In a recent Facebook post, I asked Power Chicks if they felt connected or disconnected to other women in business, and this response caught my attention.
Sometimes, I feel left out. I see my circle of friends reaching new heights, accomplishing big things and connecting on deeper levels. I yearn for that, too. I try to hold space for their success while also making room for my own longings, but it’s frustrating and even lonely. Have you ever felt this and if so, what have you learned?
Here is my response to her.
Wow, do I relate to your feelings! I’ve had moments (days, weeks!) of being envious of friends and colleagues whose success seems to surge ahead while mine own is lackluster in comparison.
You talk about yearning, and sometimes I experience this as if straining at a gate, ready to gallop ahead – and often, I do just that! Other times, though, yearning takes the form of feeling harnessed in, strapped and blocked by commitments and responsibilities elsewhere (family, energy level, whatever). That’s when I end up frustrated and resentful and saying (if only silently) to my kid, “No, honey, I can’t make dinner. I’m doing my important work!”
So, what have I learned? Here goes.
1. Try your best to own your feelings. Pushing down unwanted emotions of any ilk is like shoving a ball under water – they will explode up when you least expect them. Better to feel the feelings (envy being among the squirmiest) before they turn all sabotage-y and land you (and your business) in shit city.
What would I do without a few trusted friend who give me a safe place to whine, wail and wallow a high-drama pity party now and then? I say, embrace the angst and be done with it.
2. When you say, “Oh, look at how successful she is!” remember that others look at you say the same thing. So, what does it mean in the end? Zilch. We live in a culture of measuring, and especially as many of us connect online, it is really easy to fall into craptastic habits of comparison. (Tweet)
A mentor posted a while back that she had slipped into a mindset of trying to play “catch up” with others. A few months before this, Danielle LaPorte had praised her work in a blog post, and her business was freaking exploding because of it.
Yet she still (or maybe because of, since the stakes had gotten higher) felt ”behind.” She ended the post with the realization that it was impossible for her to be ”behind” because she was creating something unique to her own gifts, skills and talents. No one else could do her work – period – so comparisons were moot.
3. That perspective will help you return to your center again and again. The more focused you are on your journey, your path, your priorities and your own big-picture life, the more you can serve others, earn a good income and create a happy life for yourself and your loved ones. Your business always needs to work within the scope of your whole life. Otherwise, what’s the point?
4. Focus on small. Really small. Especially do this if, when you decide to be EPIC, you get hurled into virulent forms of self-sabotage. Better to be focused and effective than epic and, ultimately, out of commission. (Tweet)
Speaking of small, find inspiration in the way Mother Theresa had such an enormous healing influence on our world by focusing on one person at a time. Had she looked into the sea of poverty, would she have been as effective in her work? No way.
So, when you feel discouraged, thinking your influence (and income) is too small, remember the importance of being present to what is is in front of you at that moment – working with a client, scheduling your appointments, even reading these words.
Present to this moment, as best as you are able. Period.
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