Women Are Already Good Enough #4: On Success + Final Thoughts

Monday, January 25, 2016

On Tuesday November 3, 2015, I had the privilege of attending, You're Already Good Enough, a free conference put on by the Utah Women and Leadership Project. They've had a few of these over the past year, and this is the second one I've attended. This one was all about how Utah and the United States have an unhealthy fascination with perfection that leads to unhappiness, eating disorders, and a myriad of other issues. The conference was a panel of 5 women, Drs. Susan Madsen, Julie de Azevedo-Hanks, Kris Doty, Julie Clark, and Ruth Gerritsen-McKane, discussing a variety of women's issues regarding perfectionism in our culture. 

A link to the full panel discussion video is at the bottom of this post. Grab some snacks, and your sisters, moms and girlfriends and get together to watch it. It's over an hour long, but it's worth the watch. I left that night feeling empowered, and appreciative of all the women in my life. I'm discussing my favorite topics from the conference in a series of posts. You can find posts 1, 2 and 3 here, here and here.

SUCCESS + FEAR OF FAILURE

It's quite common for us to be afraid of failing. It's human nature to want to succeed. We look around and everyone seems to be making their dreams a reality, while we're here licking our wounds over a bowl of ice cream and all of the seasons of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. So, what do we need to remember here? What are we missing out on? Why aren't we making our dreams come true? 

The panel stated it simply in this basic message: Fear is the root of our negative feelings -- fear of failure, fear of inadequacy -- however, it's a lie. You are not, actually, a failure if you don't make it. You are, actually, a success because you tried. We couldn't possibly succeed without failure to teach us what to do differently. Most of the people who have success under their belts, have a string of failures behind them.

A list of famous people who failed before making a huge success out of themselves.


I bet if we laid all our cards out on the table in front of each other, we would each find successes in the others' stacks, where they hadn't noticed them. So many times we seem to think we've failed, when in all actuality someone is wishing they had what we had. Comparison is truly the thief of joy. 

A way to combat this case of "the failures" is to look at our lives and create a definition for our own personal success. How will we be when we're successful? Not something like, "I'll be successful when I have a startup that is successful exactly like Jane's." Because, that is using Jane to define your own success. Really think about it. What does success look like to you?

For me? Often, what I think of when I've "finally made it" is that I'm peaceful, happy, and surrounded by a beautiful garden, with a comfortable home and a comfortable income. 

My definition of success is pretty vague. I've never dreamed of running my own tech startup or becoming the next hot iPhone app designer. I just want to feel great. I guess whatever gets me there, is fine by me. It also means, if I really look at my life right now, I've got 3 of the 4. So, I'm not doing too shabby at all. You could say, then, that I'm successful right now. 

To be successful we have to forgive our failures. They are just taking us down the road to success!

BE A SUCCESSFUL LEADER
They had this to say on successful leadership:
Be real. Be who you are. Be authentic and you will lead. Confident leadership doesn't mean you have no worries. It means you are authentic in who you are and the things you've been through to be you.

Yeah, it really needs no explanation.

ASPIRATIONAL SHAME - THE PLAGUE OF WOMEN

One aspect of making dreams a reality that tends to plague women is that of "aspirational shame". This looks something like this -- "I'm not supposed to want to be successful because I should want to be home with my family" or "Staying home with my family means I'm not contributing". Both are major thinking errors. Women tend to feel like they're supposed to do it all. Be the well-rested, fashionable, successful, career woman while never giving up time with their children, and always being ready to please their man in a spotless house while a four-course dinner cooks in the oven. Sounds exhausting and fairly impossible most of the time, doesn't it? 

Here's what my life looks like and I don't even have kids: I commute an hour to work, and ninety minutes home (the construction is ridiculous!). By the time I get home, I'm starving, and have dreamed up all the great meals I want to make, but I'm so hungry that I can't wait. I usually whip up one of our three fastest meals. Tacos, sandwiches, or scrambled eggs. 

Sometimes, the commute is quick if I'm lucky, and we end up eating salmon and rice, or stir fry, or some delicious concoction I came up with. Then my husband goes back to trying to build his dream, and I write blogs, exercise, or just veg because driving in that traffic takes a lot out of me. 

Life is hectic at times. We can't do life by ourselves, we need help from each other. Help each other, lift each other, and remember, we're all just trying to do what is best for ourselves. 

A quote about Failure by W. Brett Wilson

BRIEF SYNOPSES OF COMMON ISSUES ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

Eating Disorders: High achievers who don't know yet how to deal with emotion.

Self Compassion / Self Kindness: How do you treat yourself when you're suffering?

Addictions: cause a loss of sense of self, a loss of value, because of all the crazy and bad situations an addiction puts you in.

Anxiety: living in the future.

Depression: living in the past.

Mindfulness: living in the present and being ok with the present.

FINAL ADVICE

To end the panel, they each took turns giving advice, and while I didn't take notes on who said what, I did write down each little gem of wisdom gold. 
  1. Leadership is about seeing you and seeing others. Drawing out who they are. Be comfortable with the idea of saying no.
  2. Eat, and sleep. Those are vital to success. Fight negative thoughts. Do not let them rule your day. You have to be willing to be wrong about your beliefs. They're not all true. Positive quotes and gratitude journals switch the gears in your mind. Affirmations of your accomplishments. You have a right to be happy and have a life and you're responsible to make those happen. Remove anything in life that isn't working for good. Fix it and do it differently.
  3. Do what you can do in the best way you know how and it is good enough.
  4. Self care. Self care. Self care.
  5. You have got to laugh. Otherwise it's just too serious out there.

FINAL QUESTIONS

Now that we've been through the panel discussions in their entirety, I'll leave you with the two questions they left us with. 

+ What have I struggled with most from this and what helped me?
+ What can we do to lift and help other women?

+++ Feel free to share any thoughts below! 

FULL PANEL DISCUSSION VIDEO: http://www.uen.org/news/article.php?id=670

A quote on success by Winston Churchill
[Photo Credits: 1 / 2 / 3 ]



You Might Also Like

4 comments

  1. What an inspiring post. Failure is just a stepping stone to success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I recommend watching the full video if you get some time, it's chock full of wisdom that just knocked me over when I heard it. So GOOD.

      Delete
  2. Such a great post! This is a great reminder to not be so afraid of failure that you never take risks or go after your dreams. Love this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by. I recommend watching the full video of the seminar if you have time! There was SO MUCH good stuff in there.

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by The Joy Blog! I hope you like what you have seen so far. Feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments. I respond to almost every single comment.