I’ve been struggling lately with this feeling that I’ve not been doing enough or working hard enough to get my business off the ground. I realized that I’ve spent more time than I care to admit being frustrated and disappointed with myself over these last few months for not accomplishing enough. So I made a list of all I had done recently for my business, focusing only the big things, not the countless details, and it covered an entire page.
In that moment I realized that this feeling of not enough was an illusion many of us carry. It was a story I was telling myself, because I was actually enjoying the process of starting my business. If I’m not totally stressed out, then I am not trying hard enough, I am not working hard enough, I am not good enough. This story permeates our culture where it seems the yardstick for success is how busy and stressed out you are.
Being a contemplative person, you might think I wouldn’t struggle with these kinds of feelings, but that’s not true at all. I have the same struggles and feelings as everyone else. The difference is, as a contemplative, I am willing to sit with those feelings without judgment on myself and allow the cause of those feelings to surface.
I wondered if part of the reason I was telling myself this story is to protect myself from the criticism of others. Better to attack myself before someone else attacks me first. What if someone thinks I’m not working hard enough? What if someone thinks I’m not trying hard enough?
But during meditation it came to me: What a freeing thing it would be to not need to attack myself or defend myself! What if I woke up each day and simply set the intention to do the best I could that day without chronic stress and overwhelm attached to it? What would happen?
I challenged myself this week to do just that. Wake up each morning, prioritize what is most important, and be wiling to let go of anything else if needed in order to feel mostly peaceful.
There is a quote by E.B. White that I’ve said many times is the story of my life. He said, “I arise each morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
But what if I set an intention to do both each day, improve and enjoy the world? What if I do the work I am called to do in this world, one step at a time, one moment at a time, without worrying if it is enough, if I am enough? What if you did the same thing? Hmmm…something to ponder.