“Be stronger than your excuses” is a great mantra to help you dig deep and overcome.
…Except when it’s not.
There’s a big difference between being gracious with yourself and making excuses.
Whether it’s being a Type A, driven sort of person who forces yourself to make things happen no matter what, or you demand near perfection in your performance, there’s a massive price to pay in terms of diminishing returns.
Take it from me, a recovering Type A, driven person.
You’ll wear yourself out and suck all the joy out of what you do. There’s a line we cross where that unrealistic and unsustainable standard we set for ourselves becomes a harsh taskmaster which certainly doesn’t inspire your best contribution.
Once we cross that line something becomes wounded in our soul.
…Or perhaps it already was wounded, which is why we became driven in the first place.
Being gracious with ourselves in the right ways yields great fruit. It gives us space to experiment. It helps us shift our perspective on “failing” to accept it as a normal and necessary part of the learning process that yields valuable insights, rather than something that diminishes and labels us at the identity level.
Growing up with unrealistic expectations and standards or living through a toxic relationship as an adult (i.e. narcissistic abuse) creates an impossible scenario doomed to failure. The problem comes when we receive those “less than”, “not good enough”, “you never get things right” messages into our soul as labels of who we are and pronouncements of what we’re (not) capable of.
The drivenness comes when we are determined to outrun those labels.
The problem is we can’t run fast enough or long enough to find a resting point.
Follow this thought with me…
When we reach the end of our rope and we’re feeling burned out and frustrated it’s too easy to flip to the opposite extreme of “why bother” and “I deserve a break”.
It’s at this point that we’ve lost our mojo. We can’t drive ourselves anymore. Our confidence has taken a beating and to save face we fall into the ditch of plausible excuses.
There really is a healthy, productive, sustainable, and delightful middle ground.
Here’s what’s needed to find it:
- Just breathe for a bit. Rest. Journal. Spend time with God and ask Him for His perspective on what you’ve been through.
- Do some soul work to resolve the deep issues that have been the source of the difficulties that led you to this spot.
- Challenge yourself to rethink what a healthy lifestyle looks like and what you really want to do. Figure out the next right step to begin shifting in that direction.
- Experiment. Evaluate. Experiment some more. Readjust. Be accountable. Laugh a lot. Repeat.
It helps a lot to work with a Coach (perhaps me?) who gets these issues and can help bring out the best in you.
Your best is yet to come!