Dear world-changing superhero,
To kick off 2013, I am sharing a bare-all trust blast. And it’s important.
It’s important because what I’m sharing today is one of THE things that held me back in entrepreneurship and life. It f*ed me up, tore me down, and made me feel like shit.
I’m tired of this little nagging bullshit crapola controlling and limiting my happiness and success. And I don’t want it to halt yours either. (Swearing rant over.)
Why You Should Even Care
Have you ever looked at someone and wondered why your life wasn’t more like theirs? Have you ever secretly wished a coach or teacher would be your saving grace?
I have. And it was very, very messy move…. every time.
Before I can tell you exactly how I fell flat on my face (more than once), I have to tell you how I got to the stumbling block in the first place.
Where the Illusions Began
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an achiever. Honors in high school. Captain of the swim team. Ivy League college degree. Vice President of my sorority. A great job right out of college. Four patents in nanotechnology. Corporate management at age 26. And countless other gold stars that don’t add up to anything that really, truly matters.
I know that the gold-star-chasing is partially wired in who I am. But the other part of the desire for gold stars is to get “there.” Because, as the story goes, once we get “there,” we’ll be happy.
You know the rest of the story: there never makes you happy. Yet we often keep trying anyway.
My Big Mistake
The way I tried to get there was by looking at people I thought had it all together. Blissful happiness, a successful career, the perfect family, the great body, the adventurous spirit, or whatever traits I was longing for in my life.
Then, with every ounce of my being, I’d try to follow their lead. After all, they’re happy/ successful/ beautiful/ whatever, so if I did what they did, I would be all of those things, too.
You and I both know that’s baloney. But I did it anyway.
How I Got Caught in My Own Trap
I noticed this disaster-in-the-making pattern grabbed me tightly when I jumped into entrepreneurship.
My first self-created mess began when I hired one of my first coaches. (She was also one of the best coaches I’ve ever hired.) I thought she had the perfect life and a fabulous business, so if I could just get it together and be like her, I’d have the successful business and amazing life she had.
Nearly a year after I first hired her, I finally realized she was… human. Full of flaws, bad days, and other normal, messy human traits. My world came crashing down. Hard.
Not long after that disaster, I hired another coach. She, too, seemed to have it all together. Beautiful, happy, successful, and everything else I wanted. And six months in, I learned the same lesson again. She, too, was human, full of flaws and less-than-perfect moments. Dammit.
How could I have fallen for the illusion again? I should have known better.
But I didn’t. That’s why it took two hard falls for me to see the truth:
No one has it all together, even if it looks like they do. Tweet that!
Each time the illusion shattered in front of me, I struggled to regain my footing. I had to reevaluate what I wanted and ask the deep questions about who I was and what I want to create in the world.
I could have leap-frogged an entire year if I had asked those questions in the first place, instead of looking outward for what I wanted.
How to Make Sure This Illusion Doesn’t Hold You Back
I see how these false assumptions messed things up for me, and I want to make sure they don’t mess things up for you.
Here’s how to avoid making the same mistakes I did.
1. Check your assumptions about others.
The internet makes it easy to believe false ideas about other people. It’s easy to assume everyone has their shit together, is making a ton of money, has mind-blowing sex every night, eats the perfect diet daily, and gets along beautifully with everyone they know.
It’s not my previous coaches’ fault that I fell for the illusion that they had it all together. I take full responsibility for believing their public persona was the whole story. We don’t air all of our dirty laundry in public, so of course we don’t see the full story of anyone’s life.
No one has their shit fully together, even if it looks like it on Facebook. Everyone has their personal life and their public one; remember that what you’re seeing is the public one, and that’s not the whole story.
[And please, if you ever, ever, ever think that everything is perfect in my world, email me your assumptions, and I’ll tell you the truth. Because the truth is that my life and business are very, very, very far from perfect.]
2. Notice what you’re chasing.
Where, when, and how you fall victim to the trap of illusions? Are you chasing success, money, happiness, a perfect body, status, recognition, or something else? When you know what you’re chasing, you can catch yourself in the act.
I was chasing the perfect business and a perfect life. I found two women who I thought had everything I wanted and I tried to follow their path. That ended up being a terrible, horrible, down right messy idea.
As cliche as it sounds, we are each on our own path, and trying to copy someone else’s life or business is never going to work. At some point, your copy of what they created will fall the f* apart.
3. Admit the truth: Life is messy!
Life is messy, you make mistakes, and those seemingly perfect people you want to emulate are anything but perfect.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go after your big, hairy, wild-ass goals in 2013. You absolutely should. Just skip trying to get them all done perfectly by tomorrow. And skip copying someone else’s life or business.
Instead, go for what you want, trust yourself to know what’s best, and look to others merely for inspiration. Shoot to be the be the best version of yourself that you can. We like you better that way, anyway.
Tell me – Have you fallen for the illusion that others have it all together? Have you sought perfection in life or a savior in your coach? Or have you made similar mistakes in life and business?
I can’t wait to read your raw truths in the comments below. The more we share our experiences with others, the faster we can move through them and onto the truth of who we really are. And that is a beautiful thing.
Happy Near Year, superhero!!