Perfection. I've decided it's a dirty word. I can probably tie just about every frustration or disappointment I've experienced over the course of my life back to this single word.
Last year I hit a milestone birthday. I chose to mark the occasion by looking back and examining patterns in my life thus far. In doing so, I recognized that confidence, authenticity, and self-love had become casualties in a war I'd been waging against myself...all in the name of perfection.
Hindsight is 2020. Youth is wasted on the young. Indeed! Looking back and scrutinizing one's "mistakes" is never easy. But my intention was clear: to identify repeating patterns--all those situations and times when I'd decided perfection was too steep a mountain to climb and so rather than risk failure I'd taken an unfortunate detour and chickened out, backpedaled, or thrown in the towel.
My new official status as a Mature Woman inspired me to set another intention: to remain ever mindful so that going forward I might immediately identify those occasions a younger me might have felt tempted to run, detour, and avoid failing at perfection. I'd decided I was done settling into an (uncomfortable) comfort zone.
Which leads me to the first message I'd give my younger self...
1. Get comfortable being uncomfortable
Think of discomfort as a beautiful mind-body warning sign alerting us that in this very moment lies an opportunity for growth...that's if we're brave enough to explore it. Whether our higher self is letting us know through discomfort that we need to question an assumption, challenge a false belief, establish a stronger boundary, or speak our truth more clearly, diving down to the core of our discomfort can empower us to grow stronger and more confident once we break through the initial discomfort.
Truth is, we don't always notice just how uncomfortable our "comfort zone" actually is. We seek refuge in our comfort zone until we wake up one day and realize we've been living in the shabby shelter it offers: our skeletons lurk hidden in its closets; the pains of missed opportunities and unexplored paths to our dreams lie buried beneath its stairwells; and we find we're stuck in this space--invisible chains linking our scarcity mindset to our ongoing struggle.
Thorny though it may be, even the rosebud emerges from the bush and learns to blossom. So dear younger self, get comfortable being uncomfortable.
2. Even successful people fail
"Failing" at something does NOT make you an automatic "failure." Wobble, stumble, then pick yourself up and keep moving! Failure is only ever a THING when you choose to give up.
I wish I'd heard those words growing up. And it's why I admire people like Oprah, Tony Robbins, Bill Gates, and other highly successful people who speak openly about having failed (sometimes often) in life. Inspiring souls, they kept moving forward anyway.
Rather than aim for perfection, why not look to master tenacity and perseverance instead? Because at the end of the day it's perseverance, not perfection, that enabled these mega giants to achieve all they did.
So remember, even successful people fail.
3. Gifts come in all sizes
Over the years it's become clear to me that we're a society of extremes. We think in terms of black or white. All or nothing. You're somebody or you're nobody. Play hard or go home. Win or lose.
If you're a singer, you haven't "made it" until you've won your first grammy. If you're an TV actress you haven't "made it" until you've won your first Emmy. If you're a mom, you aren't noteworthy until you've become the octomom. (Kidding on that last one...kind of.)
The point here is our gifts come in all sizes, but so often we don't even recognize our gifts because they come in quiet little easy-for-us packages. Just think of the hilarious friend who's sharp, witty, and wrangles words with his mental lasso; or the talented writer whose words shimmer and string together beautifully like pearls on a Chanel necklace; or the empathetic listener who others gravitate toward like the sun because of the warmth and acceptance she provides.
If something comes easy to you, take note! It just might be a hidden gem in your life--a gift (unrecognized by you but surely identified by others) in whatever size it comes.
Find your gift(s). Then own it. Embrace it. Share it.
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