The Question That Will Set You Up for Failure...Every Time
It's time to debunk an unhealthy question
Posted Feb 21, 2017
Last week I wrote about the truth of becoming more confident. And the reality is that it’s the small things you do every day, the baby steps, that get you there, not the giant leaps that we have in our minds.
Today I want to clear up another myth for you, by debunking a question I hear all of the time. It’s a question that sets you up for failure, and can only lead to you feeling badly about yourself. The question is this:
How can I be my best possible self in every moment?
You see the problem right away don’t you. Well, there are a few of them. Best possible self. Every moment. Yep, that’s got failure written all over it.
In a world where you are potentially (probably) already too hard on yourself, why on earth would you want to set up this scenario, where you are judging yourself by an impossible yard stick all day every day?
Let’s not do that.
Instead, realise the truth. You will have good moments where you are closer to a great version of who you want to be. And you will have many moments where you are far from it. Just like confidence and purpose, we don’t leap there in one great bound. We aren’t Superwoman. But we can inch ourselves closer with daily actions that can set us up for success (however you define it).
Here are some ways to start.
How much pressure do you put on yourself to be the best version of yourself? Be honest. I bet it can get pretty intense in that head of yours. And I would wage money that it’s the cause of a lot of your stress and anxiety, and those feelings of ‘less than’ and ‘not good enough’ that you carry around with you everywhere.
I’d love you to give yourself a break. Cut yourself some slack. Go just a bit easier on yourself. Realise that you are doing the very best you can. That you have a lot going on. And that reading all those magazine articles, looking at social media all day, or reality TV where people look like they have their lives all together and wrapped up in a pretty bow is feeding your sub-conscious with pictures of the impossible. It feeds your insecurities. It sends you into judgement and comparison. And it keeps you stuck.
So lighten up a little. Take a break from the full time job of self improvement and personal development. Stop taking it all so seriously. Because when you have done that, you will have created space for the little things that can really help you inch toward the person you want to be. The real version.
If you are like most of my clients and women I speak to, then you are busy all day every day with getting stuff done. Emails, meetings, presentations, kids, husband or partner stuff and hopefully, personal care like going to the gym or yoga etc etc. Your day is pretty full (ok, let’s be real – it’s packed to the rafters). To get through all of that, you probably shift firmly into your masculine energy so you can drive and strive your way through it all. I get it. I am prone to doing it too.
But as women, when we are anchored solely in our masculine energy, we are not the best version of ourselves. We can’t be. Because as women, we need to balance that drive with the softening, receptivity and nurturing of the feminine. Our creative side. Our receiving nature. And if you are having a strong negative reaction to that as I know some of my clients do, then it’s a place you need to look at even more closely. Sorry, but it’s true.
Start to play with what brings you into your softening. At work, it could be taking some time outside for lunch and listening to a nice podcast. It could be checking in on a work colleague who you know is having a hard time. It could be asking for help on a project where you just don’t know what to do next. At home, light a candle after work. Make a nice dinner for yourself (and if there are others around, make it a group affair). Take a bubble bath. Meditate for five minutes or longer. Use aromatherapy oils (rose and sandalwood for the grounded feminine is divine). Think about how much time you are in your masculine versus your feminine energy, and whether that brings out the qualities you most want to nurture. Then gently adjust as needed.
Who are you trying to be?
Whilst you are perhaps putting all this pressure on yourself, do you actually have clarity on the woman you are wanting to be? Are you tuned in to the qualities that you would like to nurture in yourself? Are you clear on the life you are trying to create? And how about your career vision, how’s that going?
Too often I see women trying to be ‘the best version of themselves’ before they have done the deeper work to tune into their desires about what that even looks like. You don’t have to figure these things out all at once. I can work with clients for a long time before they get there. But if you gently show up to do this work, you will inch yourself in the right direction.
Take a look at these questions when you have some time and space to soften, and do some pen and paper journaling:
In the moments when you feel most like yourself, what are you doing?
When you get those glimpses of the truth of who you are, what do you see?
Who are the people in your life that bring out the best in you? Who do you feel most yourself with? You may tune in to this by looking for those who you feel calm and at ease with, or who bring out the qualities you most admire in yourself (they could be feminine, or creative, or grounded, or nurturing).
What is the life vision that you are dreaming about?
What is the purposeful work you are longing for?
Take a step back. Take a beat and a long deep breath. Give yourself a break. Then work on the small ways to step into the woman you are wanting to be. Do it with grace and ease. And know that as you cut yourself some slack and show up with more self compassion, you are creating the space for the women around you to do the same.