What is Failing Imperfectly?

I brought my dream of sharing life with you to life on June 12, 2018 after many other iterations that I grew out of. Over the past two years, I have been inconsistent and more recently, consistent at sharing my thoughts and learnings with you. I’ve hit heavy topics and I’ve danced around topics. I’ve played it safe and I’ve let it all hang out there. Over these past two years, I haven’t sat down to work out a clear vision of where I want Failing Imperfectly to go. I’ve dawdled around with what felt right, never having a clear goal in mind. Until now…

MOre

Be A Warrior

Be a fucking warrior. You do you girl. Who the fuck cares if you have a little extra to love? Love yourself no matter what you look like. Love you for who you are, not what the world sees. Don’t take no for an answer. Failures are only speed bumps. Go after what you want. Live your life for you. Stop taking their shit. They don’t live your life, you do. Be you. Climb that mountain. Change that job. Stay where you are. You get to decide.

This is your one life, live it your way. Keep those you love close. Keep those you like close. Leave the assholes behind. Stand up for yourself. Stop letting them walk all over you. You get to choose who is in your life. You are beautiful. You aren’t perfect. You don’t need to be perfect. Enjoy being imperfect.

Pursue your dreams. Change your dreams. Sleep in. Wake up early. Take a load off and catch up on that show. Get your ass in gear and get some shit done. Do it all, do nothing. Eat healthy. Enjoy the cake. If it makes you happy and alive, do it. If you are stressed about it, rethink it.

This is your one life. It. Is. Your. Life. Your’s alone. Do it your way.

Who Are You Listening To?

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I saw this in a post the other day and felt strongly about how well it represented my life. There is so much meaning in this simple graphic.

I am a critical thinker. I think critically about pretty much everything. And then I overthink it. And overthink it some more. It is a vicious cycle for me that I repeat over and over again for just about any topic, situation, or relationship.

I’ve always seen the quotes about “listen to your heart” but have never been able to do it. My heart didn’t analyze well enough. My heart didn’t ruminate over every possible scenario and every possible outcome. My heart is all about the feels and that just isn’t what a strong person listens to. There was no way in hell I was going to listen to my heart when my brain is what has kept me safe all these years.

Except, it really hasn’t. That safe feeling I have been thinking that I feel, that isn’t truly safety. That’s control. Control does not equal safety.

My brain would have me believe that any situation where I don’t already know everything needed, is a situation that I need to leave. Take for instance my new job. I work with a startup and my position, my actions directly correlate to the amount of revenue that we bring in each quarter. I mean, in much larger companies, it’s been the same way, but now this is a small company and if revenue isn’t met, then it directly relates to what I have or have not accomplished.

I do not like the financial side of being a project manager. I never have and never will. I have somehow been really good at having limited responsibility for project financials and I’ve been absolutely okay with that. Until now. Now I am directly responsible for meeting revenue goals.

When I realized this during my third or fourth week in, I had a panic attack. How the fuck am I going to make this happen? I don’t want to manage budgets. I don’t know how to make revenue numbers. Why me? Isn’t there somebody else? What if I don’t meet the goal the first quarter that I’m here? Will I be fired? I really like this company and don’t want to look for another job. Panic, panic, panic. I held it in well in front of my boss.

Just as fast as the realization came, so did the realization that I am not alone in this. I am not the only person who is responsible for this number. Yes, it might seem that way, but it isn’t. My boss, the SVP of Operations, and other management and/or executives are right there with me. We are all working together. I might feel like it is all riding on my shoulders and that can be crippling, but it isn’t true.

You see, my brain focused on one critical detail. It didn’t want to see all the other details in the situation. My brain was stuck in a panic state and didn’t want to listen to my heart. My heart knew and still knows that I am not alone in this. In fact, my heart has all the touchy feelies. My boss believes in me more than I think I’ve ever known a previous boss has. He frequently compliments my work and it has only been a few weeks. I ask for constructive feedback and he gives it, but not in a manner to tell me that I suck.

If I were to only listen to my brain, I might be finding another job. I would be stuck believing that I wasn’t good enough and that I will crash and burn. If I were to listen to my brain, I would take the pile of emails that I haven’t been able to read yet or even address and believe that I’m already a failure. If I were to listen to my brain, I would think that I have failed and should be fired.

But instead, I need to and desire to listen to my heart. I have learned in my heart of hearts and somewhere in my subconscious, that none of this means that I’m a failure. It means that I’m in a challenging position that I can grow in. I am not being held back and I am not going to be fired. I have been given an opportunity to shine and grow. My heart knows it and my heart has a lot of work to keep my brain in check.

I traditionally have listened to my brain and have horribly silenced my heart. I’ve only recently started allowing my heart to have a bigger voice. I’m not perfect at it, but I don’t want to be. I want to continue growing, continue being challenged, and show myself that I can do hard things.

Today, today I am listening to my heart. Each day I am checking in with my heart every time my brain makes a decision or assumption. My heart’s voice is getting bigger and stronger. We are growing together.

Doubt Kills More Than Failure

All my life I have been afraid of failing. It has never been one thing specifically, rather, failing at anything and everything. The thing that I didn’t know and that you’ve probably heard over and over again, is that everyone who is successful has failed. They have failed repeatedly. Success doesn’t mean we don’t fail. Success means that we get back up after every failure and keep going.

The thing that leads to my fear of failure is doubt. I have doubted I would be good enough for pretty much all of my life. I doubted everything about myself. It’s a wonder I have continued to progress in my career with all of the doubts that I have had about my ability to be successful.

Doubt is defined as a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.

Doubt is what kills dreams.

Doubt has held me back from so many things. Until today, doubt held me back from branching out to YouTube. I doubted I would be able to edit a video. I doubted that I would be able to listen to myself and put myself out there in a video for all to see. Words are one thing. Video, now that’s a forbidden land.

But I am doing it. I have successfully edited my first video for YouTube. I will be posting it later this week and will continue to share my growth with you through video.

When we give in to doubt, we don’t even get close to achieving failure because we never start. We let that doubt steamroll us right into avoiding the thing that we might fail at. Doubt creeps upon us, fear takes over and we never take even a baby step.

How can we counteract doubt? By leaning into it. Ask yourself, ‘If I do ____, what is the worst that can happen? What is the best?’ List out all of the possibilities for both. Review the worst, then review the best. Do the best things that can happen outweigh the worst? Is the worst thing death? No? Alright, why the hell aren’t you moving towards that goal?

You think you might fail? You are doubting your ability to achieve even the smallest best thing that can happen? How are you ever going to know if you are going to fail if you don’t try?

Here is what I’m learning and leaning into: failure is good. No, actually, failure is fucking great. Failure is great because that means that I’m actually moving towards my goals and I’m doing. I am putting in the effort needed to get one step closer to my goal. If I fail, that means that I need to course correct and go down a different road. It doesn’t mean I need to stop everything I am doing.

Doubt tells us that if we aren’t successful right out of the gate then we are a failure. No. That is incorrect. How many people do you really think have succeeded at the very first attempt on their goal? Pilots can’t fly a giant commercial jet the first time they get in the cockpit. They have to go through hours and hours and hours of training in a simulator. Developers don’t sit down, write a bit of code and have a beautiful website or app the first time they attempt to run the code. They have to learn, tweak, and tweak some more to get it right. And then there still might be bugs.

This is my third or fourth attempt at a blog. I lost track because I gave in to doubt and wiped all of my posts away, multiple times. This isn’t my first attempt at growing mentally and emotionally. I fail over and over and over again.

I have a goal to stop giving in to my doubts. I need to lean into each one of them and explore why they are creeping in. Once I get over each doubt, I can move onto action and making shit happen. Doubt kills. Failure provides lessons.

Talking to myself…

Have you ever considered how often you talk to yourself? I do it ALL the time. Seriously! There are times that I am thinking about something and I’m in a public bathroom and find myself audibly thinking about it. Yup, random people just caught me talking to myself. Embarrassing right? For me, not as much as you would think. I mean, I probably won’t ever see these people again. I have to admit though, I haven’t always been able to shrug that embarrassment off.

But that isn’t the kind of talking to myself that I want to talk about here. I want to talk about all the negative shit I have ingrained in my mind to tell myself. I am probably one of the biggest offenders of telling myself how stupid I am. Yup, I do that ALL the time. But why? Why did I get started talking so horribly to myself when I wouldn’t even imagine telling someone else they are stupid?

We all have things we tell ourselves that aren’t exactly the nicest and we need to stop. Ha! But that is easier said than done. Am I right? Of course I am! I’ve been struggling with this for as long as I can remember. I’m sure if you are still reading this, you are as well.

So many of us blame our self-talk on the circumstances of our upbringing. Again, I’m an offender here. I was not raised in an encouraging household. In fact, there was more fighting and bullying than there was love. But my parents never looked from the outside in to see what life was like, they just kept living and talking the way they always had – negatively. I learned that life was shitty, our circumstances were the fault of everyone else, that my extended family hated us, that only the spoiled rich people made it in life, that all I was expected to do in life was graduate high school before getting pregnant, and that my good grades were nothing to be excited about or rewarded for.

Now, I’m not saying I blame my negative self-talk on my parents. I’m saying that is where I learned it. No matter where I learned it, I have continued to do it. Not only have I continued to do it, I very often take whatever I say to the extreme. Why? I don’t know, it just happens. I’m very critical of myself (that is a completely different topic for a later time). I mean VERY. In fact, some of my most recent negative self-talk would include things like:

  1. I’m so fucking stupid, I can’t even cook bacon without dropping it
  2. My family can’t even trust me to get decorations that they get the caterer to do it
  3. God, I’m so ugly, my hair is out of control
  4. Family doesn’t want to be around me unless I am presentable and done up

Do any of these sound familiar?

Those all came through this mind in the past couple of weeks. Look at you, reading this and thinking “damn, that girl is harsh!” If you stop and think for a minute, you may not say these same exact things, but you might tell yourself something similar, right?

We seem to constantly criticize ourselves using some of the worst self-talk. It is really difficult for some of us to be understanding of ourselves and not criticize ourselves every turn we make. But how do we get get that point? How do we get from happy kids to being over-critical of ourselves?

For most of us it is learned. I think I learned negative self-talk before I learned how to be supportive of myself. Learning how to switch from negative self-talk to positive self-talk isn’t easy.

When we talk negativity with or to ourselves, we impact our quality of life. Have you sat and thought about how difficult your life feels? Have you ever connected how you feel about life to how you talk to yourself? Probably not. I hadn’t. A lot of us think that our life is so difficult because of our circumstances – how we were raised, the education we received, the way our family is, etc. Changing from blaming my parents to taking ownership for the way I speak to myself has been a long time coming and is consistently a work in progress.

We are a product of the way we think and the way we talk to ourselves. I know, I know, the way we were raised has a big impact in and on our current life, but we can change how it impacts us. The way we describe our feelings and circumstances affects how we deal with our life each day. Think about this simple situation, the weekend versus Monday. Most of our world hates Monday. It is ingrained in our society. But what if you didn’t hate Monday? How would your life improve?

The feeling we put into our thoughts and self-talk determines our every move. When we are more critical of ourselves, we bash on every single misstep we have. But if we are forgiving of ourselves, dropping bacon while cooking isn’t that big of a deal. Do you see what I’m saying?

Self-talk isn’t something we can fix overnight. I PROMISE. I did some heavy personal development for a couple years and I was rocking and happier than I’d ever been. Then life hit and my drive to read/listen/watch personal growth outlets dwindled as my stress level went into overload. That was definitely the most critical time for me to continue, but I didn’t. I let the irrational thinking back in my daily life. I let negative self-talk rule me. It didn’t help that I was going through infertility treatments that kept not working. Those hormones and treatments are seriously life changing, even without success.

I took that opportunity to tell myself how much of a failure I am since I couldn’t even get pregnant and there was no medical reason preventing it. Enter the harshest self-talk I think I’ve ever had. Completely irrational. I didn’t realize the residue I was leaving in my subconscious every time I called myself a failure. That residue can be subtle, but it adds up and becomes completely dis-empowering.

All that negative self-talk adds up. Even the simple thoughts of not having enough time. I am a repeat offender on this one. I put so much pressure on myself and am ALWAYS telling myself I don’t have enough time. Even writing that sentence spurred anxiety of not having enough time. Negative self-talk is everywhere and applies to absolutely EVERYTHING we tell ourselves. Seriously, everything.

As Gary John Bishop says in Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, “We create our own reality with our minds.”

I have created the reality in my life that I’m worthless, a horrible person, lacking for time, not good enough, and more. It doesn’t matter that I heard a lot of that growing up. I was ALWAYS in trouble for not being of service to absolutely everyone. I was taught to put myself aside to make sure everyone else had what they needed. I was taught that since I was born in a poor immediate family (yes, in my world, that needs clarified), I would never be good enough to be successful. Success was tied to be raised with everything you needed and being handed everything in life. Oh how my parents were wrong.

I have a long way to go to overcome the lies I keep telling myself and that I reiterate from my childhood, but if I try a little every day, I know I can change the way I walk to myself. I can change the way my life is (not that it’s bad, but there are days I feel like it is). Notice, there is a lot of I going on there.

I don’t need to find the answer to all of these things I tell myself. There is no answer out in the universe. The answer lies within me. I am the answer. I am the change my life needs. I need to retrain my brain. But I have to be willing.

But being willing doesn’t give me action. Saying “I will change” does nothing. I have to actually do it. I’m not talking about reciting affirmations every morning that are pre-baked. That works for some people. But for some, it does not. I’m talking about shrugging off dropping a piece of bacon or not giving a shit what my family thinks about if I put makeup on or not to go to the aquarium. I have to own who I am, flaws and all, and not speak negatively to myself for every little thing. Is it going to be easy? No. Am I going to change over the next couple hours or overnight, no. Am I going to regress sometimes? Oh absolutely.

We have to make a decision and follow through changing our self-talk. How am I going to do it? One step at a time. One day at a time. One minute at a time.

Are you with me? If so, let’s have a conversation. In the comments below, tell me what are your biggest negative self compliments. How are they shaping your every day life?