Maria Brophy

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Motivation / Personal / Philosophy

Stop Striving For Awesome and Give Yourself a Break

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Everyone thinks everybody else is doing so great.   But those that appear to be slaying dragons are feeling inadequate, too.

Do you ever wonder why you aren’t achieving what your friends are?

Why you haven’t been able to finish writing that book, or taken the vacation you dreamed of or grown your business fast enough?

Everyone feels this way, even those we admire and adore.

I have a friend who just started a fitness business.  As she talked about the many marketing steps she needed to do to grow her business, tears started streaming down her face, because she was overwhelmed with all the work ahead of her.  She’s a mother to small children and has very limited time, but she’s passionate about her business.

The pressure to get it all done, right now, is so great!  

We see what our peers are achieving, and we wonder “What’s wrong with me that I can’t get everything done?

At the bottom of this post, I give you ideas on how to lighten the pressure, so keep reading!  But first, I have to ask this:

WHY AREN’T YOU AWESOME?!

If you read as many blogs as I do, you’re seeing this message all too often:

The claim that the key to success is to Be Awesome!

Some of the most popular bloggers claim that’s their route to fame.  “Write awesome content, create awesome art, be extraordinary and people will buy from you and you’ll be swimming in the glory of awesomeness.”

Damn, that’s a lot of Malarky!

Most of us are just living our lives the best we can.  And now the pressure to be “awesome” is so great, we don’t know if we are good enough.

How, exactly does one arrive to the state of being awesome?  Are you born with it?  Can you buy it or train for it?  And how do you know when you become it?

There is a big problem with striving for awesome, and it’s this:

One person’s idea of awesome is different from another. 

I can’t be the marketing genius Scott Stratton or the lovely art business guru Alyson Stanfield, because I’m Maria Brophy.  It’s futile for me to attempt to do the things I’m not cut out for.  I can only be myself.

I, for one, am tired of striving for awesome.  So I’m taking a break from being awesome for now and I’m going to wallow in being just a little better than mediocre.  And I’m going to enjoy every second of it!

OTHERS AREN’T AS SUCCESSFUL AS YOU THINK

Drew always says “Everybody thinks everybody else is doing better than they are.  In truth, everyone is just trying to figure it out.”

A guy walked into our studio last week.  He was a fan of my artist husband, Drew.   He looked around at the paintings and the many licensed products with Drew’s art displayed on the walls and said “I’m so jealous; you guys are killing it!

Later, Drew and I laughed about that.  We hear this sentiment often.  To people on the outside, it appears as though we are wealthy.

Though we are happy, we are not where we want to be financially.  Our studio is too small, our income has taken a hit by the economy, and we are working hard to reach the next level of success.  There are many roadblocks we have to break through.

Sometimes we beat ourselves over the head for not having accomplished more by now.  We see other entrepreneurs who are doing so much better, and we ask “why not us”.

And then we have to slap each other back into reality.  Drew will remind me of this:  We have our health.  We live in a beautiful beach town.  We surf when we want.  We are happy.

Success is a feeling more than a number.  If you feel poor, you are poor.  If you feel rich, you are rich.

I know a guy who is a multi-millionaire.  One day he was berating himself and was depressed because he had only amassed $18 million.  Most of his friends were worth double that number.  He felt like a failure in business.  (True story)

And I know people who live very simple lives and feel rich.  They aren’t worried about being awesome or impressing anyone.   They are perfect just as they are.

Here’s a few ways to lighten up on the pressure and help us realize that we are perfect just the way we are:

LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD

Don’t expect so much from yourself.  Keep moving forward, but don’t kill yourself.   Focus on that one thing that’s going to make a huge difference in your career.   Let everything else wait.

TAKE A LOT OF BREAKS

Go on vacation, have fun, exercise.  Laugh a lot.  Your work will be greater inspired when you are enjoying yourself and are well rested.

FOCUS ON YOUR MOST IMPORTANT WORK

Stop trying to do EVERYTHING!  Instead, choose 2-3 of the most important things that you can focus on right now.  Then do them to completion and do them well.

STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS

“What’s wrong with me?”  Is the question we should never ask.

Instead, ask “What is one thing that I can do right now, that I can focus on completely, get it done, and feel good about it.”

CHUNK IT DOWN

Is a big project looming over your head?  Take one step at a time and Chunk it down!  If you have a big thing to do, be it learning French or marketing a new business or painting a new collection, do this:

Break it down into chunks.  Make a list of all the things you need to do.  Choose the first step, and work on that first.  Then, move onto the next, and then the next.

ENJOY

Relax, enjoy all that you are doing.  Don’t allow the feeling of pressure take away the joyful process of learning, creating and building something.

I hope I’ve inspired you to stop striving for some arbitrary idea of “awesome” and instead do the best work you can, on your own sweet time.

Please, comment below.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  It would be awesome if you did!

Maria xxoo

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62 Comments Stop Striving For Awesome and Give Yourself a Break

  1. Sandra

    Great article! Just what I needed to hear today. I am trying to get over my fear of sketching in public which I refer to as “I feel like a fraud” complex. The fear that someone would look at what I am sketching and laugh or be disapproving is a real stumbling block for me.

    Reply
  2. Christine

    Well said Maria! I’ve been contemplating this whole thing for the past few months. When I’m focused and full of ideas and creativity, I wan to go go go, and see results. Then life happens and I need to slow down (or stop completely) and deal with urgent issues and relationships. I’m glad you posted this because I’ve reached an awareness that I need to be taking more vacations with my husband, and playing and laughing more. It’s been getting to the point that any time I have a couple of free hours, I think to myself, “I have to be working on my art, everyone and everything else comes second.”

    Although focus and discipline are good and necessary to succeed, we need breaks. We have to fill up the tank if we want to keep drawing from it. Besides, joyful relaxed people are a whole lot more fun to be around.

    Keep posting!

    Reply
  3. Lynne

    Thanks Maria! I was just feeling so overwhelmed yesterday. In addition to my art, I also have an Ebay business and just can’t seem to do them both justice and keep up with housework and other commitments. I need to reevaluate things a bit!

    Reply
    1. Sheryl

      Thank you Maria! This is exactly what hit me yesterday, but you said it so much more eloquently than I did!

      Reply

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