybe I could have found a more polished answer, but the truth still has value in its unvarnished form. The truth is that I never once dreamed of living the life I am. I never thought it was possible. I wanted to be a mom. It is all I ever wanted, and I embraced motherhood wholeheartedly. I have absolutely no regrets for the time I spent raising my children. It was time well spent. So, no, this new journey I’m on is not one I dreamed of. I didn’t think girls who weren’t really smart (I didn’t think I was), who couldn’t do math in my head (unless it’s calculating the discount on a dress I want to buy, I still can’t), and who didn’t get started on a career until their forties – I never, ever thought my journey was even possible for a girl like me.

That does not mean I am not pursuing passionately and whole-heartedly this new journey. I’ve stretched myself so far since I launched APPCityLife in 2009 that I could give Gumby a run for his money. I’ve learned (and learned and learned some more) every time I find something else I need to understand to meet a new challenge or obstacle. There are still times I wake up at 3 AM and wonder what kind of a crazy person launches out into a new industry with the goal of changing the way cities communicate with the people who live there, but then I get up and go look in the mirror to affirm that this is the kind of crazy person who does that – who actually does that. We have already started to change the way cities interact with the people who live there, and I couldn’t be more excited for the future of our team at APPCityLife.

So when you listen to my answer on the upcoming PBS interview with a few of the New Mexico Technology Council’s Women In Tech 2014 honorees, I may not be the most polished. But I’m ok with that. I was invited to have a seat at the table with some pretty amazing women, and for a girl who thought this kind of opportunity could never come in her lifetime – who still has to resist the seduction of inadequacy, that’s enough for me.

Note: the PBS In Focus interview will air on KNME at 7 PM MST, March 6, 2014. View Details and link for online video

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6 thoughts on “Resisting the Seduction of Inadequacy

  1. Lisa…thanks to the story about your dad and dog, I have found you this morning…and it has made a difference. Thank you for writing this. I have been wondering where this ride called life has taken me, or I have allowed it to, and I have been feeling, well, inadequate. I wound up in a career that offers too little in respect, pay and rewards. I have not saved enough. At 4 AM, unable to sleep I attempted to create a spending plan and it was obvious where problems lie.
    I also got in a spot of what I feel is trouble the other day having used my intuition and used words that would have been better edited. My perception that I was performing an act out of consideration was interpreted as harassing, and to make the alleged crime worse: I have been dwelling on it when I told myself I wouldn’t.
    So we have spent years doing things we made the best decisions at the time for. All we can do is take a deep breath, remember who loves us, and who(m?) we love (not only am I not good in math, not so hot in grammar either all the time LOL)…and hope what we learned when we were using our writer’s souls to pay attention along the way, will serve us well now and in the future. We just need to put on capes of resistance! And to remember we’re not alone.

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  2. I just wanted to say thank you for putting this up. This came at exactly the right time in my life, and it’s made my day such a better one.

    I am a woman in her forties with 2 children. I have been a stay at home mother for fifteen years, but a recent separation and subsequent discovery of a rare disorder means that I now have to look at starting a brand new career with a whole host of new problems. With both the separation and the disorder, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, looking at all the things I’ve done wrong, all that I can’t do, all the things I’ve failed at.

    This morning, I came across Lupita’s speech, and then your blog. And it has been a wonderful reminder of what’s important, of my own strengths and how much I have been ignoring them in favor of my fears and worries. So truly, thank you so much for posting this. It made a difference.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment.

      As is often the case, blessings arrive wrapped up as a host of troubles. Here is hoping that a year from now you see these difficulties as the catalyst to opening up brand new opportunities for your future!

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  3. Reblogged this on What's APPening® and commented:
    Insight Post: ” There is great temptation in focusing on our inadequacies, in tearing ourselves apart over the things we want to change about ourselves. We can’t possibly challenge ourselves to move forward, to face our fears, to try even scarier things if we can convince ourselves that we couldn’t even handle the challenges we’ve already faced. We can fall into complacency with the “truth” that we tried but just weren’t good enough, and then who can blame us for not changing the world if we can’t even change one little thing about ourselves?”

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