I was going to talk about the Nigerian Independence Day party that I and the other members of the local Nigerian association executive planned, but this is important. I hope anyone who can relate will join me in changing their frame of mind.
I tend to be really hard on myself. I’ve been told this my entire life. For example, I have been blogging since November 2002 and since 2003 I’ve wanted to design amazing websites to house my blogs. I spent many sleepless nights reading instructions online and trying to make it work, first with a blog software called Movable Type, then over the last five years with WordPress. I shed a lot of tears (I do that when I get frustrated) and I’ve called myself all sorts of names over the years (stupid, dumb, incompetent) because I never seemed to pick up web design stuff to the level that I wanted.
So what’s my point? I just visited the website of one of the web designers I’ve admired for years and right on her site it says that she doesn’t do all the stuff that I have been trying to do (coding and programming), and I don’t think she does much graphic design either. She is a web designer, and she contracts the work she can’t do to experts in those areas, while she serves as the web designer and leader of the project. Seye had told me that most web designers or developers don’t do everything, or if they do, they rely on the work that others have done before them, instead of starting from scratch each time and reinventing the wheel. I heard him, but I never really believed it. It’s like I thought he was just telling me that to make me feel better about my lack of skill. Well, now I believe.
Another area in my life where I am hard on myself is with regard to life accomplishments. I tend to downplay my accomplishments, while giving the accomplishments of my peers more weight than my own. For example, most of my friends are married with children and live in lovely homes. Sometimes I look at my life and I feel like my accomplishments pale in comparison. But then I was reminded that most of my friends never had the chance to be a homeowner as a single lady, nor had to be responsible for a mortgage, house-related payments, and car payments on their own, so while that doesn’t make me better than them, it should make me recognize my accomplishments and not downplay them when they are pointed out to me.
So if there’s something that you’ve been working hard to do, that maybe you admire someone else for doing, give yourself a break if you’re not doing it as quickly or as easily as that other person. Maybe you just don’t have all the facts. If you’re trying to launch a business and you see someone who seems to have accomplished what you want in a shorter time, before you decide you must be stupid and decide to give up, ask yourself if perhaps the person you’re admiring quit their full time job to launch this other business, giving them more time to spend on the business. Or maybe they have fewer demands on their time while you have family to take care of. This kind of thinking represents good ways to cut yourself some slack if you’re known for being hard on yourself, but don’t use them as excuses to stop working your butt off!
Maybe you won’t have to work harder, only smarter. Like me with the web design work, you may need to explore other ways to accomplish your goals, even if it requires investing money, especially if time is something you don’t have in abundance.
It’s not easy to change one’s mindset, but none of us are too old to learn new tricks.