Lie #3: I’m Not Good Enough

Success.  That word has so many different meanings.  What does success mean to you?  For Rachel Hollis, it’s working as long and as hard as she has to in order to meet deadlines, keep her staff happy and her career flourishing. I don’t think I have m own standards for success in my life.  Yes, seriously.

The Overachiever

We all have something we are pushing for… something that we are striving for on a daily basis.  In Girl, wash your face Rachel’s thing is a successful business.  She works morning, noon and night in order to feel successful.

Whether it’s a new business, a new career, or even writing a new blog (my newest slow starting venture) things aren’t usually a rush out of the gate. In most new ventures we tend to have a slow start. Once the momentum begins to build and the rewards start to show, we begin to thrive off of the success.  The applause and attention starts to pour out.  The momentum increases in pace and we soar!!! What’s next? We feel the need to prove our worth.  We put in endless hours, straining and stressing ourselves.

I have been there.  Years ago I had a corporate career that pushed me to my limits.  I worked and I worked and I worked….50-60 hours a week.  My success was a reflection of my dedication.  My endless hours of blood, sweat and tears….many, many tears.  Hours on the road, time away from home and the high levels of stress wore at me.  But that career WAS my identity.  It was my purpose.  And in the end it was my demise.

The Set Back

In June of 2009, just as my career was at its highest peak, the set back came.  I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  The entire left side of my body was useless.  I couldn’t even hold something with my left hand.  I had to learn how to properly walk, brush my hair and even how to smile.  OT and PT became my new norm.  It felt like my life was over.  My successful career came to a crashing halt.  THAT was my biggest worry.

SERIOUSLY….my biggest worry was that I lost my career.  I was no longer important.  How would I prove my worth?  I should have been worried about how to take care of my children.  I should have been concerned about so many things….yet I wasn’t.  I had the same kind of experience as Rachel’s homeopathic doctor described….”a physical response to and emotional problem”.  You see, I was also in the heat of a divorce and custody battle.  Stress triggered the MS that was lying dormant in my body.

The Silver Lining

I was so focused on achieving greatness in my career, and keeping control of my personal life, that I lost sight of what truly mattered.  The MS was a slap of reality across the face.  It was also a blessing in disguise.  It forced me to slow down….to be present with my daughters.  At the time they were 9 and 3.  I was missing out on so much in their lives!  And during this time of divorce, they needed me around more than ever.

I was also forced to focus on taking care of myself.  I had given up drinking soda in February of that year.  But was now starting to evaluate things like my diet and some exercise to regain some of physical strength I had lost.  My days were spent doing things with my girls, reading, enjoying my parents, PT/OT, home nurses prodding me….and lots of resting to heal my body. It took a long time, but I leaned that I was worthy just they way I was.

What Helped Me

Therapy-both physical and emotional.  My physical and occupational therapists were amazing.  But they were more than that.  They listened to me.  They helped to talk me through the battles I was fighting inside of me. When in doubt, talk.  Talk to someone who will listen.

I started focusing my energy on the good things, the “fun moments”.  I made sure I rested in order to have the energy to enjoy things.  A beach vacation with my kids, a trip to the city to visit my sister, or even time to read a small section of a book. I realized that these are the things that truly matter….these are the forms of success I should be measuring my life by.

I re-prioritized my “to-do” list.  ME time slowly moved to the top.  I hired a personal trainer for ME.  He changed my life.  We didn’t have killer sessions like you would think.  Instead he helped me rebuild some of the strength I had lost.  He gave me new-found confidence.  We spent 2 mornings a week for 2 years, working on ME.  I owe a lot to that man.

What does success look like to you?  Are you prioritizing the right things in your life?  Are YOU at the top of your list?

Making “ME” Time

Believe it or not, one of the things that tops people’s lists when it comes to what they wish they had more of….is “me time”.  How often have you had this same thought?  Sometimes we view taking time for ourselves as a waste of time or invaluable.  We prioritize things like our children, our partner, our career….all before ourselves.  If they are all worthy of your attention and time, then so are you.

The truth is, you can’t pour from an empty cup.  Stress and fatigue can have serious health consequences such as heart attack, high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke.  Mentally it brings on things such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and mood swings.  Just like our bodies need nourishment and rest to function properly, so do our minds.

Ways to schedule yourself in

Decide that you need time for you every day.  It’s normal at first to feel guilty for taking time for yourself.  Once you realize that you will be happier, more rested and less irritable, the decision will be so much easier.  Your well-being sets the tone for the rest of your life.

Finding the “me” time that suits you.  We all like to unwind in different ways.  Start by making a list of different ways you would spend time alone….15 minutes alone, an hour alone, and a whole day alone.  For you it may be quietly reading, indulging in a hot cup of coffee while witting on your porch, meditation and journaling, or enjoying a hobby or past time.  For me, it’s waking at 5am to enjoy my coffee and journal alone.  It’s actually my favorite time of the day.

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Make it a habit.  Once you have decided what it is that you will do for yourself, SCHEDULE it in!  Make it a daily habit, preferably at the same time each day.  Once you have made the commitment, stick to it.  Switching up your indulgence every once in a while is good for you.  Just make “me” time a habit.

Say “no”. Learn to say no to things that do not bring value to your life or make you happy.  Just because someone asks, doesn’t mean you are obligated to say “yes”.  There is nothing selfish in turning down something that does not enrich your life.  Cross off the things in your life that take up extra time….answering emails on your day off, too much time on social media, running to the market every day for dinner instead of planning ahead and only going once a week.  You’ll be surprised how much time you free up!

Benefits of  “me” time

You will be more relaxed.  This characteristic can help you in all relationships.  You will be less irritated with an issue between you and your partner.  That seemingly difficult co-worker will become less of a thorn in your side.  Even your children will seem less needy at times.  Of course you enjoy caring for them, and once you have balance in your life it all becomes more joyful.

Gratitude.  Taking time to “check out” and explore your own thought helps you to become more grateful.  Lack of time alone can actually build up resentment towards other people and situations in your life.  Having time alone helps us create an attitude of gratitude for what and whom we do have.

A healthy balance. “Me” time can greatly reduce stress and anxiety…resulting in better sleep habits, better communication with those in your life, increased energy, and even lower blood pressure.  Depression and anxiety will melt away.

What it all boils down to is you deserve it.  Taking care of you first should be a priority. Stop wishing for more personal time, and start creating the peaceful time you need and are worthy of.  You’ll thank me for it.

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