Have you ever set a goal, been given a task, or walked into a challenge you felt was bigger than you? You weren’t quite sure how to make it happen or if you were even qualified to undertake it, in the first place? Have you ever desired something deeply for your life, but fear caused you to talk yourself right out of your own future? Do you find yourself avoiding certain people, places or experiences because you’ve been told, or tell yourself, they aren’t a good fit for you?
If that’s never happened to you, I submit you aren’t dreaming big enough, reaching high enough or venturing out far enough into your God-given purpose. Most high performing, contributory people have found themselves in that very place time and time again. The distinguishing factor is they don’t let feeling “unqualified” destroy their desire or back down their vision. They’ve learned to think and live effectively by understanding it’s okay to get afraid; it’s just not okay to stay afraid.
Most of us never admit to ourselves, or to others, when we’re afraid of the task or challenge at hand. We subconsciously do one of two things: we either give up on the dream altogether or we deflect and devalue it as insignificant, trivial, uninteresting or not worthy of our time and attention. We back down the goal or challenge low enough to a level we feel qualified and comfortable to achieve. And if we do this long enough and consistently enough, we wind up drastically under-estimating and under-living our lives and keeping ourselves from the kinds of successes and significance for which we were purposed.
This assessment of your ability to cause or make something happen is known as “efficacy.” And your personal appraisal of your own abilities in particular areas of your life is known as your “self-efficacy.” For instance, if you feel very comfortable writing your thoughts and ideas on paper, you would be known as being highly efficacious in writing. But if you were terrified of sharing those same thoughts with a crowd of people, you would have low self-efficacy in the area of public speaking.
Unlike self-esteem, which is a pervasive value you place over your entire personhood, efficacy is task-specific. You can have a high appraisal of yourself in one area, but a very low appraisal of yourself in another. In those areas where your efficacy is low, you’ll subconsciously avoid the task or opportunity, but you’ll naturally gravitate toward areas where your efficacy is high. The important things to remember about efficacy are: (1) the size of your efficacy will impact the size of your dreams and the direction of your destiny; and (2) efficacy is developable. It’s not a fixed state or genetic predisposition.
One of the first steps to move deeper into destiny is to become self-aware of when fear of being unqualified is overshadowing your assessment of your efficacy for new and bigger opportunities. Your efficacy-potential is God’s deposit within you for growth and continuous improvement so you might fulfill the plans He has for you (Ephesians 2:10). Shifting your mindset from “I can’t…I’m not qualified” to “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13), reveals the lie, releases its grip, and renews your mind to live in the truth of God’s “all things are possible” intentions for you.