A demo friend emailed me to request some info on an event I had done that she was considering doing. It took me a shamefully long time to respond,like normal, and when I did, it was with my token email opener: "Hi So-and-so! I'm sooooo sorry it took me so long to reply! Things have been NUTS around here!"
Can you relate to that? Honestly, I should just put that opener in an automatically-generated email header; it would save me so much time.
We continued a short exchange and I promised to add her question to my list of future article topics for this motivational blog. I warned her truthfully that the list is very long. But as I typed that, I had a little light bulb moment. My list is long because I ridiculously attempt perfection with each and every thing I post here. I hold myself to an impossible standard of performance, and in the end it paralyzes me into non-performance. My desire to do the very best I can to help demonstrators grow their business backfires and I wind up not helping anyone at all, because the post never goes from "Draft" to "Posted."
Things ARE nuts. I spoke the truth in my opener. Things are always nuts. They will never not be nuts, and truthfully, who would have it any other way? Life is exciting and short and challenging and crazy and it goes by so quickly if you blink you'll miss it. And it's messy--so very, very messy, sometimes, as I learned last year and am still learning. And sometimes it's temporarily really not very fun at all.
Life is many things, most of them wonderful. But what life is not, is perfect. Because our lives are made up of imperfect relationships, and we live our lives out in imperfect bodies with brains that blank out and bodies that sometimes run only on coffee fumes. Imperfect people double-book themselves now and again and once in a while really screw up and triple-book. Imperfect people order pizza, utilize the drive-thru, and occasionally let the kids watch TV while they eat (gasp!). Imperfect people forget the ink pads at workshops and make miscalculations on order forms and give advice only to find out they had it all backwards and have hopelessly confused a new team member.
We're human. End of story. And sometimes done is better than perfect.
Shakespeare famously wrote this line of advice: "To thine ownself be true." Recently, I've seen that phrase tweaked and painted on a plaque: "To thine ownself be kind." When I believe the myth of my own superwoman-ness, I cannot understand that statement. "Why should I be kind to myself? Don't I know I am a slacker? I'll never get anything done if I let myself off the hook!"
Now, there are definitely cases of "healthy" guilt, where our negative feelings about something help us become better people by putting down the cupcake and going for a walk, or reading a second book to our kids at bedtime, or getting our butts out of bed and into the pew on overcast Sunday mornings. But so often we women, and especially we home-business owners, take upon our shoulders a huge feeling of guilt for things that are truly not even possible to accomplish.
As modern women, more is expected of us as individuals than any generation previously. The advent of all the tools and conveniences that were supposed to free us up for all kinds of leisure have actually just raised expectations of what we are physically, emotionally, and mentally able to accomplish in the same 24 hours we have always had. And Pinterest makes it worse for many of us. Pinterest can be a great tool, and it can also be the enemy of self-kindness. You don't expect your best friend to sew her own clothes AND bake her own bread AND run her own business AND volunteer five nights a week--why would you expect that of yourself?
So here's the deal. You promise not to ridiculously expect perfection of me, and I promise not to arbitrarily demand it from you either. A healthy dose of kindness all around. That's what LIFE calls for. Lovely, busy, fun, messy LIFE.
Sometimes at the end of the day, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, "No, what I have gotten done today is not what I wanted to get done. But it is enough for one day."
And then get yourself to bed and don't feel guilty. You are amazing. You were amazing today even if you didn't think you were.
You will have another chance to be amazing tomorrow.
So sleep now.
And... dream BIG.