I want to talk about embracing our imperfections.
I have gone a long way from my early days in consulting where I thought I needed to ‘know’ everything and was terrified with not knowing the right things.
It felt like there was a vast and ever changing set of technical areas I was meant to be across, and for my highly creative, highly intuitive brain that doesn’t like memorising that was hard. Layer onto that anxiety and my inability to ask for help and I was a hot mess of fear on the inside while I continued to deliver more and more work at the standard I expected of myself. I frequently felt out of my depth and frequently worried that I was not ‘enough’.
Fast forward ten years and quite a bit of therapy later – and here I am running my own business in a completely different field. I have worked through and grown out of some of the old fears (thankfully) and life is far more peaceful now as a result. However I still notice a set of ‘shoulds’ emerging in my brain around work.
For example, I sometimes catch myself judging my messy desk and non linear way of working and thinking it is a ‘flaw’ – some deep character flaw that if I fixed would make my life better. I can feel anxious (not about the mess, I’m quite comfortable with a messy desk) at the thought that I am a messy person. There is some script that says ‘oh no! You’re not good enough like this. You need to change and be more tidy, predictable, ordered, and less exuberant’. And sometimes I believe this script and makes me feel despair. Because how am I meant to change this way that I am most comfortable in the world? And if I need to change this part of myself to be ‘successful’ what does that mean for my life?
So instead of running with these thoughts I notice the script and practice reminding myself that in fact I am fine as I am. I am happy as I am. I’ve achieved a lot as I am. I am intuitive and deeply connected with my energy levels, whims, opportunities and this is just as valid a way of working as being very orderly and linear.
I try to create more encouraging inner scripts that say things like ‘hey that’s ok, I have a super orderly mind, that’s why I can handle a bit of chaos on the outside’ or ‘oh well creative people are often messy’. I remind myself of my mentor Barbara Sher and how she says that you can be lazy and in a bad mood and still get what you want. That you can outsource the bits you suck at and focus on what you rock at. These gentle, encouraging messages help chip away at the old beliefs that I need to be ‘perfect’ (whatever that is) to be ok.
Do you have parts of yourself that you despair at and judge? Is there a more accepting way you could speak about them to make room for them?
Are you messy and OK like me? Or maybe super clean & tidy and OK?
Loud and OK?
A procrastinator and OK?
A bit of a control freak and OK?
A bit anxious and OK?
Kind of grotty and OK?
Forgetful and vague and OK?
Shy, a little bit awkward and OK?
Let’s celebrate all our OK-ness together!