5 Ways to Cultivate a Mindset of Good Enough (And Why You Should)
If I’d beam back in time to have a coaching session with my former self, let’s say from ten years ago,...
If I’d beam back in time to have a coaching session with my former self, let’s say from ten years ago, and I’d ask her what she wanted most out of coaching with me (I know this intro sounds super strange, but there’s a point to this madness I promise) I’m positive she’d say something like “finish the stuff I start” or “stop procrastinating all the time”. If I’d then ask her what she thought about herself she’d probably mention how she often didn’t feel confident, that life and work were overwhelming, she didn’t fit in, and simply wasn’t good enough.
(See, I told you :))
A lot has changed since then. The overwhelm and awkwardness I felt growing up and building my first business have thankfully made room for a more fulfilling state of sort-of balance and flow.
For the past ten years I’ve been my own (sometimes uber shitty) coaching client. I’ve used myself as a guinea pig to try and understand what this life and work thing is all about. I’ve tested uncountable ways to be a better, more productive and successful human. To learn, grow, and figure out what actually works.
The short conclusion – drumroll included:
Everything you thought you knew about happiness is wrong.
It’s not about being the best, having the most money, buying the Chanel bag, being *super* busy all the time. It’s not about having the seven figure business (although I’m all about money love, but that’s another story). If you hadn’t caught on yet, what I mean is, happiness has nothing to do with being PERFECT.
In fact, is has everything to do with NOT being perfect.
Happiness appears when we stop the “shoulds” and “musts”, and see ourselves for what we are – and always have been: good enough just the way we are (if a romantic scene from Bridget Jones is popping into your mind right now you’re definitely my kind of human).
Jumping back to my younger self for a minute. Ten years ago I was an utter and absolute perfectionist. Nothing I did was ever good enough. The result? I didn’t do much at all. I was also a helpless people-pleaser who lacked the confidence to make herself a sandwich before asking for permission. What I knew best was how to follow rules, to adapt to whatever I thought was expected of me. By the time I was 30 there was little room left for freedom, play, curiosity or creativity. Life and work felt like burdens. All I had were “have tos”.
The state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion I was in was the result of excessive and prolonged stress. To be clear: that I’D PUT ON MYSELF. Yes, work was hectic. Yes, building a business is hard BUT I was never the helpless little chicken I made myself out to be. I didn’t know it at the time but the truth is, I had the power all along (clicks shoes together three times).
That power is called CONFIDENCE. And it’s the result of (many things including) cultivating a mindset of good enough. That mindset will help you:
- Focus on what’s really important for you
- Find and do work that feeds you instead of drains you
- Actually create the freaking thing instead of just thinking about it
- Get off your time machine and discover where the fun’s really at (spoiler alert: it’s called now)
- Start living your own dreams instead of trying to build everyone else’s
But Murielle, I hear you ask, how does one cultivate such a seemingly magical mindset?
The truth? It’s super easy AND palm sweat complicated at the same time.
You change the way you think.
Simple enough, right? There’s just one little tiny thing though… All the years you’ve been gobbling up and repeating so many other thoughts about yourself and the world. They left a mark on you. They’re the reason you think the way you do. So to get to the good stuff you’ll need to get passed those first.
It’s a process that takes dedication, time, and discipline. This pink-loving guinea pig knows because she’s been there. So here are 5 ways that work(ed) for me and hopefully will get this life-changing process of *finally feeling good enough like the star that you are* going for you too.
#1 Stop comparing your awesome self to others
Comparisitis is the disease of our time. The rise of social media – a process that’s been going on for about 15 years now – marked the beginning of an exponential cycle of out-of-control expectations and judgments about ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve always glanced at the neighbors to see what they were up to, but it was never in our face the way it’s now. We could still escape it, because we were in control of the information stream. Today things are different. Everywhere we look we see what looks like awesome people doing what looks like amazing stuff. Online nobody has a bad hair day or doubts about their life. And that’s a shitty problem. Having those perfect humans pop into our feeds so many times a day (about every 18 minutes studies find) is making us sick, unhappy about our lives, forced to hide the *real* struggles we all have to deal with.
My recipe to stop comparing your awesome self to others includes:
- Limit your time on social media (15 minutes a day will do – yes I mean one five)
- Unfollow accounts that make you feel blah
- Avoid being sucked into the research hole that inevitably leads to “she’s awesome and I suck”
- Remember that all humans are unique. A valid comparison would need both of you to be equal in EVERYTHING except the one thing you’re comparing. Identical twins wouldn’t even meet those criteria, so how could you? Ever?
#2 Accept that perfection is bullshit
As long as you think there’s an absolute state of perfection to be attained, you’ll never be happy with what you have or who you are. The truth about perfection is that it doesn’t exist. Plato (and a heap of other philosophers) believed life on Earth was a poor imitation of the *real* world. Surely, he thought, if we can imagine something to be perfect it must BE perfect somewhere. Since it clearly wasn’t in the physical world (clears throat to hide discomfort) he concluded it must be in the world of ideas.
Yes, there’s something to say for Plato’s ideas. There are many flowers in the world, but none of them compare to the idea of THE flower we have in our mind. We’ve never seen this perfect flower with our own eyes, we’ve only IMAGINED it. The point is, we’re great at conceptualizing. According to Yuval Noah Harari one of the indispensable qualities we needed in order to rule the world. But there’s a difference between ideas and reality, just like there’s a difference between being perfect and being human.
#3 Be a fearless scaredy cat
I know you’re scared. I’m scared too. Every single freakin’ day. But that doesn’t stop me from taking action (anymore). Fearless is what I call feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Because mmm… the fear never goes away. So we might as well learn to live with it, right? My advice is to be a fearless scaredy cat. To do your thing, even if you feel like you’ve got a giant sign on your back saying “I have no clue, please rescue me”.
#4 Don’t believe everything you think
Seven years ago I enrolled in a 10-week mindfulness training program. Before that I’d never meditated, never considered the power of my breath or body, and certainly never thought about the things I told myself every single day. In session one of the training our teacher, in response to a question about that subject, *casually* mentioned that we – humans – are not our thoughts.
Say what?! I’d never considered that the voice in my head could be different from who I was. This was such a revelation that it took me weeks to grasp the full power of what she’d said. Especially with the negative tune that was playing in my head at the time, realising I had CONTROL over what I was thinking gave me back my power. The thing is, you have that power too. You’re not your thoughts either, so don’t believe everything you think just because you well.. think it.
#5 Focus on smarter, not flawless
Know that you can grow, learn and improve. A mistake isn’t a problem until you get stuck in making it over and over again. Instead is trying to be flawless, learn how to learn from your mistakes, to integrate what happened so you can do a better job next time. That’s the only thing anyone could ask of you, and the only thing you should ask of yourself.
Flawless, we’ve seen above, doesn’t exist. So it would be mighty silly to put any effort into trying to achieve it. Focus on what you CAN change, on the stuff you do have control over. Meaning: just be smarter next time. Because you’ve got this!
Featured photo by Stacey Rozells (Unsplash)
Hi, I’m Murielle. I created the online course Soulful Productivity™, a 6-week program to redefine productivity and help you get from overwhelm to flow, and I have a private coaching practice where I help ambitious, multi-passionate creatives and entrepreneurs start, grow & scale businesses, and create their freedom lifestyle. PS: I love Instagram. Let’s connect!