The Underlying Pressure of Perfection
“Bri, you’re really struggling. Why are you hiding what you’re experiencing? Where is this pressure and expectation to be perfect coming from?” - One of my many coaches + healers
I have a confession. I am having a year. And I haven’t allowed myself to be completely open and honest about it because I have a fear that if people really knew my situation, they wouldn’t regard me as an expert and no one would hire me.
I feel like I don’t get to be vulnerable - because if I do, I’ll be a hypocrite. How will people look to me to help them build a life/business if I’m experiencing a momentary struggle in building mine?
I’m holding myself to an immense pressure of having to know it all, having to be it all, and having to have all my shit together - all the time.
Here’s my full truth…. this year has kicked my ass in a major way.
My focus has been pulled in too many directions. I haven’t been able to hold space for new clients to come in AND write a manuscript at the same time. I haven’t been able to fully pour myself into outreach, conversations and invitations AND fully turn inward to launch this book. I’ve been pulled between endings AND beginnings. I’ve been torn between future expansion AND be-here-now presence.
And it’s gotten incredibly messy.
I’m literally living moment to moment, day to day, week to week.
I feel as if I’m scrambling to keep up with my life. I feel responsibilities piling up. I am terrified of getting behind on bills (especially with the unexpected vet visit and nail in my tire last week!). I can’t yet feel the momentum of the book and the doubt is starting to creep in. I am barely maintaining my routines, health and mental sanity.
It’s like I’m a clown spinning a plate over here, juggling bowling pins over there, playing the drums with my foot, clanging a cymbal with my knees, and honking a horn with my chin. Except on the outside, no one can see any of the things going on behind the scenes because I have to keep it all under wraps. Because if I possibly admitted that I’m struggling - then I’d really be screwed.
Or maybe not.
Instead of continuing to hide it and feel shame, I am sharing it here with you for two reasons:
1. I am owning this as being my reality in the present moment. What I am building is massive, and as I talk about in Permission to Leap…. You can’t bake a cake without breaking a few eggs. My life is full of broken eggs, but I’m still alive. This is not what I’d prefer my life look like right now, but it is what it looks like - so I’m rolling with it.
This year has been an invitation to go even deeper with my faith, amplify my spiritual practices and lean on my support systems for help. I have no idea what next week will look like. I can’t see what is in store for me or the book. I don’t know how I’m paying my rent through the rest of the year.
And…. I’ve always been taken care of. My persistence, dedication and tenacity has always carried me through. So why would I think that this time it’s any different?
2. I am opening up a space for each of us to own our messiness on a deeper level. The expectations we hold of ourselves are breaking us, dividing us and generally making us miserable. Enough is enough is enough.
As I let go of my expectations and release my shame, I invite you to do the same. Your life circumstances in this moment do not define you AND they do not mean anything about you.
I spoke with two of my colleagues and friends this past week, both of which revealed to me that they had recently traveled to foreign countries without knowing how they would be getting back to the United States. One had seemingly insurmountable debt, and one was launching a course the day she flew out (only to land and learn that she had zero enrollments on the first day of the launch).
What I loved about speaking with each of them was how they each recognized where they were and refused to feel ashamed of it. They didn’t allow their situation to define them as lazy, or broken, or incapable, or bad business owners, or anything else. It was simply a situation that they found themselves in, and an indicator to make different decisions in order to get different results.
As I support others through their process of expansion and transformation, I also have to do the same for myself. I’ve taken time in the last few weeks to assess what decisions I’ve been making, how I have been hiding in my life and business, what unaligned beliefs are still residing within me, and doing the healing work to move forward.
It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun, but this is what it looks like to be committed to the path of growth. Growth does not always happen on an upward trajectory. There are almost always detours, slow downs, and periods of readjustment. And as I hold space for others to walk down this path, I also have to remember that I’m right there too walking alongside you.
Love + Leaps,
Note: This is not an invitation or a request for anyone to try to fix me. I’m not asking for a white-knightess to save me or for pity. I’m not asking for solutions - my solutions are already here, I just can’t see them yet.
One of the most powerful things we as women can do for one another is to stop trying to fix each other. Instead, bear witness to the totality of each of our individual experiences, as well as relishing in the transparency that each of us is struggling, unsure and in periods of transition. Because when you can honor what another is going through, you can honor what YOU are going through. When you can bring compassion to the struggles of another, you can bring more compassion to your own struggles.