This time of year I always get caught between the hustle and busy of the holidays (Parties! Presents! Family time! Travel! Visioning my new business dreams!) and the urge to carve out as much quiet downtime as possible to get cozy and reflect on the year behind us.
Tis the season to reflect on the year, do one last final push to finish 2018 projects and goals, and think about New Year Resolutions, right?
Still not sure how I feel about annual resolutions but I’m definitely a fan of the fresh start. I’ll be sharing my top 2017 takeaways, lessons, and favorite memories soon, but for now I want to talk about goals.
More specifically, about my relationship with goal setting, self worth, and creating a positive relationship with the hustle.
Over the past couple of years as I've been learning how to slow down and heal my perfectionism/workaholism/anxiousness I've found myself drifting away from goals, telling myself stories like "I'm just going to go with the flow" or "I need to embrace my feminine energy and focus on alignment" or "my business and life is in such a state of evolution, I don't want to tie myself down."
But I'm starting to realize that I NEED goals, discipline, and structure to feel my best. For me, there's definitely a thing as too much flow, and it makes me feel ungrounded, overwhelmed, caught in my head, and blerg.
The REAL reason I didn't commit to any specific or tangible business goals this year is that I was afraid.
Afraid I wouldn't have what it takes to follow through.
Afraid I'd fail.
Afraid of the hard work necessary to grow into my goals.
I wanted to be able to give myself the safety net to be able to say at the end of the year "Oh well, I didn't reach that goal again...but it's ok because I didn't really go for it. It wasn't my priority."
Ya feel me??
And I'm calling bullshit because I'm tired of playing small.
I'm learning how to create a healthy relationship with goals, work, and ambition -- a relationship that stems from knowing that I'm inherently worthy of happiness and success and am able to work from a place of passion and purpose, instead of trying to prove myself from a place of desperation so I can hang my self worth on my achievements.
I’ve been a high achiever and perfectionist my entire life.
In second grade I had to make up a standardized test that I missed while on a family vacation, and I remember the teacher’s aid telling my mom that “Anna is a trooper!” because I buckled down and crushed it. 99th percentile, baby! I never studied for tests, always waited until the last minute to write papers, earned more money in scholarships than I’ve ever earned in all my jobs combined.
I grew up living with not just the belief but the unshakable assumption that I would excel at everything I tried.
This mindset served me really well while I was in school, when there were clearly defined benchmarks and a sense of momentum from semester to semester. Do the work, get good grades, pass the class, repeat.
Once I graduated into the “real world” however, I started to realize how emotionally and mentally destructive this self imposed pressure and perfectionism could be.
I kept on achieving and striving, without ever feeling like I was good enough. There was always more to do, more goals to reach, like I was sprinting through a marathon but the finish line kept moving farther and farther away, and it only got worse once I quit my job to be a full time entrepreneur and coach.
About 2 years ago I finally woke up and realized that this wasn’t how I had to live, and that I could CHOOSE how to define success for myself. I could learn how to define my sense of worth outside of my work and achievements.
It takes a lot of time and patience to unlearn patterns, belief systems, and habits that have lodged in our subconscious.
Whenever you want to make a positive change or shift in your life, especially one that involves boosting your sense of self worth or self love, I’ve found that awareness is the first step!
In my own journey and in working with other ambitious, high achieving recovering perfectionists I’ve discovered that we feel most stressed, small, desperate, and overall YUCK when we’re overly attached to our achievements and goals.
Over the past couple of years I’ve been getting curious about my own sense of self worth and how I can show up from a place of wholeness -- knowing that I'm already good enough and have nothing to prove.
What it feels like to be addicted to goals:
You’re driven by a sense of desperation and fear, constantly second guessing yourself and your brain won’t shut off. You keep feeling like you’re not doing enough and need to work harder. You fall into people pleasing patterns if you depend on other people (clients, team members, etc) to reach your goal, so you give them power over your sense of success, identity, and worth. The thought of failing gives you a visceral reaction of deep shame, you can’t even contemplate it so you keep numbing out on busy work. You fixate on the numbers and freak out if they’re not constantly going up...you attach your sense of self worth and identity to your own success and external achievements.
You're subconsciously driven by fear:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of judgement
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of letting others down
- Fear of letting yourself down
- Fear of being stuck
- Fear of being mediocre
- Fear of being not good enough
Your sense of identity revolves around what you do, and you may find yourself getting trapped in comparisonitis, feeling jealous and bitter of other people or women who seem to have what you want.
You think, "if I relax and slow down, I will lose my edge and be unproductive," or "my drive and ego is a good thing b/c it motivates me to get shit done."
THESE THOUGHTS ARE MYTHS.
It is possible to be motivated from a place of rest, passion, purpose, and love.
To work not because you have to prove yourself, but because you can’t NOT do the work you love.
How to detach your self worth from outcomes and achievements
- Get curious about how you want to FEEL: How do you want to feel when you're engaging in your work? When you're reviewing your progress? When you realize you might be off target and need to pivot?
- Add in mega doses of self compassion and empathy. How can you be kinder to yourself?
- Make sure you're setting goals from a place of passion and purpose, not ego or what you "should" do. What would you do if success/failure/money wasn't an object? What is your heart calling you to do? What would you do if you weren't afraid?
- Give yourself permission to do the inner work. Feel the ugly feels. Process your insecurities, fears, doubts. Entrepreneurism and growth is a rollercoaster and a spiritual journey.
- Get support!! Whether that's your partner, friend, or a coach ;) this inner work is hard but having trusted people in your corner makes it a whole lot easier and faster.
HOW I WANT TO FEEL: light, powerful, excited, empowered, confident, free, grateful, connected
I'm dreaming big for 2018 again.
Giving myself permission to go for it, but permission to be ok if you I make my goals in the end.
Because it's not about the achieving in the first place. It's about the process, learning and growing along the way.
photo by Artistrie Co