The Crippling Pursuit of Perfection

What is perfection really?  It is a stubborn mistress that we court, but are never quite found good enough for the Ball.  Perfectionism is different from striving to be better, because that is a competition with ourselves.  Perfectionism is more about proving/convincing to yourself and others that you are good enough. It’s a stifling and oppressive way to live life.  It is often much safer to not go for it, and say I am not going to even bother because it won’t be good enough for insert here (usually yourself when you really dissect the reason).  The threat of rejection and disappointment are far greater than the reward of showing the progress of discovery.  This is some of the most self-destructive things people can do to themselves, not including bodily harm.  The void of rejection catapulted my self-esteems issues even further because I didn’t think I was even worthy of presenting my skills if it wasn’t perfect.

barriers-to-love

Self-Pressure
Perfectionism is like having to pee in the middle of the night.  Stay with me here, I agree it’s an odd analogy.  You are slightly uncomfortable with the pressure, but you are so warm and cozy in your bed you hate to get up.  You’d much rather stay under the safety of the blanket until it becomes too much and you give in.  Except there is no safety blanket, and eventually you choose to show yourself and your talents to the terrifying world.  Or you pee in the bed, and shrink into self-loathing.

Take this entry for example, I had so many good ideas and lines when I started the concept, but I can’t think of a single one.  And they were good. You know what happened to those ideas I had five minutes before writing this?  I said to myself, “ooo, I like where this is going.  Let me get downstairs and get settled into writing mode before starting to write this entry.” POOF, gone.  I could have written them down where I was, but I didn’t.  I am going to publish this anyway to prove a point because this is an important topic for me.

Judgment
Perfectionism isn’t really about presenting your perfect work.  It is using it to hide behind your excuses, self-doubt, and flaws so people don’t know your vulnerabilities and insecurities.  To have your “best” self always on display, scared of being judged of not being good enough is a crippling mindset that weighs heavily on every decision one makes.  Every decision leads back to “am I good enough to reveal this?”  It’s much easier to show something that you believe is your best effect and have them bring judgment, than it is to show a work in progress and have it ripped to shreds (e.g. first draft of a paper).  It’s the same with my Arbonne business, photography, writing, paddling, and now art.   I used to get ashamed if I swam (it’s where you fall out of your boat in a rapid) while paddling, but it has a become a source of pride because it means I tried something and pushed myself.  Fail your way forward.

Roy and I hitting a rock - hard - in the rapid. Good times. Photograph taken by Ohiopyle Adventure Photography. We kept going.

Roy and I hitting a rock – hard – in the Cucumber Rapid on Yough River.  Photograph taken by Ohiopyle Adventure Photography. We kept going.

Self-Validation
The projects don’t have to be physical in nature; they can be emotional as well.  Or the most vulnerable of all, when it is the combination of both.  The vulnerability of art for the world to see, which is always an express of an emotion of some kind, oftentimes gives me the most pause in sharing it.  And being completely vulnerable with all of you, my latest self-discovery is how much I like to doodle.  I like drawing the lines, the shapes, and all of it coming together to make something kind of beautiful in its own unique way.  Art is terrifying to me, so this is a huge discovery.

doodle

One of the hardest things I have worked on in the last 4.5 years is to make an effort to kick my self-judgment to the curb.  It means you have to confront yourself, which is another entry altogether and discover some of your inner demons.   Be real with those closest to you, and I was surprised by the outcome of this.  In my experience, I discovered those who truly love me for who I am becoming and embracing my true self.  I also discovered those who will always see the old me, and who have a hard time accepting the self-confident version of myself.  It can be a brutal wake up call. Give perfectionism an eviction notice from your mind and soul, and be a vigilante when it comes to visit.

Be the Catalyst

Get Dirty with Change
People say that is change is hard, and it can be. It is also inevitable, and it can be beautiful. It is important to embrace the changes happening in your life because they are coming either way so you might as well embrace it. If the change is unpleasant, the sooner you deal with it, the sooner it will change into something tolerable. If the change is good or long-term beneficial, then embrace the journey to get to the beautiful place on the other side. While paddling I came up with an expression, “on the other side of the mud is often a beauty hidden by the effort to get there.” It is the same with change.

courage-fear-do-it-anyway

The Push
Quite honestly, the catalyst in my growth in the stages of my business has come from outside sources. I do much better historically when helping other people. I am more focused, more determined, and it’s because I genuinely enjoy being a part of helping other people achieving their dream. It’s the part I play, and I play it well. However, it is time to grow out of that. I have written how that is really not enough, but for me it is how I have measured my worth by adding to a cause. As if I am not enough just being me. It’s not true. There are things I am privately passionate about and very important to me that deserves to be heard, known, and acknowledged. These are the ones that only a select few know about, and that scare me for people to know.beat-her

Sparking Your Catalyst
All of it is coming to a climax. Tony Robbins says “change happens when the pain of staying the same is bigger than the pain of change.”  Everyone has demons, and every person has at least one that likes to linger. A lingering whisper is the fear of not being worthy of the amazing friendships I have built in the last 4 and half years. Which is completely ridiculous, and thankfully doesn’t surface often anymore. It’s the old me popping up like a prairie dog, and the part of myself I deserve to beat whac-a-mole style. Its presence has lessened since I am coming out of a transition period that seems to be inevitably messy. The result is a new level of leadership being born. One that I am ready to take on because staying hidden behind some type of misplaced pride is becoming too uncomfortable to stay idle. It’s like a bug molting into a new shell because it’s outgrown its old one. It’s painful, it’s uncomfortable, and as it happens you are incredibly vulnerable while growing into a new stage of development and waiting for it to harden.   It is time to be the catalyst for change and become the adult we are all destined to be.

Fear of Success and Codependence

 Codependence

I have steadily been moving towards independence, and took a big step towards it by finally moving into my own place. It is exhilarating, scary, and necessary. My whole life I have been enabled and codependent, mostly without me knowing it.   This has lead to some unhealthy and self-destructive habits that I have been slowly working my through to be the best version of myself. I have written about the personal growth aspect of the journey repeatedly.

The Battle

I have never shied away from it. The necessary pain of personal growth until recently. I didn’t know why until yesterday. The last vestiges of codependence are attempting to adhere a strangle hold on my road to greatness, and they are powerful, deeply entrenched, and are not going away without a fight. It is possibly my hardest personal growth battle to date. My will, grit, and determination are even greater.

decisions regret

I don’t think I have ever been more scared to continue on my path to greatness, to success. I will beat this. I will conquer the doubt, frustration, and little nagging voice that says “no you can’t”. I have to. It is past that, I deserve to.

It is bigger than me. It always has been. It is just more real now that it ever has been. The fear of success, and the lingering doubt has been crippling as of late. What if I am not good enough, what if I am not the leader everyone expects me to be, what if blah blah.

Belief

It’s all bullshit, of course. Some of the biggest leaders in Arbonne believe in me, and it’s been a long time since I have felt this uncertain about myself. This is how I know I am close to a breakthrough. The closer one gets to the breakthrough, the more the universe challenges you to see how much you want it. I deserve to get out of my own head not for the last time, but certainly one of the most important to date. I am at the critical junction where my fear of being noticed and success have come to a head. This is my pinnacle moment where I can aspire and reach greatness, or I can shirk into the background. The latter is not really an option. It would be so much easier, but I am never one to take the easy way out. Bring on the pain, I’ve got this. Finally. Yes, I realize I have said this numerous times. And every time it has been true in different aspects of my life’s journey.

Full Moon and Refocus

Since the Arbonne area retreat in Albany I had been doing inspired action to achieve my goal, which is a big goal. However, I knew something was missing. I just couldn’t figure out what it was. I was so focused on what I needed to do to achieve the goal that at some point in the last few days I lost the reason behind the goal.

It's a bracelet given to me by Debbie Carroll Neal.

Tonight is the Capricorn full moon, which is apparently very powerful. I am looking at it, and connecting with it. I am focusing on the power of the moon, and seeing what needs to change in my life. And not just in Arbonne, but in all aspects of my life. Most importantly, I deserve to let go of the outcome. Once I let go of the outcome, the pressure was off my psyche. There is a weight off my mind tonight. I am making a mental list of things that deserve-not need- to be changed in order for my life, my destiny, and my goals to be fulfilled.  Verbiage is another one. The word Need is one of the lowest forms of expression, and carries with it a low vibration. I am switching it to Deserve.

I feel grounded again, but inspired to touch as many lives as possible. The focus and intention has returned instead of the activity being similar to unorganized chaos. Activity without intention is like paddling with half a paddle. You may get where you are going, but it’s going to take a long time. Intention is key to obtaining any goal.

Sometimes we are so focused on the goal, we lose sight of the WHY behind the Goal. In the process, I lost the inspired action, and couldn’t figure out the disconnect between the action and the goal. It became slightly overwhelming, and without me realizing it.

I have unknowingly repeated this behavior for some time now, and never made the connection of why. Everyone has the habit of getting in their own way, and I’ve gotten really good at recognizing the signs of when I am doing that. The devil however is very adaptive, and when those old ways of hindering you stop working, it gets creative.

Chasing a dream is exhausting, which is what I have been doing for months now. However, reliving, immersing yourself in it, and envisioning your dream life on a daily basis are not only necessary to achieving the dream, but it’s reinvigorating.  I am enrolling not just active affirmations, but active, present vision into my daily life. BOOM.

New Beginnings

I had a conversation with a mentor and one of my best friends recently about my attire.  It’s well established that I am a treehugging, hippie, paddler who likes nothing more than cargo pants and some quick drying layer (usually fleece or tech shirt).  I own a lot of men’s clothing of every variety.  I have a plethora of men’s pants because at one time, either in reality or in my head, I believed that I could only wear mens pants because of my muscular thighs.  I love them.  I have worn them for YEARS.  They are comfy, baggy, practical, and just a staple of my wardrobe outside of my Arbonne attire.

However, they are no longer serving me.  I have done a shit ton of personal growth, a lot of which was painful, some extremely.  All necessary, and all infinitely worth it.  My mentor told me recently to get rid of all my men’s pants that were ill-fitting.  For my job (not Arbonne, I sell work boots) I am regularly crawling around on the floor, searching through boxes, climbing up ladders, often get covered in dust, etc.  I do not wear nice things at work for this reasons.  I literally have work pants and go out pants because my knees always get worn out.

I initially went full out against this idea, because who cares what I look as I crawl around looking for boots, digging through boxes, or carrying heavy, dust laden boxes down the stairs?  I never had.  Perhaps-no definitely-I should.

Where I work is not glamorous, by any stretch of the imagination.   I sell work boots and work clothing, primarily.  I really like where I work, and have worked there on and off since I was 16.  It’s flexible, family owned and operated, and locally owned store in the Hunterdon County area.  It’s also different than anything you have probably been in, in the best kind of way.

The work boot area where I work in particular is quite different from what you may think.  It’s extensive, massive, and we have boots everywhere in the stock room.  I came to the realization today that just because it’s not the most classy place or the cleanest doesn’t make a difference in the pride I should have in working there.  There’s a reason I have worked there since I was 16.  I truly do love it there.  We have something for everyone. I  take pride in that, and therefore I should take pride in what I wear there.

I don’t need to be a diva.  I would like to be practical and classy.  The two are not mutually exclusive, despite me thinking that until recently.  I can do my job effectively, look classy, and not destroy my clothes.

The crazy thing is this is one of the hardest things she’s asked to me to do.  By the way, they have all been awesome and totally worth it.  The personal growth, while not easy, I did it quite willingly and without question.  This I questioned, and whined, until I realized that this out of all the other things she’s suggested I do, have caused me the most up-front mental hurdle.

Why?  Because my old self is trying to hide my badass figure from society.  I am worth it.  I am worth all the attention to my mind, body, and soul.  In personal growth,  there is always another piece to fill in your jigsaw puzzle.  This was a big one.

Your True Self

Sometimes the person you have spent your entire life being, isn’t really your true self.  You may have been taught things that weren’t true about yourself and that became your truth, or you succumbed to the version of yourself that everyone believed was you.

This is the story you are telling yourself.  If you are unhappy with it, it’s is time to write a new one.  It’s your damn life, be happy with the choices, lifestyles, and career.

I have recently stepped into the person I am supposed to be, and that for whatever reason has been buried under a mountain of my own bullshit.  Over the past three years, in order, I have developed or done:  started a business, adopted a mentor, followed them around everywhere, did what they said, read a lot of books; developed self-confidence, probably for the first time, actually worked my business; got promoted, and taught and inspired others to be the best version of themselves, and then got promoted again. At times it was painful, but it was worth all of it to be building my future freedom.  Success is rarely easy.

When I got to train after completing Area manager with Arbonne, I got a standing ovation.  It is a moment I will never forget as long as I live.  It was reaffirming, it was magical, and I finally felt comfortable that this was where I was supposed to be. It was at that moment that I realized I am changing the world one treehugging hippie at a time.

me training 2-1-16

Me training at our Arbonne meeting

This is just the beginning of my life.  This is my true self that have unburied after a lot of painful growth, which I have written about before.  The person who I am today is so different than anything I have been in the past twenty years that sometimes it takes awhile for people to see me as I truly am.

The leader, the paddler, treehugging hippy, the person who has inspired an entire Arbonne nation to celebrate with me, and just overall badass, cargo pant wearing chica.  All of those are who I am.  I have shedded the skin of my former life because I’ve grown into my adult embodiment of myself.  It feels like home.

In Love with My Life

I have liked my life for the most part since I graduated high school.  I went to class, graduated, and I truly enjoyed and probably loved my life in college.  After graduation?

I certainly didn’t love my life; I barely had one.  It was working two jobs, 60-70 hours a week, and one job I truly did love, the other was just there to pay the rest of the bills.  One year I got my w-2’s back, and was like, “that’s it? And literally thought, ‘there has to be a better way’.”  I have found that way.  It is a company founded on respect, empowerment, and helping others.  There is no amount of salary worth making you feel like a piece of shit by the end of the day.  NONE.

One of the benefits of realizing one’s worth is that I am truly in love with my life.  There is a difference between liking your life and being in love with it.  Think dating to get a better understanding.  I love everything in it.  I love my friends, my relationships, my business, and  most importantly myself.

I have worked hard to understand, conquer, and retire my old-self, as I call it.  I have reincarnated myself to be more positive, self-confident, present, less passive-aggressive, and immensely grateful person.  Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 2.01.43 PM

I am proud of my journey it took to get me to this point, and I am even more proud of apparently the inspiration in it for people.  There is no greater gift.

Unconventional Life

My life has not been “conventional.”  I did go to college, it took me awhile to graduate, and it took me a year to find part-time work in my field of interest, environmental science, which became environmental consulting.

I thought I’d spend my life doing it, it’d be my “career.”  That was the point, right?  To settle down, build a life, and stay with the company forever.  Well that little scenario didn’t happen, and I found that I had four employers in the span of 7 years.  I certainly wasn’t happy, and when the temporary position I had ended, I was actually relieved.

So, I went back to the retail job I had since high school, started dogsitting, and started working my Arbonne business.

set of four

I realized a few months ago that I am not meant to live a “conventional” life, and that is a valid life choice.  I have too many passions, outlets, and love for others to have it pigeon-holed into one category for the rest of my life.  I love photography and to write; I am in love with helping people and empowering them, and I am obsessed with teaching paddling to everyone I meet.

This is my path, my destiny, my journey, and I have chosen to live my life this way.  I have also taken responsibility for it, and that has changed everything in my life.  My mindset, my purpose, and my belief in myself have all come from this realization that my life choice is okay.  Better than okay, it is mine.  I own that decision.  It may be messy and chaotic, but I love every minute of it.  I love the flexibility I have in my life, and the time freedom to pursue all the things I am passionate about.

My life choice has led to me to the most amazing, empowering people I could have ever met.  I have the best friends and support system that I never would have fathomed being in my life. I have surrounded myself with people who respect me, and who empower me to be better.

Moments and Shifts

Sometimes there are moments that seem like they are still-life, and they are pictured in your mind forever.  Some good, some bad, some just are.

Then there are moments that change your thinking, change your perspective, and ultimately change your life.

I have had so many of these lately that it’s been a bit overwhelming.  My friend calls it “the gauntlet”, and she had run hers a few years ago.  I am running mine now.  It’s a series of life-defining events that are sometimes cataclysmic, but always kind of an emotional do or die situation.

tragedy-strength dalai

This year has been one of the toughest emotionally, but one of the best years of my life.  There’s been loss, heartache, emotional pain, and stress from a variety of sources.  All of that leads me to this.  This moment, my gauntlet.

I am done hiding.  I have hid behind a wall for so long, and I have written about it.  This is different.  It’s visceral.  It’s one of several breakthroughs I have had in the past months, but this is one of the most important.

Because it’s about me.  A lot of the other breakthroughs I’ve had, and the success has been because I wanted to be an integral part of building others up.  Because they deserved it.  It wasn’t because I deserved it.  I didn’t think I deserved that success, but I for damned sure wanted to help them achieve theirs.  To be apart of something greater, and we pulled together as a team and succeeded.

It was amazing to be part of that, and I’ll never forget it.

Now I realize that I DESERVE success, too.  For me, for my team, for my family.  And all of that is okay.  It’s not selfish, it’s not narcissistic, and it’s deserved.  I have worked to grow myself to the person I am today, and it was hard, it was painful, and at times it quite frankly sucked.  The outcome though?  The best thing I have ever done.  To realize I AM worthy of all those things.  Me.  Not for someone else, is my biggest shift to date.  I am quite literally shaking with fear and realization.

Uninvisible

I’ve
led
my
life
Making
myself
be
Invisible.

Letting
others
take
Credit,
while
I was
in the
Shadows.

it was to
Fit in,
to Belong

Because
even the
Illusion of
Belonging
was better
than no semblance
at all.

It was
an
Empty
hope

I kept
myself
small,
Hidden

to
Everyone.

Until

The
Painful
Self-discovery
of
My
Own

Worthiness.

Proved
me
Wrong.

I am
not
Perfect.

I am
still
Worth
Knowing.

I
AM
Not
Be
Invisible.

I
Am
a
Force.

I
am
Enough.

Just as
I
Am.