“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau
Two nights ago Jeff and I watched a food documentary on Netflix called “Fed Up.” It was a wonderfully informative documentary about how childhood obesity is at an all-time high in America and how changing our mindset about the foods we put into our bodies can help stop this epidemic. I laid in bed shortly after this with a heavy heart. I couldn’t quite place where this heaviness was coming from but I knew that it started with disappointment in the way I’ve been treating my body and ended with feeling like an all-around failure in life. Talk about zero to 100 in a matter of minutes, my poor husband :).
I sat up in bed crying to my husband. I listed one thing after another to him; the fresh and relevant content I’m expected to produce on social media everyday, the perfect body I can’t seem to achieve, the amazing photographer I’m supposed to be, the successful business I’m assumed to run, the meals I’m expected to brainstorm, shop for, cook, and then clean up everyday, the perfect house we need to have, the Jesus-loving example I want to be, the expectation of starting a family because I’m in my late 20’s….you know, just everything that would make me, my business, our marriage, and life seemingly perfect. That perfection thing that doesn’t actually exist.
When I read that comprehensive list of all the things I feel like I should be excelling at, it feels exhausting. It feels exhausting because it isn’t realistic. We aren’t human robots that boot up every morning with a fresh battery and jetpack on our backs (though if you come across a human jetpack, hook a sister up ;)). The honest truth is that we’re real-life humans and the world puts unrealistic expectations on us. You see, as creatives we wear what feels like 1,000 hats everyday, and sometimes (most of the time) we aren’t awesome at all of them. It’s easy to feel less-than watching leaders in my industry kill it, colleagues booking 3x the amount of work that I am, people tripling their Instagram followings in 6 months…it gets lonely in a world where it feels like everyone is succeeding but you. I get it and I know I’m not alone. After my mountain-sized meltdown my husband said this incredibly perfect thing to me, “That’s your problem, you’re letting other people define what success means to you. You can’t let other photographers, our friends, or anyone else define your success. Only you can define your success. Are you happy doing what you’re doing? Then you’re successful. You’ve never had any formal business training and look where you are today, be proud of yourself not hard on yourself.” Mic-drop. My husband rules.
It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, and it doesn’t matter what the world defines as success. Are you going confidently in the direction of your dreams? Are you making daily strides to achieve those dreams, goals, and passions? Do you sometimes fail but try again the next day? Are you happy doing what you’re doing? Then you are a success. Someone will always “do it better,” or have more of what you want; you have to make the conscious choice and decide where you’re going to draw the line. I’m positive you’ve heard these sentiments before, but every now and again we need a reminder that life isn’t supposed to be perfect. Your girl-boss empire isn’t failing just because you don’t have the perfect Instagram-worthy Moroccan rug in your bedroom or 30 weddings on your calendar. You are good enough right where you are!
Sometimes all it takes is a Netflix food documentary to spark a shift in your mindset about business, life and the mess in between!