Hard Truths about Myself and How They've Been Holding Me Back From My Ideal Life
A vision of success
One of my entrepreneurial “coworkers” told me her friend used to say that we all go through seven rebirths in our life. I think I’m going through one right now. I’m in a period of personal and professional growth, trying to be introspective and be a better person and a better business owner.
While on this journey, I’ve had to admit some hard truths about myself. I have this vision in my mind of what it looks like to be a successful female. I like to be the best. I don’t like to make mistakes. I like to have my shit together (or at least appear to).
I have this fear that if I’m not the best, don’t have my shit together, or make mistakes that I will be thought of as less than. Not good enough. A failure. Be judged. I feel embarrassed when I don’t hit the high mark I’ve set for myself.
You know where this got me?
I’ve been called intimidating. I’ve been told that I have very high expectations. I’ve had a hard time forming deep friendships with females.
It’s not easy for me to write these things. To admit these things, really. Even as I write this it’s taking everything I have to not delete what I just wrote. I’m not good at being vulnerable, but I’m working on it.
Thoughts are swirling through my head like, who will hire me if they think I’m intimidating?! DELETE! DELETE!
But I’m squashing this inner dialogue right now because this is the problem I have - the need for perfection (or at least an appearance of it). Ugh. There’s that word again. That thing that paralyzes me. PERFECTION.
If it can’t be perfect, don’t do it. If it’s not perfect, don’t put it out there. If you’re not perfect, people won’t like you. Won’t hire you.
Well, in the midst of this rebirth, I’m going with SCREW PERFECT!
Perfect has kept me from getting things done, from helping and connecting with people, and from taking care of myself. Perfection has kept me from living a meaningful and fulfilling life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life (most of the time) and I am super grateful for what I have, but I feel like I would be living a life so much closer to my ideal vision if I didn’t have this crutch holding me back.
So in the midst of all of this introspection and working to become a better person and better business owner, I’ve decided to practice vulnerability and share some of my struggles and what I’m doing to work on them.
Perfection and sharing my message
I tried to blog six years ago when I first left the corporate world. My goal was to put one blog out a week. I agonized over every. single. word. I got six posts in and then had to call it quits. It was consuming me. The point of the blog was to tell people how important I thought it was to love what you do and I wanted to share my personal journey of going from being a corporate mignon to an entrepreneur. When I let that blog go, I left a lot unsaid that could have helped a lot of people. I let perfection stop me.
Turning the corner
A whopping six years later I started this blog. Knowing my struggles, I announced to the world that I’d post a new article every Wednesday. I initially had it in my mind that I should be creating content two weeks ahead of time. After feeling guilty for being behind on the perfect schedule I had set for myself, I decided to let it go. There was no real reason to be ahead of schedule other than when I go on the occasional vacation and in fact, writing these articles just-in-time on Tuesday afternoon meant that I couldn’t agonize over it and perfect it because after all, I told the world they’d be published Wednesday.
I love how Jenna Kutcher puts it, Done is better than perfect. Well. Said. My new mantra!
Perfection and my home
When I bought my house I didn’t invite anyone over for a while. I wanted my house to be perfect before presenting it to any guests. Perfection kept me from connecting with people and inviting them into my life. The massive amounts of money I spent making my home perfect meant fewer resources to be generous with and fewer resources to put towards starting a business (Embarrassing and sobering fact: I left the corporate world with pretty much $0 in savings after having made more money than I ever dreamed of for nearly 5 freaking years).
I had accumulated so much stuff that my house would easily get messy and cluttered. If the piles of stuff felt overwhelming, I just wouldn’t touch them because I didn’t want to fix it if I couldn’t dedicate the time and energy to make it perfect. Things would snowball. (PS. I heard a lot of perfectionists become hoarders because of this and it scared the bejeebers out of me. I told my husband to keep me on the watchlist, haha).
Turning the corner
Thankfully, I am far from being a hoarder. After having a prayerful realization that my house (and the things in it) had become false idols, I knew I had to change my ways. I stopped comparing what I had to others and after reading one of my now-favorite books of all time, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I decided to live more simply and only keep things that bring me joy instead of what I thought I needed or what I thought would make others think more highly of me.
I still have to check myself every now and then when I find myself slipping into my old ways, but things are MUCH better. Now on the other side, I realize how all of my stuff was mentally blocking me and keeping me from a lot of my goals. Whenever I do a purge of stuff, I get a boost of motivation and energy to put towards my business and life in general. Who knew that the material goods in your life could have such a negative effect on you in so many ways.
Perfection and my health
I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I graduated from college. When I was younger I had wicked fast metabolism. I could eat whatever I wanted. I never had to worry about weight. Once I graduated from college that all changed. I gained nearly 40 lbs in a very short period of time. Whenever I tried to change my bad habits, become healthier, and drop the weight for good, I’d fail. I’d fail because I let the perfection gene in my brain tell me that once I made a mistake, that the whole day, week, or month was a loss. I told myself that I’d just get a fresh start on Monday or on the first of the month. This happened over and over again, and so it would take a while for me to make positive change. I’ve yo-yoed 10-40 pounds for the last 10 years.
Turning the Corner
I decided to invest in my health and hire a personal trainer. After paying for a gym and not using it for years, I realized I needed some accountability and expert guidance. Now, I never miss a session because I’m paying someone a buttload of money to hold me accountable and because there’s no excuse to just start over fresh next week. I also can just show up without spending time researching workouts and have confidence in what my expert trainer is having me do.
I usually struggle with frequent injuries and pain and I would use them as a crutch and excuse to be lazy and not productive. Since I started working with my trainer about a year ago, my injuries have vanished and so has my excuse to be a bump on a log. I have noticed that there is a direct correlation between my physical activity and how focused and productive I am with work. I also handle stress a lot better.
I still struggle with healthy eating habits, but I recently invested in a course called Count Colors, not Calories with Sara McGlothlin. I also purged all my too-small clothes. I was holding onto them for when I get back to my ideal weight, but they were really just making me feel shame every time I looked in my closet and got dressed. I’m on a journey to body positivity and healthier, lifelong habits instead of yo-yo physical activity, good nutrition, and weight.
Despite not being my ideal weight, I decided to hire this amazingly talented filmmaker to create video for my strategy services and update the one for Platform 53. It’s hard for me to get in front of a camera when I’m not at my ideal weight, but I decided to not let that stop me this time. One day I even forgot to do my makeup and hair so I didn’t look the nicest, but I went on camera anyways.
Perfection and my first business
When I was opening up my first business, my coworking space, it took close to TWO FREAKING YEARS to finalize the plans and find the perfect space. I told everyone when I left the corporate world in October 2012 that we’d be open by March 2013. Platform 53 didn’t open until September 2014... Perfection burned through my resources, kept me struggling working from home, and delayed me helping and connecting with others (there were no coworking spaces in the Cincinnati region at the time).
Turning the Corner
The timeline for this second business was MUCH better. I had been working with entrepreneurial clients here and there for a while, but in November I decided I wanted to make it a legitimate business focus. Two weeks later I announced a beta for a Solopreneur Program at Platform 53 that combined coworking with my expertise. One month later in January the beta program began with a dozen people. I spend the next few months experimenting and getting feedback. In May I ended the beta after deciding that my services would be a separate business. In June I launched my new business with a brand, productized services, resources, and this website and blog.
My latest endeavor happened even more quickly. On our anniversary, September 29, my husband and I did some visioning and goal-setting. We decided, on the spot, to start The Marriage Ambassadors. That night we purchased a domain and in two days I had a website completed and started telling people about it. Since I’m focusing on my strategy business, we decided to slow-build this new endeavor with a monthly blog and some community groups, but it was encouraging that I was able to put something unperfected out into the world so quickly for once.
Perfection and celebration
Perfectionism kept my focus on what I haven’t done. Hadn’t accomplished. What wasn’t perfect. It kept me from celebrating the wins I did have, little and big - which are key to staying motivated as an entrepreneur.
Turning the Corner
Under the guidance of my fave online “mentor” Pia Silva and the accountability of the course I’m taking with her, I regularly write down my accomplishments - big and small, business and personal. Then, each week I reflect on the week’s wins with my accountability partner.
My accountability partner and I have realized how this isn’t just difficult for us to do, it’s something most women entrepreneurs don’t do. We need community to recognize and celebrate what we’re doing in order to feel inspired and be reminded of the importance of our work. We want to support and empower others and have decided to partner on some events to do just that. Through the process of developing these events, we too are forced to make time for celebration and inspiration. Win-win!
If you’re like me and are ready to make some positive changes in your business and life, download my free reflection questions to help you uncover your biggest opportunity areas:
Share your story
If you’re like me and you struggle to be vulnerable and share things about yourself and your life that you’re ashamed of, leave me a comment or message me directly. I’d love to hear your story. Let’s be on this self-growth journey together!
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I’m Stacy, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you craft your dream business out of your skills & passions. Why? Because I think you should love your life and that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t love your work.
You are meant to do important and amazing things in this world and I’m here to help you do just that.
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