There are days you are firing on all cylinders; when all the stars align and you are riding your own wave of momentum towards a shore of accolades. There are days where you care barely stand your own sunshine, and you feel absolutely invincible. Days when you feel…dare I say it? Successful.
This isn’t about those days.
This is about the days you wake up and you’re so exhausted you put brown sugar in your Keurig cup instead of coffee, you can’t find your keys (which are in your hand, by the way), you’re running late despite waking up early and you go through the day not accomplishing what you want, go home not accomplish what you feel you should and you decidedly feel like LESS than a success. In your mind you’re having that moment of, “where did I go wrong?” and you begin to feel the crushing weight of your lack. Let’s talk about THOSE days, because they come more often than the other days of sunshine and rainbows.
There are going to be days that you feel underwhelmed with yourself. In these days, there is a question that is imperative to ask yourself.
“What is my definition of success?”
If you are juggling a career and a family, this definition taken on some new responsibilities. Add anything else to the plate and you increase the number of competencies you judge yourself on. The law of diminishing returns states that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant, will at some point yield lower incremental per-unit returns. Applied to life, adding more stuff to your life can result in less perceived success for each item.
So does that mean we need to stop doing more stuff? Maybe. But more than that, we need to take a look at what we’re doing and make a conscious effort to determine if what we view as success is realistic. For example, I want to be a Pinterest mom, excel in my role at work, be at every PTO meeting, reign as a successful entrepreneur and have a stellar marriage. That, my friends, is an impossibility unless I have decided sleep is no longer necessary for survival. Individually, those things may be possible, but to add everything together I have to factor in the law of diminishing returns. So what does one do?
- Redefine success – In judging ourselves, we may use expectations and goals set at a very different time in our lives. It’s like expecting to fit in the jeans you wore in 8th Things change, there are different variable and being cognizant of those changes should spur us to take a look at what we decide success to be.
- Stop comparing – Comparison is the thief of joy. We are not created equal in that we have different skill sets, abilities, knowledge, experience, time and desire. This is truly comparing apples to oranges and highly destructive. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is YOURSELF.
- Realize work life balance is a LIE – Oh. My. Word. Once we get our heads wrapped around this, we begin to take control of our lives. Work life balance is thrown around like confetti and it simply does not exist because balance implies 50/50. Well, if I work 8 hours a day, that implies I spend 8 hours with my family to balance. And 8 hours to sleep. We all know this doesn’t happen. Instead of work life balance, decide on work life management. Be ok with time not being a factor and focus on the small accomplishments within the time frames you’re given. That could mean having a meal as a family, or even taking a bike ride with your kids. Work wise, maybe that means you don’t take on that extra project, or decide on a smaller deliverable.
In a world full of highlight reels, it’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of perfection from everyone else. Step away, redefine what you want your life to be and realize that from the outside looking in, someone wants to be as perfect as you.