At its core, Dr. Sims offered a casual-but-huge takeaway about mitigating uncertainties at decision points: choose you. Yes, assess the benefits and the risks, the costs and consequences, but honor yourself. Those two simple words have stuck with me for seven months, at the front of my mind and on the tip of my tongue.
Of course I choose me, don't I? Sure. Yes. Mostly. Often. The more I thought about choosing myself, the more my certainty about actually doing it faltered:
A second list, choosing-for-me, bubbled up radiant moments when I let go of what I thought or imagined were exterior expectations and said yes to my instincts, my needs and my wants:
I spend gads of time with clients unpacking why they can't or shouldn't do things.
"They expect something else from me."
"What if I disappoint them."
"I don't want to seem selfish."
All valid, selfless reasons to avoid social discomfort. And when we talk about the cost of those decisions, I always, always think about a life on the high seas and ask, "what happens if you choose you?"
Give that a think.
Then give it a try.
Then let me know what that does for you.
We bought our house right before the winter holidays in 2019, and my partner, James, has been spending his quaran-times setting up his basement woodworking shop.
Earlier this week, I was making dinner when he came upstairs, paused the podcast that was accompanying my preparations, and presented me with this. James was excited. It took me a moment to grok what I was looking at. When I understood, I got a little misty.
In my silence, James proudly placed this beautiful, thoughtful piece on the counter. He ran his hands over it, explaining that he was setting up the CNC machine and, using some Uproar swag as a guide, he made me a shingle.
And then, James hedged.
From one breath to the next, he explained that it wasn't perfect and he was still getting things calibrated. It's a remnant piece of wood so there are drill holes and rough edges and a pencil line and some older test-runs on the back, and, and, and...
... And I was trying to pivot my thoughts from taco toppings to this incredible gift of support that was displayed before me. I told James I loved it (I do). I told him I was very moved (I still am). I told him it's perfect (It is). We somehow resumed our previous tasks, the shingle relocating to a place of honor on the dining room table where it still rests.
Why do we do this? Why rapidly point out perceived imperfections? Why downplay our accomplishments? Why is it so scary to be brave?
I protect myself from discomfort before discomfort can actually be a thing. I don't take compliments well because somewhere along the way I decided that being demure about success is either more ladylike or more agreeable (right now I can't remember which, though both are pretty gross). I want to do it right, and somehow right equates to perfection, and if it's maybe not perfect... well, I better be the one to say it first.
The problem with perfection is that it's an external construct that is entirely unrealistic. Quite frankly, it's also boring. The focus becomes the outcome instead of the journey. We neglect the opportunities to grow and explore that can pop up along the way.
I'm striving relish the imperfections: the rough edges, the hard experiences and the unexpected lessons. I'm exercising my bravery muscles to gain strength in saying thank you and you're welcome, instead of deflecting or shrinking back.
I'm gonna manifest my business shingle: coming from a place of love, positive intent and trying to get it right. I will be perfect in my imperfections, and I'm sure as shit not gonna pre-emptively apologize for it anymore.