The Question That Will Set You up for Failure
This question will undermine your success and happiness . . . do you ask it?
Posted May 10, 2019
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
It'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 yardstick all day every day?
Let’s not do that.
Instead, realize the truth. You’ll have good moments where you are closer to the 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.
1. Lighten up.
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. Realize 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 subconscious 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.
2. Practice softening.
If you are like most of my clients and the women I speak with at events, then you’re 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. And at times, it’s absolutely required.
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 allows you to soften. At work, it could be taking some time outside for lunch and listening to an inspiring podcast. It could be checking in on a work colleague whom 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.
3. Who are you trying to be?
Whilst you’re busy putting all this pressure on yourself, do you actually have clarity on the woman you want to be? Are you tuned in to the qualities that you’d 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’ve done the deeper work to tune in to 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 below 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 whom 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’re dreaming about?
- What is the purposeful work you’re 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 to blossom into the woman you were born to be. And you’re giving women around you permission to do the same.