Being extraordinary is overrated.
You don’t have to be extraordinary – you are enough. As a recovering perfectionist and high achiever I used to spend inordinate amounts of time aiming for the unachievable seductress – perfection. By telling myself that I had to excel at EVERYTHING I did, I wasted a lot of time worrying about being enough. But it was exhausting and eventually I had to learn to embrace myself – all of my faults, quirks, habits and dreams.
What If Monster
Learning to embrace myself has been a dance with fear and shame. What if I embrace myself and become complacent? What if I stop excelling the moment I start loving myself? If I embrace myself will I waste my life by being “mediocre” or “basic”? I put an inordinate amount of negative labels on the outcome of accepting myself as is. In true irony the outcome of embracing myself has been bigger goals, trusting myself to rest, my energy and an increase in my general happiness. Getting to know my what if monster and trusting myself to manage my fear and shame is what got me here – to this blog – writing to all of you. By embracing myself I was able to not only post work on my own website but also submit to other online magazines. When I stopped holding myself back the writing opportunities trickled in.
From this first act of bravery and self love I was able to start a business during a pandemic. I’m chasing my dream of self employment because of my ability to accept myself exactly as I am, while simultaneously reaching for new milestones. In summary, none of my fears came true – but I almost didn’t even try because I didn’t think I was enough.
This is where it gets messy and human. I had to stop asking myself to be an extraordinary person. Loving ourselves is not something that only extraordinary people do. We are all enough. Regular people do extraordinary things. Doing extraordinary things does not require us to be perfect – it requires courage.
I’m Late to the Brene Brown Party
As I started coming to this conclusion I stumbled upon Brene Brown (queen of courage and shame conversations). I recently listened to this conversation she had with Tim Ferriss.
During the chat Brene asked Tim where the line between being our best selves (as high achievers) and embracing where we are is. Being the nerd I am I paused the video and answered this for myself. (You should watch the video to see their responses – they are illuminating).
I don’t believe there is a line between pushing ourselves to be our best selves and embracing where we are. I came to the conclusion that for me embracing where we are is an approach. When I set myself goals I view exactly where I am at the time, I identify where I want to go and then I try to set myself little milestone markers in the middle so I can celebrate all the little steps. Embracing where I am right now means that I am worthy of doing the work for this change. I am worthy of however long it takes to get there. Allowing myself to set goals outside of where I am right now means that I know I am worthy of growth. When we approach our goals with a realistic outlook and kindness we are able to enjoy the journey and grow when we inevitably f*ck up.
None of Us are Extraordinary
This also means that none of us are extraordinary. We often have to work hard for what we want to achieve. A lot of us will struggle our way to our goals – step by step. Allowing ourselves the time and space to grow, fail, f*ck up, and try again is crucial. It is both an act of self acceptance and a driver to grow. Yet so many of us expect ourselves to be extraordinary.
Think about it; right now we are in a pandemic and so many of us have more free time on our hands than before. Some people have used this time to write books – a majority of us have not. Quite a few people have struggled with this extra time because WE ARE IN A PANDEMIC. Are you unfairly comparing yourself to people who have utilized this time in a different way than you? If you are, is that helping you in any way or does it just make you feel like you aren’t enough? For me, comparison is the thief of joy. I’m not expecting myself to respond to the pandemic in some extraordinary way and that has made a major difference on my mental health.
Applying the Magic of Normal
After coming to this magical conclusion for myself I began applying this approach to my current goals. My biggest goal right now is getting my brand new baby coaching business up and running to full capacity. Is that possible? Sure. Is it a struggle? Also sure! Do I have to be extraordinary to do it? No! I can be messy, human and vulnerable and still get to my goals (in fact – I think those three qualities are crucial to my success).
Instead of forcing myself to be extraordinary I’m asking myself to find the everyday magical moments that make this journey worth the work. I’m learning to celebrate the normal. I’ve given myself permission to struggle, to try new things and fail, or to say “this is really f*cking hard some days”.
I’ve stopped expecting myself to be extraordinary and I ask you to do the same! You are capable of remarkable things. You get to love yourself right now exactly where you are. Permission is granted to say “this is really f*cking hard”. And if you want a little 1:1 time to talk about embracing our normal to be successful visit here to sign up for a discovery call.
** please do not use this post to replace mental or physical health care from a physician. Always work with a licensed professional when it comes to your health.