It's 10:42 in the morning on a random Wednesday.
I'm sitting in my neighborhood Starbucks trying to muster the courage to dive back into B-School, the online business and marketing course I invested in two months ago. I started it, and then got overwhelmed and put it on the backburner for a month, even though deep down I know that this is what I need to do in order to take my business, blog, confidence, and LIFE to the next level.
The truth is, I know I'm ready. I know I have everything I need to be successful already inside me, I trust that I'm in the right place and that my story is unfolding perfectly according to the bigger plan and that I'm fully supported in love by God and the universe and all higher powers etc etc blahblah insert all the scripture and Pinterest quotes. I know that for the first time in my life I'm completely 100% in alignment with my purpose and myself, my higher calling if you will. I know exactly what I need to do, and I know it will make me so happy.
I am so afraid to grow into my potential.
On Monday night I delivered a webinar to my Beachbody coaching team, my family, my friends. It was a pretty big stepping stone for me because it was the first time I made a powerpoint and delivered an "official" training presentation to the entire team of 3,500 coaches. It was an opportunity for me to share my story and process everything I've learned through the rollercoaster of my first fourteen months of coaching.
What did I talk about? How to own your life, your business, your success. How to believe in yourself. After a year of struggle and hard work and good old trial and error failing forward, I've reached a tipping point in my business where on paper I'm successful and safe. Other coaches are looking up to me as a leader. I don't have to feel desperate or hustle anymore, I can relax and flow, but it's still so much easier for me to preach than practice. It's SO much easier for me to tell my coaches and my team that they're limitless and capable of achieving their dreams than it is for me to believe in my own abilities.
I'm a professional dream enabler and inspire-r. But I'm limiting myself by not truly enabling my own dreams because I'm so used to the struggle, I'm used to feeling small and holding myself back.
The most powerful thing I'm learning from coaching and being an entrepreneur is that we are truly our own worst critics.
It breaks my heart when I see strong, beautiful, powerful women hold themselves back from feeling successful and fulfilled in my challenge groups and on my team. The worst part is that I'm right there with them, terrified of failure yet even more terrified of growing and changing, so I hold myself back whenever I feel close to a scary breakthrough that means change.
I struggle with perfectionism so much, and I'm realizing that it's been with me my entire life. This internal pressure to perform, to succeed, to live up to my own expectations that I set ridiculously high, and I ignore the incredible goodness that’s right in front of me because I'm never satisfied, I never feel "enough," the self hatred when I am paralyzed by overwhelm and fear. It's a daily battle of me vs. me.
My first memory of feeling negatively anxious was my first day of 1st grade. I was SIX YEARS OLD.
My family had moved into a big new house in a new development, so the bus forgot to pick me up and my mom had to drive me into school. I only arrived about 20 minutes late, but I’ll never forget how I felt when I walked into the classroom. You see, in kindergarten we all sat together at long tables and shared all of our school supplies. First grade was the first time I was assigned my very own desk, the first time I was expected to take ownership of my own space. My teacher was also brand new, fresh out of student teaching and full of creative ideas. She had put cardboard boxes, the flat kind that you see at grocery stores to store cans, into the top storage section of our desks to use like a drawer. When I walked into the classroom with my backpack stuffed full of new crayons, markers, pencils, glue sticks, and notebooks, wide eyed and excited to start the new school year, all the other students were situated, busily working away with their school supplies packed away, it looked like they already knew what they were doing.
I remember feeling lost and overwhelmed and confused. I was afraid to ask my teacher for help because I didn’t want to seem dumb, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do with all my school supplies! What was supposed to go in the cardboard drawer? What was supposed to go in the larger space below? It’s the first memory I have of feeling anxious and afraid of doing something wrong.
That anxiety has followed me my entire life.
An intense pressure to succeed, to perform, to live up to expectations.
I HATE feeling incompetent, I hate being a beginner, I hate my first year of any new job or program because I am vulnerable. Deep down I think I’ve always known that my parents will be proud of me no matter what, but I want to be proud of myself. I’ve always been my own worst critic. Driven, ambitious, yet paralyzed by fear and doubtful that I’ll ever be good enough to achieve the things I see other people achieving in work and business and fitness and life. So I put on a mask, watch from the sidelines, am consumed by bitterness and jealousy, and hide behind labels. Straight A student, teacher’s pet, achiever, now I'm being labeled as a "top coach" on my team! I am desperate to be instantly successful at everything I do, and go through the motions to numb and hide my insecurities.
When I’m not instantly successful, I feel like a massive failure. I feel worthless. I doubt myself, doubt that I’ll ever really be good enough to amount to anything. I’m blinded to my actual success and achievements, because the more I achieve, the higher the bar is set. Nothing is ever enough and I hold myself back from trying new things that I really really want to do, because I’m afraid I won’t be able to be good enough. Things like painting, calligraphy, completely owning my Etsy shop and becoming an artist. Things like completing online business courses, taking ownership of my blog and newsletter, taking ownership of my Beachbody business and treating it seriously. I procrastinate and postpone and hide by reading more, learning more, training my coaches more, consuming more inspiration when in reality I need to sit down and do the hard work.
My whole life, I've just accepted that I'm "supposed" to feel overwhelmed and anxious and unsatisfied if I want to be successful. I have to drown myself in endless busy work and ignore what my heart and soul are SCREAMING FOR because if I'm not being "productive" I am going to fail. On the inside I'm screaming for fulfillment, for space, for quiet, for time to think and read and paint and be creative and explore and do things for the sake of doing them, not for the sake of producing something.
But FINALLY I'm learning that workaholism and perfectionism are real, they're things I battle daily but they do not define me.
They're behaviors I adopt to block myself from acknowledging my true inner self, because being vulnerable and opening up even to yourself is the hardest thing ever. Can you relate to the cycle of self-sabotage? Are you afraid to make a change in your life because it goes against the status quo? You are not alone.
Over the past few months I've hit a tipping point, decided that I am enough, and I'm not going to tolerate self directed negative energy, guilt, fear and shame anymore. The Fear will always be with me, but it doesn't have to control me.
I've been working through The Artist's Way since March, a 12-week creative recovery course for anyone who feels blocked, overwhelmed, frustrated with themselves. It's helping me accept myself for who I am, and love ALL sides of myself, the good and the bad. I'm learning to back off and trust myself, to give myself space, to truly take OWNERSHIP of my life, my success, my happiness, and my story. It's changing my life by allowing me to finally accept and love myself for who I am. I've started surrounding myself with people who can push me and lift me up.
I’m accepting that true success, a legacy, a creative business, takes a LIFETIME to create and it’s going to take time, and that’s ok.
I don’t have to do it all at once, and success is a feeling, not a destination. As long as I’m trying my best, and have freedom to spend time and be present with my husband, family, friends, faith, I am successful. It’s not about achievement, it’s about the process, the journey.
I'm learning that were created to be joyful. Life isn't meant to be a soul-sucking grind. We weren't meant to waste away our time working for someone else's agenda. Your dreams of happiness, freedom, control aren't "unrealistic" just because they go against society's mold or labels you've put on yourself. You have the power to take control if you're not happy, because the power that already exists within you is stronger than any fear.
You CAN change. You can change your habits, your friends, your body, your career path, your life. You deserve to feel 100% completely in love with your body and your life! Don’t hold yourself back by the space that exists between where you are now and where you want to be. Live in that space, in the possibility, in the questions, in the journey.
Changing your life begins with changing your relationship with yourself. It starts by one tiny, simple decision...deciding that you're worth more, and that you’re not settling for anything less than fulfillment and joy.