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Yeah, But…(And Be Quiet Already)

I was just flipping through the pages of the magazine, just skimming for any potential recipes or, really, anything to make the garbage-bound thing worth saving, and there was this quote, tucked away in small print, beneath a picture of a woman in boxing gear, taping up her hands. So small, I’m not sure how it even caught my fleeting attention, but it did.

“Some successful people have the belief that their achievements are partially due to luck or their ability to fool others. They experience self-doubt and discount positive feedback. ‘If he really knew me, he wouldn’t think so highly of me.'” 

At just days shy of thirty-five, I don’t consider myself lacking in self confidence, at least not like I did half a lifetime ago, as a (typical) teenager. I don’t generally compare myself to others. I don’t frown in the mirror or worry about things like the thickness of my thighs or how my stomach looks when I sit down. And more over, I don’t care how great you look or how perfect your outfit or arms or legs look when you sit down either. If you look good, awesome. You should feel good. I should feel good.

Life is too short to compete with other people in our own heads.

Along the same lines, I’m not rattled by someone else doing well. If a friend accomplishes something great, has a successful story or well-read blog, leads a gorgeous worship song, has a published photograph or art show, lands a huge business boosting client – it’s all good to me. Because, I know that other people being successful doesn’t make me less successful. Having a friend who does well is inspirational to me, which is probably a good thing, because I have a lot of successful and incredibly talented friends.

In fact, I thought, until I read this quote, that I had a pretty good handle on my self-esteem.

And yet, the words jumped off the page and sucker-punched me in the gut.

Because they’re dead on.

“Some successful people have the belief that their achievements are partially due to luck or their ability to fool others. They experience self-doubt and discount positive feedback. ‘If he really knew me, he wouldn’t think so highly of me.'” 

I am always, on some level, deep down inside, convinced that my successful business is either the result of sheer dumb luck or my ability to somehow fool people into thinking I’m better than I am.

And while I have self-confidence enough to not worry about where I fall in terms of how other people perceive me, and I don’t stress about smaller things, like, how my jeans make my butt look… in the things where I am successful, I’m almost always convinced that I’m failing.

Seriously.

I have thirty weddings booked for this season. I have an inbox that is, quite literally, impossible for me to organize and stay on top of. I have very sweet, amazing, awesome to work with, clients who leave me kind reviews and make sure that I’m aware that they are happy to have worked with  me.

And yet, somewhere inside, there’s still a voice that tells me, “yeah, but…you could do better.”

I have four children who are clothed, homeschool educated, happy (I think) and not too weird. I can trust them to behave in restaurants. They volunteer to pray before meals, hold the doors open for strangers at stores or the Post Office, usually remember please and thank you. They’ve never gone face down to the ground and pitched a fit in Target. They’re doing okay. We all are.

And yet, somewhere inside, there’s s till a voice that tells me, “yeah, but…you could do better.”

It has nothing to do with how anyone on my social newsfeed is doing. It has nothing to do with how my neighbors are doing. It has nothing to do with how my best friends are doing.

It’s all me.

I compete against myself.

And it’s nonstop.

How fast was my last mile? I can go faster.

Are these words that I’m saying, that I’m writing, are they the best possible choice? Are they eloquent? Do I want my name beside them? I’ve written better.

And this photograph, is it the best it could be? Is it what I was trying to accomplish? What if I had just taken two steps back, or two steps forward?

What if I had been just thismuch better?

I could be.

I know it.

 

Enter, my Fitbit.

It’s a dreamy little contraption for a person like myself, who loves to be told exactly how she is doing in plain blinking lights on her wrist.  Melanie <two dots blinking> you are failing pretty hardcore right now. Get up. Move.

And I do.

My Flex arrived a little over a month ago. I put it on and realized quite quickly, just how little I was actually doing, compared to what I thought I had been accomplishing, exercise-wise, in a day.

On the Fourth of July, for the first time, I reached 10,000 steps in one day and was totally confused when my little bracelet started vibrating and lighting up. I thought I’d somehow broken it. But no, that was the sweet feeling of victory.

I was hooked.

Apparently, my speedy runs were no where near as effective as long, fast paced walks and hours of running around and playing like a kid at my parent’s lake house. This revelation, I appreciated. Where I used to cram in sprints and hot, fast, sweaty and annoying dashes on my treadmill, now I carve out at least an hour to spend walking at a fast clip, feeling it burn and work through my body while I have time to just think. It’s not a mad dash, followed by an immediate jump back into the insanity of life.

It’s time spent on me.

And getting the buzz (literally) from my Fitbit is worth every drop of sweat that I work up just trying to reach my goal. I can walk laps, I can carry Evie around Karate class for forty-five minutes, I can do jumping jacks while files upload or download to or from my editing program, I can go hiking or walking down winding roads all by myself. I can do whatever needs to be done to beat my goal.

It’s black and white.

It’s blinking lights and a buzz of victory.

Until, there’s still the voice that says, “yeah…but you could do better. Set your goal higher. Screw 10,000 steps, make it 12.”

 

And it has to stop.

Not the Fitbit, necessarily, but the exhausting way that I talk to myself.

Yes, it’s good to be motivated to be better and to always be giving your best. Great things come from great efforts. Competition can be healthy and helpful, even against yourself.

But, there should be a point where you’re able to sit, for even a moment, without questioning the efforts you’re giving and and the abilities you have in every single thing that you’re doing.

Because, quite frankly, it’s exhausting.

“Some successful people have the belief that their achievements are partially due to luck or their ability to fool others…”

Yes. Luck plays a part in everyone’s life and I’m no exception. If the right people and the right circumstances hadn’t fallen into place, I would not be running the business that I’m running right now.

But…and this is harder for me to type than you may appreciate…maybe, just maybe, I had something to do with it too. And maybe it’s okay to be okay with that.

No, you know what? Forget maybe.

I’m not fooling anyone.

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About the Author

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Writer, Photographer, Wife, Mother to four rambunctious and amazing children.

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