Yesterday was a mess. It was one of those days where your brain feels like it’s slipping out of your skull, and the only conceivable cure involves loads of caffeine. So, that’s exactly what I did. I got a Venti chai latte and headed to the dog park with my pup for the afternoon, despite the workload I had waiting for me at home.
Today is proving to be just as unpredictable and it’s only 10:30 a.m. I spent the first two hours of my day trekking back and forth between my husband’s job site (love ya babe!) when I had planned to spend that time finalizing Web copy for a client. But you know what? I didn’t let that stop me from belting out “Living on a Prayer” while cruising the 101. Me five years ago would have never been so relaxed given a sudden change in plans.
You see, I’m working on this thing called self-compassion. In other words, being warm and understanding towards myself—especially when I feel I’m failing or falling short—instead of self-criticizing. And you know what? It’s freaking hard.
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There’s no shame in admitting that we all have days where we quite literally are living on a prayer. Sometimes, they’re even weeks or months. I’ll tell you right now that my entire summer has felt like one big, brain-melting blur. The last two weeks of July alone, my husband and I drove 2,300 miles and participated in three weddings across two states. It took me nearly three weeks to recover from that “vacation.” Since then, I might have worked out about five times. I might have called a friend once. Every day has felt like an ongoing game of catch-up.
When I think about this, it makes me feel like I’m not doing enough. Like I’m not living up to my greatest potential. I think about how I should be in the gym more. How I should be calling friends and family more. I should be eating better, working faster and prospecting harder. I needed to mail something out two weeks ago. I never returned that call or rescheduled that meeting.
For so long, thoughts about my shortcomings dominated thoughts about my success. Why am I not instead thinking about the fact that my business is experiencing year-over-year growth? That I’ve recently signed on several new clients? That I’ve been working 10 hours a day to deliver massive projects with tight deadlines? Why do I shame myself for not working out as frequently as I’d like when my body is strong enough to carry me through life’s daily ups and downs? Why do I feel like I constantly need to be doing more? Perhaps you ask yourself this same question.
I don’t know why this is. What I do know is that self-criticizing is the same as self-sabotaging. It will affect your levels of productivity, efficiency and performance. It’ll affect your ability to lead, inspire and motivate. It’ll progressively drag you down.
In the end, I’ll always self-criticize; however, I can actively work on minimizing these negative thoughts. Below are three things I constantly try to remind myself of. I encourage every ladyboss to do the same:
- You’re doing so much better than you think. If you weren’t, you’d know it.
- Just because we’re capable of doing so many amazing things doesn’t mean we must do them all at once, or even at all. Extraordinary leaders are equally ready to turn things down as they are to pick them.
- Taking a break does not mean you’re apathetic or negligent. Unapologetically embrace the time you need to unwind. Everyone needs to unplug and restart themselves from time to time.
If someone were to ask if you hated yourself, you’d probably look at them funny and say, “Of course not!” It’s shocking how much our innermost thoughts can suggest otherwise. Today and always, practice self-compassion. You and everyone you know will benefit immensely as a result.
Allison is a Freelance Content Marketer and Author of “The Everyday Woman’s Guide to Entrepreneurship.” She helps disruptive brands drive extraordinary outcomes as a writer extraordinaire, and in her spare time consults female entrepreneurs as a personal brand strategist. She loves helping women discover their innermost power and confidence, which is what she believes to be the most effective drivers of sustainable change and long-term success.