Very recently I was told that my pursuit of being the best, being the most career-driven maven, was actually preventing me from being satisfied. I struggled to comprehend this awakening of sorts as it echoed through my veins.
You mean, I don’t need to unlock a hidden ad agency copywriter achievement?
You mean, I don’t need to be on a defined career path and get to the top before enjoying other aspects of life?
You mean, I don’t need to have a million followers?
You mean, I don’t need to be top-ranked in search engines to provide valuable information?
You mean, I don’t need to finish every webinar, study each option or examine how others do it before hitting publish?
It was simultaneously relief and regret.
I’ve spent so long, in so many aspects of my dynamic and wonderful life, trying to achieve perfection that I could possibly have let months–hell, years–go by trying to literally attain…the unattainable.
Instead of accepting the imperfect and simply striving for significance, fulfillment. Peace.
Perhaps it’s a symptom of being a middle child. Growing up with an amazing older sister who is one of the smartest and gifted women I know, and also competing with a younger brother who often hilariously sought and got all the attention–I made it a mission to do things to perfection; to earn validation, admiration. I would be the best.
Perhaps it’s because I hold the hubster in incredibly high-esteem. I went through every career high-high and low of the lows with him while he struggled to become a doctor. I know the dedication it takes and because of that, I hold him in high regard. I want that too, so I bust ass doing what I can in my life and career to make it happen.
But, now I’m being told by my friend at the bar that even if I’m not a doctor or as smart as my incredible sister, I’m just as important without being a CEO. (And by “my friend at the bar” I mean my monthly session with a therapist.)
This probably seems like such basic, elementary crap to others, but honestly, it was a revelation to me. I held onto awards and certifications and menial achievements like they will go on my gravestone.
I don’t need to be a career mover and shaker to still have significant meaning in my life. I don’t need to be #1, earning top dollar or commandeering a crew.
I’m very often an all or nothing kind of gal. If it’s not done properly, to my high-expectations, it’s just not worth doing. Because, wouldn’t it be embarrassing if it didn’t work out, didn’t earn first place or worse, it failed miserably? This thought process has prevented me from doing so much. From putting out more blog posts, to producing and editing more videos (something I love) to even taking up opportunities that may be scary like networking and freelancing more.
This sort of admission may surprise some of you wonderful people, since I tend to keep things real ’round these parts, but this is part of the journey in self-care. Realizing you’re in your own way when it comes to being more fulfilled in life.
I don’t need to be the best ever copywriter ever, wife ever, blogger ever, in the history of ever to still do things well, or hell, even good enough. Striving for perfection is exhausting. It’s paralyzing. It prevents me (and you) from doing things we love for fear it may not be good enough.
friend therapist said, “The good stuff comes from inside, not for a grand image.”
So, slowly but surely I’m readjusting my sails. Setting myself on a distinct path of personal fulfillment where the the winds may not take me to a fancy career title or give me awards and accolades. And for the first time in a really long time, I can honestly say that’s okay. It’s more than okay–it’s a relief.