I try too hard.
I always have. I hopefully won’t always.
Despite how it looks, I have this loud and obnoxious voice inside my head that cares what other people think, wants to look perfect, is a mega overachiever, and relishes in the praises of others. I've just learned not to always listen... most of the time.
I think this is why I was a competitive athlete for more years than I really cared to be. I think this is why I drove myself crazy in college seeking a 4.0 GPA. It’s why I had to get a doctoral degree in psychology. It’s why I went after prestigious internships and opportunities. It's why I was constantly seeking a new certification. It’s why I had a career that looked amazing on paper.
I get asked all the time why I’m not using my trainings in the traditional sense… you know, the way I am “supposed to.” The truth is, a lot of my accomplishments make me look super spectacular, but in truth, they left me feeling anxious, uncomfortable, unsure of myself, and unhappy. Why? With time I realized that many of my accomplishments weren’t aligned with my actual values and true self. It was an achievement addiction hungry for happiness and self-love... But there is no happiness or self-love to be found by chasing achievement.
When I left my job, after years of deliberating, I felt like I had finally made a decision that was aligned with my authentic self. Side note: I was told that I was committing professional suicide and making a huge mistake. Someone asked me if I was having a break down. No, just the opposite. This huge and difficult decision was the first of many authentic life choices I actually made for me.
It felt right. It had nothing to do with the opinions of others. It wasn't me trying too hard.
Since then, I have made a lot of decisions that aligned with my authentic self.
I picked up a camera and began to create art. I've been told that this doesn't quite fit into my previous or other career choices and that I need to choose between photography and everything else that I do... The thing, is it's authentic to me and brings me tremendous joy. Maybe it's not for everyone, and that's okay.
I stopped teaching regularly scheduled yoga classes because that, too, felt like burn out for me. Yoga will always be integrated with my personal lifestyle and professional message (you'll even find yoga related blog posts here and will continue to do so), but I needed it to be in a way that authentically aligns with me, rather than what I'm "supposed" to do.
I guess somewhere along this path, I stopped worrying about my career trajectory or and less on what everyone says I am supposed to do. It's 2018. If what you want doesn't exist, create it! I believe in what I'm doing, and I've learned that absolutely nothing I've experienced or learned is or will be wasted.
I created a blog, a platform, and grew my social media because it felt good, creative, and truthfully more effective at getting my message out to the world than I ever felt in an office setting. I can share something that I think really matters, like what I’m writing about today, and I can reach thousands of people, and maybe some of them will live better and more fulfilling lives because of that.
I decided that my wellness, happiness, and authenticity needed to always be my priority, even though society tells us just the opposite.
Despite where I am now, I have recently felt a slip, which is what prompted me to write this post...
... A pull towards trying too hard again. I’ve wanted to force certain situations. I’ve wanted to feel recognized. I’ve started comparing my work to others. I started paying more attention to what my successful previous colleagues are doing. I’ve realized that my bank account would be far better if I had stayed on that former path. And all of this, combined with some really bad sleep patterns due to my three year old, led me to question WTF I am doing with my life??
Just when I think I've figured it out, I learn that I haven't.
I need to slow down again.
I need to be more aware, present, and let of my attachment to success.
And This is everything to me right now: How do I want to feel each day, and are my actions aligning with that?
I want to feel content, energetic, adventurous, and curious. I want to get out and explore, gather insight about life, have lots of quiet moments, and share that to the world through my photography and writing because that aligns with my soul. I want to spend more time submerged in the ocean. I want to sit outside and write. I want to take more photos for me. This has nothing to do with trying too hard and measurable achievement, btw.
I know I am not alone on this one. As a culture, we try try try, and we relish in being BUSY BUSY BUSY... a word that I’ve actually grown to despise. Focusing on how we want to feel each day, and prioritizing our health and wellbeing are considered naive, unrealistic, or fluffy.
We are trying too damn hard on things that really don’t matter. Instead, let's put solid effort into things that matter to us as individuals. there is a difference.
So, I am bringing more observation and awareness into my own life these days to continue to stay true to my path, even though it makes me feel highly uncomfortable, vulnerable, and raw at times. I will continue to focus on my own self-acceptance which has nothing to do with success, achievement, or the opinions of others. I'll strive for happy effort rather than obsessive achievement. I'll focus on how I want to feel each day, and what I need to do and think to make that happen.
I invite you to bring that same awareness into your own life, and however that looks like for you.
- Who are you making your decisions for?
- Are you focused on the opinions of others or what your true self wants?
- Are you trying too hard to make things happen?
- Are you too wrapped up in your achievements?
- How do you want to feel each day? And are your actions aligned with that desire?
P.S. I ignored my content planner, and wrote from the heart this week. It felt GOOD.