Why Not Me?

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I've had this blog post in my head for a long time and it's good to finally put my fingers to the keys and get it all out! If you've never ready Mindy Kaling's "Why Not Me?", I highly suggest you head to the bookstore right now. That is unless you don't find Mindy Kaling funny because in that case, this book is definitely not for you (and if I'm being totally honest, we might not be a great fit as friends). I read "Why Not Me?" back in January when I was at a crossroads with my job. It came at just the right time. Mindy is brutally honest at times in her book but she writes everything in such a funny, lighthearted way. She's so loveable and relatable in the way she shares her story. I admire the meaning behind the words she shares just as much as her word choices. There are so many awkward situations we all go through and Mindy owns every moment without holding back! I wrote all that just to explain my choice in the title for this blog post. Excuse my rambling, I'll get to the point now. It's time for some real talk on this little blog today.

Why not me?

No, seriously, why not me? What's holding me back from reaching (or even just pursuing) my dreams? The answer is me. I'm the only thing holding myself back. I let my fears, anxieties, and jealousy hold me back from living the life I want to live all too often.

They say that comparison is the thief of joy. I'm not sure who "they" are but they're right in my case. So why can't I stop? I'm not just throwing myself under the bus here, either. If I had to guess, comparing yourself to your friends, celebrities, and even strangers is something you struggle with too. I think we all do to some degree and you know what? It's okay... but we've got to push ourselves to focus our energy on our own goals and stop comparing ourselves to others!

Let me take you on a trip through my daily stream of consciousness as I peruse Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.

So how can she afford to travel when she's in school and doesn't have a job? Do his mom and dad pay for everything for him? Do they not have their own bills and rent to pay? Why did she get the job right out of school when I interviewed for months? Maybe their parents still cook for them so they never have to spend money on food. What are they doing that I'm not doing even better? Are they just lucky?

There, I admit it. I'm judging you. Hard. You know all too well the types of judgemental questions we ask ourselves about how someone else has carved out their own path. It really sucks because I want to be happy for my friends but it's hard sometimes when I feel like I'm missing out on these great experiences. The truth is that we can speculate all day long about how someone has achieved their goals but unless you ask and they give you a completely honest answer, we may never really know. We also probably shouldn't expect that sort of transparency from every single person. There is such thing as privacy still, believe it or not. At the same time, though sometimes it helps others to learn and grow if we are a little more open with our audience. That transparency makes us vulnerable but at the same time allows us to create really deep and meaningful connections with other human beings! I'm sure not every great Instagram picture has a great story behind it. Sure your milkshake in New York looks fabulous but maybe the service was terrible and ou spilled half of it on your white jeans mid-bite. There will always be a side of the story we don't see and more likely than not, the side of the story we don't see will be the hustle or the struggle. There is always more than meets the eye! 

So how do we avoid blogger envy or FOMO or just plain jealousy when it comes to our friends? I'm not an expert and I certainly don't have all the answers when I just spent several paragraphs explaining why I'm struggling lately but sometimes we're able to offer advice that we should follow so I'll give it a shot. Here are just a few ways I plan to focus on achieving my personal goals.

  1. Worry more about myself and less about others. How can I hone in on my purpose instead of comparing myself to someone else's version of success? We're all unique individuals so no two people will ever create the same life story. It's important to me to keep in mind that I'm just on a different path. 
  2. Put in the time. Success takes work. That means some things that waste too much time need to be cut out. Maybe that means getting up an hour earlier or going to bed an hour later. Maybe it means giving up an hour of Netflix for an hour of watching lessons on Skillshare. I have to want to achieve my goals more than I want to be lazy or put things off.
  3. Ask for help. Instead of feeling like everything is a competition, I want to garner a sense of community and build a tribe of like-minded individuals who can truly support me and be happy for me. I want to give the same to others and truly feel joyful for my friend's successes. Mentorship is a huge key here. I've also been reading up on some of my favorite boss ladies' books. 
  4. Stop the negative talk. No one else is going to believe in me if I don't believe in myself. I have to work on my own confidence to see the need for comparison disappear. 
  5. Remember that everyone feels this way. No one is perfect and all we can do is try to be better every day. It's okay if we fall short sometimes but with a little self-reflection, it's important to try to get back on track with our goals. I'm not alone in this big world even though sometimes getting stuck in my mind feels incredibly isolating. 

The negative talk stops now! All that just to say at the end of the day I'm really proud of myself because everything I've worked extremely hard for everything that I have. Everything we own, every place we've traveled is a result of hard work and planning. It's hard sometimes to save our pennies when we hardly feel like we have any extra to save but we do it because we crave those experiences that make our life together so much more meaningful. Judging other people or making assumptions doesn't make me feel any better and it doesn't help me on the way to achieving my goals. I may need a little extra encouragement, but I'm ready to take on my goals with a new perspective and positive attitude!