When It Never Feels Like Enough

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message:

As I stand in the middle of Sur La Table, my favorite kitchen store, I pass over the cookware and utensils that beckon me (I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets.) and head straight for the cookbook I came to get. It’s my stepson’s birthday. Jeremy is a talented chef and I know that the new Alton Brown cookbook will be exactly what he wants.

But then, right there in the middle of the store, I start to panic. Will it be enough?

Will it be enough to show Jeremy how much we love him? Step-relationships can be tricky, and I want to make sure that Jeremy knows he is a priority for me. Will this cookbook, along with the party and the other gift, be enough for him? I start to doubt myself and the book I hold in my hand. So, I start marching around the store, throwing utensils and towels into my basket so that I can make sure the gift looks like enough.

This has been a common theme throughout my life—feeling like not enough. And when I’m feeling like I’m not enough, I hustle by doing more, buying more and trying to be more than I am to make up for my lack of “enough.”

But hustle is the world’s answer to fear: work harder, do more, buy more and you will feel okay.

God’s answer to fear is dramatically different: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV) God wants us to reject what the world thinks—that hustle is what will get us peace—and instead renew our minds. God knows that the world’s pattern will never lead to peace, only the radical, counter-cultural act of replacing our worldly thoughts with His thoughts.

So, when the ugly, broken thoughts of being not enough start to invade my thinking (and my shopping cart) I need to break those patterns of thinking and replace them with these truths:

· The goal of giving gifts is celebrating the person, not building the relationship.

· It is presence, not presents, that builds relationships.

· I will never become more by buying more.

· God has promised He will provide everything I need. I don’t have to hustle when I’m in God’s perfect plan.

God says we are already enough, not because of who we are but because of who He is.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Progress Not Perfection?

Did you know….Perfectionism is mostly a women’s issue?  I can’t say I am surprised.  Think about it.  How often have you hesitated to move forward worried about everything being just right?

We want our ducks all lined up in a row…

Let’s be honest, they seldom line up in just the right way or the way we think they should be.  As a result we obsess over how we are doing at work, at home, in our relationships, with our weight, our hair, our kids. The end result is all of our JOY is gone.  There is no time to relax because we are busy putting those ducks in a row. Which means there’s always more work to do to make things just right.

Do you wear perfectionism like a badge of honor?  If you aren’t the one saying it, then I’m sure you know someone who has said it.  When you (or someone you know) want to embrace the “I’m a perfectionist.” badge, consider this:

Perfectionism is self-sabotage. It’s fear.

For many of us, perfectionism means we are motivated by hard-working, high quality and conscientiousness BUT the truth is our real motivator is FEAR!

Do you also consider yourself a procrastinator?  Do you claim to work better under pressure or you hesitate when trying to move forward? BINGO! Perfectionism is the reason why we procrastinate.  WHY?  We are trying to get all of those ducks in a row.  We keep moving forward fearing whatever we’ve done, will never be good enough.

So what is the worse thing that could happen?  Rejection. Disapproval. The disappointment of ‘failure.’  None of us like the thought of those words right?

What if you were to change the word “perfection” to “excellence”?  There is really a HUGE difference between the two words.  Excellence sets a high standard, but not so high it keeps you from moving forward. Perfectionism sets an improbable and often unobtainable standard which usually slows progress or brings it to a stop.  Excellence is a value, a way of life. Perfectionism is a judgement from a critical spirit which rarely, if ever, is satisfied.

How do you know whether you are in a  perfectionism or excellence mode?  It is an energy which you feel.  The energy of perfectionism is criticism, doubt, and discontentment. The energy of excellence is hope, possibility and growth. Excellence is about the journey to your destination – what you discover, how you grow, and who takes the journey with you.

Have you played the comparison game?  I have been there, done it and gotten (multiple) t-shirts.  So, if you’re comparing yourself to others, you’re operating in perfectionism. If you’re focused on being the best version of YOU, you’re operating in excellence.

You need to flip the switch when you feel the anxiety of perfectionism creeping in.  Flip from perfectionism to excellence with these questions:

  • What have I done well I can acknowledge and celebrate even if I feel like I’m “not ready yet” or “not done yet”?
  • What good thing could happen if I decided what I’ve done already is enough and move on to the next step?
  • What is my definition of “good enough”?
  • What would happen if instead of fearing my efforts are not good enough, I had the courage to believe I am good enough right now, today?
  • How could I have more fun while doing this?
  • How do I want to grow as a result of this task?

I challenge you this weekend to pick excellence over perfection so you can make progress.

I have found the weekends are tougher for me then during the week to flip the switch.  Crazy, right?  During the week, we have a routine (work, kids, etc) but on the weekend there is less structure.  Less structure usually means I am playing the woulda, shoulda, coulda game.  What about you?

Take a few minutes today so you can identify at least one way perfectionism has you stuck.  Flip the switch!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Want to Get to the Next Level?

Do you know how to get to the next level?  No, I am not talking about an online or video game.  I mean if you are striving to reach another level in your business or in life…. Can you guess what it is?

If you said “tell yourself the truth“, you are right!  The funny thing is, most people don’t take the first step.  Why?  Because it is hard.  But the truth is the only thing which will empower you to breakthrough to your highest potential.  Whether the truth is about a bad habit, or the truth about a relationship, or the truth about your circumstances, acknowledging it is freeing.

The next step after facing the truth takes Courage.

I want you to think about the last time you said the phrase

I hate to admit, but _________________________.

We have all said it at some point.  Perhaps you are okay in your career or business, but there is a nagging feeling it is time for a change.  Been there, done that!  Maybe a relationship looks great from the outside, but you know something isn’t quite right.  Or maybe someone has pointed out a problem with your child, and you are defensive because you did your best to teach them,  but if you’re honest, you’ve noticed the same problem.

The reality is this little a phrase allows you to notice the smallest grain of truth just might be surrounded by many positives. It is time to embrace the truth.  It is a chance to address what needs to be addressed.  It is the chance to be open enough to ask for help, find a creative solution, and let go of perfectionism in favor of true happiness.  Remember it is progress NOT perfection we are aiming for.

In order for us to move to the next level, we have to be willing to face the challenges before us instead of ignoring them.  We need to step out of our comfort zone so we can stretch and grow. In the process, we will develop courage and wisdom which will take you to a new a new level.

So what is the grain of truth holding you back in an area where you want to thrive and grow?

For me, it is the lack of confidence combined with the brain fog which keeps me from stepping out of my comfort zone.  For me, the sentence would be:

I hate to admit it, but I still play the comparison game.

UGH!  An ugly truth but I am so ready to take the step to change it.  So, how did you complete the sentence?  Once, you have stated the truth, have the courage to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What next step could you take to address this challenge?
  2. How can you be the bravest version of yourself today in your creative work and life?

For me, it is to stop doing what everyone else is doing and do what works for me.

Maybe for you, it’s showing up to your laptop, sitting down, doing work, and sticking with it even when it feels scary and tough.

Maybe for you, it’s saying no to distracting things which keep you from building the impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable life you’re yearning for.

Maybe for you, it’s finally getting started on a new project, podcast, book, or product but you’ve been too afraid to pursue.  For me it is putting myself out there with videos.

Maybe for you, it’s replying to an email, returning a phone call, or saying yes to a coffee date which may lead to an exciting new opportunity.

Maybe for you, it’s reaching out to a friend, coach, or mentor, asking them for help, giving yourself permission to not walk this journey alone anymore.

Fear!  It isn’t going to disappear overnight. Fear will always be part of the journey.  The challenge (one of the biggest for me) isn’t to become fearless.  The challenge is to live taking action towards our goals even when fear is along for the ride.  It is stomping on those inner gremlins letting them know who is boss.

I challenge you to join me, in asking yourself every morning how you can be the bravest version of yourself today?   And when the “day” seems to overwhelming and fear, and self-doubt, creep in ask yourself – how can you be the bravest version of yourself in this moment? What small courageous step can you take in the direction of the work and life you are longing for?

Share your “statement” with us.  I would love to celebrate and encourage you along the way!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Who Will You Be Today?

Today we are going to stomp on those inner gremlins, getting us ready to sparkle for the weekend….

I don’t know about you but I struggle being confident. I know I write about and when people meet me they sometimes find it hard to believe but trust me, it is true.  I struggle with trying to be the woman God wants me to be.  I know I am not alone because I hear it from others all of the time.  Maybe you know someone who is feeling the same way?

Think about school shopping with your kids.  Were these some of the questions they pondered?

  • Jordache jeans, schrunchies and white L.A. Gear?
  • Lacoste, cardigans and penny loafers?
  • Black eyeliner, mega earrings and a mini-skirt?

Alright the brand or style may be a little different but you get it, right?  Many girls worry about looking like everyone else.  I was grateful my daughter, was just a tad different.  Unlike me, she wanted things the others weren’t buying for school.  She had her own style and didn’t worry about if she fit in because of her clothes.

These are the girls who stomp on their inner gremlins in their youth and move on to confident women.  Then there are those who hold on to those fears and people pleasing attitudes so when they grow up, they are struggling to stomp on the gremlins as adults.

I wasn’t sure of the girl I was or the girl I wanted to be. I stood on shaky ground relying on the fickle and flippant opinions of others. I bobbed and weaved to fit each situation I found myself in. I often found myself acting all sorts of ways, so I could be the person I thought my friends and family wanted.

As an adult, I fit other roles – single mom, career woman, wife, business owner.  In each one, I did the same bob and weave.  When I retired, the bob and weave stopped and I was stuck.  Stuck trying to find me and who I would be.  With the help of some amazing women, I found me and on most days STOMP the inner gremlins.

They helped me to see I don’t have to spin like the Tilt-O-Whirl at the amusement park; trying to be everything to everybody. Their encouragement, support and guidance has led me to a stronger walk in my faith and as a result not a copy of someone else.  I still skip the line in the comparison ride and jump on but each day I become more and more confident growing into the women I was meant to be.

Did you know, a girl’s self-esteem peaks at age 9 and only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful?  Age 9 … before this crazy, comparison ride calls for them to get on.

As children grow from child to adult, God (or your Higher Power) can help them to build a solid foundation on Him, instead of on the ever changing opinions of others. They don’t have to feel like they’re constantly pushed in a million different directions. He can make them brave and give them the courage to be their true selves and build a confidence which stands firm for the days to come.

I found a book for girls between the ages of 8 – 12 years old.  It is something I wish I had found many years ago or at least when I was in my early years of HS.  The book is called “Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You”, by Lynn Cowell.  It is written especially for girls between the ages 8 – 12.  Lynn helps to prepare girls to:

  • Overcome confidence-defeating thoughts.
  • Shape their self-worth and overcome temptation based on environmental factors.
  • Build a strong foundation to face the fickle and flippant opinions of others.
  • Find approval of herself even when she lacks the acceptance of others.

I am grateful to be part of a company who developed Gives for this purpose:

We believe confident girls and women can lead more purposeful, thriving lives and are the key to strong families and communities. Gives is a partnership between our consultants, customers, hostesses and employees working together to support nonprofits aligned to our mission.

Every time you round-up your order, you help fulfill the mission of Thirty One Gives.  Your change helps to make a difference.  How will you help to make a difference in the lives of tween girls so they become confident, strong women?  Or maybe you are the woman who needs help stomping on the inner gremlins, reach out and know you are not alone….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

When You Don’t Like the Story God is Writing

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message…

If it were up to me, I would have written some stories differently. My second child would not have died, and I would have a little girl who would be 21 years old this year. Carol’s son would not be in prison. Linda’s 20-year-old daughter would not be a quadriplegic. Barbara’s daughter would not be bipolar. Patty’s 21-year-old daughter would not have died in a car accident. Jennifer’s husband would not have died of a brain tumor. If I had been writing the story.

But I’m so glad I’m not the author of those stories. Each and every one of these friends has ministries that impact thousands upon thousands of women all over the world. God has turned their pain into purpose, the misery into ministry, and their devastation into anointed messages of hope and restoration. Sudden glories fill and spill from each of these women’s lives. Their love journeys of living and moving and having their being in Christ have led them through dark valleys and back out into the light on the other side. They practically glow with radiant wonder.

Difficult times are pregnant with glory moments just waiting to be birthed in the lives of those willing to labor through the pain. The key is to not allow bitterness and anger to make our hearts infertile to God’s gifts. One way to avoid the darkening of the soul is by constant communication seasoned with thanksgiving—a continual acknowledgement of His presence.

Glory moments in difficult times are not dependent on our circumstances, but on our focus. Focus on the difficulty and God is difficult to see. Focus on God and glory seeps through the broken places. Difficulties become the bass notes of our life’s song, adding a depth and beauty not found in a life that hovers around middle C.

After my husband and I got out of college, we moved to Charlotte so that my husband could go into practice with another doctor. But after we moved here, the doctor changed his mind.

“Sorry, Steve. Good luck,” the doctor said.

I was so upset. OK, I was angry. Flat out angry. Angry with the doctor and angry with God. We had no money. No job. And school debt.

Three months later a situation opened up that was far better than our original plan. It was Ephesians 3:20 in lab-coat white: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”

Well, why didn’t God do that in the first place? Why didn’t He lead us to that second opportunity when we did all that praying and seeking? He could have. But He is far more interested in developing our character than doling out a life of comfort and ease. C.S. Lewis notes: “If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable. Think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

We are ever the students. He is the teacher still. Trials rip away the flimsy fabric of self-sufficiency and become the raw material for God’s miracles in our lives. And those miracles are a sudden glory.

Someone once said, “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” Oh that we would trust Him even if the twists and turns never make sense this side of heaven. That’s what trusting God is all about. As we live and move and have our being in Him, the dark places are simply opportunities to trust that He knows the way—and the perfect time to hold on tight.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!