Stop Beating Yourself Up Because You Are Not Where You Thought You Should Be
I was talking to a friend the other day who was really beating herself up because she wasn’t where she thought she should be in her business. This was a little puzzling because she was making solid progress, she had survived COVID, and had begun to get significantly better results from all her marketing activities. Another person might have been ecstatic. Yet she was genuinely disappointed. She was not where she imagined she would be when she first envisioned her journey into self-employment over a year ago.
I asked her if, when she first projected her start-up trajectory, she was able to accurately forecast all the unplanned challenges, distractions, lessons, and circumstances she had faced in her personal and professional life over the past year. Her answer was a quick. “No way!”
So, I simply asked why then was she so intent on beating herself up by comparing her actual results against an imaginary forecast based on insufficient information? She paused a few seconds and laughed. “You’re right. “My forecast was totally made up.”
We do this all the time. It is the nature of the human mind to dislike uncertainty. So, we often imagine possible developments and our responses. Some of us come up with elaborate imaginary schedules and milestones. And when we give these imaginings a lot of attention and belief, they take on the qualities of reality.
However, because reality is usually far different than our fantasies, whenever there is a gap between what is happening, and what we expected to happen, we can really suffer – needlessly.
In important undertakings it is useful and prudent to have a dream or vision of what you want to do. Then put a time frame on those dreams, so they become a goal. We then need to break the goal into smaller, actionable steps with any necessary accountability and support to end up with a plan where stuff gets done. However, whenever results differ from expectations, don’t panic. Don’t waste a ton of energy berating yourself or railing against fate.
Rather, take a little time to reassess: Where am I now? What am I doing this for? (i.e. What is the big payoff or motivation that is going to make all this effort worthwhile?) Am I getting the results I want? What am I learning? What do I need to do differently? Where are the greatest opportunities from where I am now? Etc.
Step back. Assess. Recharge. Re-connect to your inspiration. Re-engage with the process. Move forward with intelligence and compassion. Trust yourself. Trust life. The suffering is always optional.