Welcome to Failing Imperfectly

Failure is a fear so many of us live with each day. We see failure as an absolutely horrible occurrence. We have been ingrained with this belief from the time we were little.

No matter how hard we try, there is no true perfection that we can live. At least not according to the standard definition of perfect.

Failure keeps us moving onto better ways. Imperfection keeps life interesting.

Life. The Imperfect Way.

Why is it so Hard?

Before I get started, get your mind out of the gutter! 

In all seriousness, why do we make things seem as if they are so difficult? Well, because they are! Duh!! 

Actually, no, they aren’t. They can be anything you want them to be. In my case for this episode, I’m going to talk about work and life in general. Now, I know that there are genuinely some problematic aspects to life; I’m not denying that. What I am referring to are the things that we can control and how we react to everything in life.

Read More

What’s Their Story

Have you ever stopped to think about where some of the most successful people started out their life? Sure, you have probably heard that Steve Jobs started Apple in his garage, but what about people you come into contact with that you don’t know well enough to know their life story? Are you looking at them and the success they’ve had in life and wishing it could be that easy for you?

I recently received a reminder that if you don’t know somebody, you don’t know where they’ve come from. Even if you think you know, they might not have told you the entire story.

The company I work for is serious about our mission and about improving the lives of others and before COVID hosted pretty consistent volunteer opportunities. I joined the company just a couple of months before COVID shutdown life as we knew it and work remotely from across the country so I didn’t get to participate in the volunteering they did. When COVID hit, I didn’t think about the lack of volunteering the company has done, at least in the traditional way you think about volunteering. As a company, we’ve worked with other large companies to give back to our target market, but that is not what I’m talking about today. 

During one of our biweekly company-wide team meetings, the team brought up an opportunity to volunteer with a local organization that the company has supported through the years. This opportunity is to donate food or personal care items to a local non-profit for those in need. Us remote employees have the option of donating locally to participate or providing money (or not participating, but that’s not the option I chose). When one of our leaders started talking about how near and dear this is to his heart, he told a story I didn’t know. Now, the story is entirely his to share and I’m not going to go into detail, but the part that stood out to me the most was something that I related to.

As a child, he was able to eat because his family received food stamps. Me too. I cannot remember a time as a child that my parents didn’t buy food on their EBT card. It was shit food, but that’s another story for another time. This admission from one of our leaders who I haven’t gotten to know very well because of being remote and COVID, slapped me in the face as a reminder not to assume anything about anybody. This leader has been super successful from what I know of him. Like REALLY successful. But I never considered where he came from. What did he overcome to reach the level of success that he has?

When you look at these successful people that have started companies and sold them for millions or billions or who are models or Instagram influencers or whatever, do you ever consider what their story might be?

I haven’t. In fact, it feels like every time I hear a story like this or like Robert Herjavec’s story, my heart drops, I feel so much empathy for them and then I get inspired. If you don’t know who Robert Herjavec is, he is the founder and CEO of cybersecurity firm Herjavec Group and is one of the Shark’s on Shark Tank. Or there is Sarah Jessica Parker or Charlize Theron or Ursula Burns or Geisha Williams.

Remember that quote, “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, don’t judge any person that you see as successful before you learn their story. They might be living pretty damn cushy right now, but they might not have started that way. Not every successful person is born into a family with what seems like unlimited funds or perfect parents or even a roof over their head. If you find yourself thinking it was or is easy for somebody, do some research and don’t assume.

That vice president in your company that you think has it all or the CEO who works a shitload of hours and demands (rudely or not) dedication or the actress or influencer or whoever you are assuming had it easy to get where they are, they probably didn’t. I have learned in the past few years that there are more and more successful people who started out with rough childhoods that most of us don’t know about. It doesn’t matter what level of success you are thinking about. It could be the teacher down the road with a beautiful house or that person that drives a spiffy new car all of the time or the doctor at the local clinic. 

As I sit here and meditate on the new fact I learned about this leader in my company, the more my empathic emotion wants to just hug him and tell him it’s okay. There are so many people who start life with little to no food, no shelter, abusive parents, being bullied, immigrating from a warzone or drug cartel area, or so much more. Let’s stop judging these books by their cover and start learning their stories. We might be surprised by the person behind the cover. 

Remember my Imperfect Warriors, you already have what it takes, believe in yourself, and crush every failure on your way to your dreams. Let’s be imperfect together.

Talking About Our Problems

A few years ago I was part of a group that was all about productivity, growth, and success. One of the things they shared quite frequently was about how we should focus less on the negative things in life. I brought that into my life and practiced it for a while, except when I got drunk. But then I grew away from that group and shrugged my shoulders and thought I could focus on the positive while also allowing complaining and negativity back into my life. And I did, for a while. Until I realized that I was more stressed and had a more negative outlook on life than I liked.

more

Powered by Failure

Lack of success. That is what the definition of failure is. What the definition doesn’t tell you is how many attempts at something equates to a lack of success. The thing is, so many of us equate one attempt to being either a success or a failure. What specifically are we attempting? Anything. Everything. 

More

Unexpected Change in Perspective

Recently one question directed at me changed my outlook and appreciation for my life as it is right now. I had no idea that I needed something to challenge my perspective, but it happened.

Have you ever considered moving to ? The place at the end of that question doesn’t matter. What matters is the personal outcome from considering that question. No, I hadn’t considered it. But after reviewing the what-ifs, I have a much deeper appreciation for my life right now right where it is. 

I finally, maybe for the first time ever, but most definitely for the first time in my life where I get to make all of the decisions, have a place that I call home that I am emotionally tied to. In the past, I’ve simply moved apartments because I wanted a different environment or moved states for a job or because I hated the state I lived in (yeah, I’m talking about New Mexico). It was an easy decision and there was nothing that prevented me from leaving. But when I consider moving to another state now, my heart gets sad. I am emotionally connected to my home and the people I spend my life with here.

If I consider moving to another state, not in the immediate vicinity of Utah, I get sad for all of the exploring that we have not yet done. I think about all of the natural beauty here that I want to experience. I think about all of the plans we had with our friends before COVID took over our lives. I think about the house we are still in the middle of renovating and all of the plans we have for it. I truly thought about it all.

I have never understood why people had such a difficult time moving out of a house or to another state. When I’ve done it, it was the simplest decision. It was as simple as, yeah, I’m going. But now, now there are many more things to consider and now I am emotionally connected to where I live. 

Have I ever considered moving to ? No, no I hadn’t. But now that I have, there would be some requirements to be met before it could be a serious consideration. In the meantime, I’m going to stay here in Utah and get busy living my life. 

My perspective has been changed. I am a serious introvert and this COVID stay home focus has been mostly glorious for me. But this question challenged my introvertedness by challenging my emotional connection to life. It’s funny how you can be cruising through life thinking that life was good and your growth and focus was pretty damn sharp and then bam!! You are hit with a question that challenges everything. 

I can’t wait to get busy living the life that I think of when I consider the question about moving elsewhere. I want to explore the state more. And not just the national parks everybody knows about, but the remote, only a few people can go kinds of places. I want to go to ALL of the farmers markets and enjoy the festivals and explore the little towns or downtowns. I want to hike more. I want to expand my photography abilities with the beautiful landscapes that are around me. I want to keep renovating our home to our preferences. I want to be in range to visit family and friends more than we had before. I want to make more memories with Eddie and the pups here in our home.

My appreciation for all that is available to me here where I am now has exploded. It’s funny how a simple question can trigger so much thought and emotion. It’s funny how we think we are appreciating where we are in life until something forces a change in perspective. This unexpected change in my perspective has definitely been welcomed and shows me where I have room for even more growth in my life. We think so narrowly sometimes that we forget to stop and smell the roses.

Fear of the Unknown

Since I opened the door to talking about mental health, I want to continue on that theme and talk about fear, specifically, my fear of the unknown. In his paper published in ScienceDirect titled Fear of the unknown: One fear to rule them all?, R. Nicholas Carleton defines the fear of the unknown as “an individual’s propensity to experience fear caused by the perceived absence of information at any level of consciousness or point of processing”. Why do I want to talk about this? Because it is something that triggers my anxiety and I’m sure it also affects some of you in one way or another.

I recently realized that I was experiencing my fear of the unknown and challenged myself to push against it. I am a beginner with landscape photography, but when I’m in nature experiencing it, I love taking pictures of scenes that nourish my soul. Someday I would love to be good enough to sell some of my photography. But I can’t do that if I don’t get out into nature to take the pictures to edit. Once it dawned on me that I need to get outdoors more to get better at taking pictures, I set a goal to go into nature at least one day per month every month of the year. I know that when it is warm enough to camp again, I will be taking more, but during the winter, I don’t get out much. 

The first weekend I set that I was going to go out, I didn’t because it was supposed to be overcast. I used the clouds as an excuse instead of a feature in whatever pictures I could have taken. The second weekend in January that I said I was going, I woke up and decided that I wasn’t going to go because it was partly cloudy. There was that excuse again. 

Those aren’t the only times I’ve made excuses to not get my ass into nature and enjoy the beauty that lights my soul on fire. It happens all of the time. Getting into nature isn’t the only thing I’ve made excuses for lately either. It happens for stupid shit around the house and for things as simple as taking the dogs for a walk. 

As I was laying in bed telling myself that it was okay that I didn’t go out into the cold for pictures of things I didn’t know I would encounter in cloudy conditions I realized what the real issue was. I was running into my fear of the unknown. I immediately identified it as anxiety, but I wasn’t getting the typical anxiety response that I get. It was fear of not knowing what I would encounter or experience or fully knowing how I was getting to the place I had an idea of going.

Fear of the unknown is a real thing that we experience. Sometimes it leads to more intense anxiety responses such as panic attacks. R. Nicholas Carleton posited that fear of the unknown is a fundamental fear. So how do we manage this fundamental fear? R. Nicholas Carleton didn’t provide specific things to help, but I can tell you what helped me that morning I was giving into a cloudy day.

The first thing I had to do was identify what was happening, and I did. The next thing I did was run through the what-if’s. What if you don’t go? What if you do go? What if you don’t find what you are looking for? What if you find more than you are looking for? What if it is crowded? What if you are the only person there? What if getting up and going this one time gives me the confidence to go next month or even next weekend?

I ran through the what-ifs and realized that all I was doing was holding myself back. And so I made a deal with myself. I told myself that if I get up and do my meditating and journaling and then go, I can stop and get an Americano on the way out. It was a simple cheap thing that I rewarded myself with for pushing past the fear. 

I had to challenge myself. I am competitive and a little competition with myself made my plans happen. And the best reward of it all was getting an absolutely beautiful sunrise and being able to play with settings and my drone. I realized on my way home that I’ve been succumbing to my fear of the unknown for quite some time. It’s with stupid little things like walking our two dogs by myself. Or doing something without my husband. I actually think I’ve become kind of codependent. That’s neither here nor there though. I’ve succumbed to my fear of the unknown with other things like reaching out to people to have different conversations that we normally do or reaching out to family members that make no effort to reach out to me.

My fear of the unknown holds me back. It held me back for almost a year with starting my podcast. I was afraid of what I didn’t know about how to create and post a podcast. Of course, I’m also afraid of failure, but that is a secondary fear for me.

What unknowns are you letting your fear hold you back from? Have you identified them? Are you open to identifying them? Why not?

Open your mind and start figuring out what is holding you back. If it is your fear of the unknown, then start with my what-if questions, see if those help you. If you are truly paralyzed by your fear or resulting anxiety, please ask for help. You are not alone and there are things you can do to overcome your fear. It can be done, little by little.

Sacrificing Your Mental Health

We are going to talk about one of the things that society has placed a negative stigma on, mental health. Growing up, anything to do with mental health was negative and was generally not talked about. And if it was talked about, the conversation was judgemental and demeaning. The sad part is that if our society hadn’t been so damn judgemental, so many people could possibly still be with us today. While so many people only think of mental health as depression or anxiety or bipolar disorder or something similar, that’s not all that mental health is.

More

Less Noise, More Depth

Now that we are into February and everybody has either given up on their resolutions or they are kicking ass, it’s time to decide what is truly important to you. I’m going to be real with you here, I stopped setting New Year’s resolutions years ago, I think sometime around when the hip “new year, new you” slogan made it rounds. I was entrenched with the need to get my body even thinner and look like I did CrossFit even though I didn’t. I mean, I’d love to have those muscles, but my body has other plans. Instead of setting resolutions, I set goals. I set goals that have nothing to do with the new year. The goals I am currently working towards were revised in October and updated when I received my last promotion for my next career goal. I have my top ten that are stretch goals and then I have my goals that fit into those. 

More

Never Say Never

In a recent post, I talked about my family. I kinda aired out some dirty laundry that might have taken many of you by surprise. I want to talk about one specific piece of that. I used to say I would never talk to my younger sister again. I didn’t want her in my life in any way. And that has been true for many years.

More

Respect Yourself

Self-love and tranquility within is what we talked about last time. A big part of self-love is respecting oneself. When you ask Google to define self-respect, you are provided with this definition: pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity.

Those first two words, pride and confidence. Those words are like loaded guns for me. They signify words that had consequences with them throughout my younger years. Don’t be prideful. You can’t be proud of yourself, that’s not how it works. Stop being so overconfident and full of yourself. Your confidence comes off as you being a bitch. Those kinds of loaded guns.

More