Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘challenge’

Comparison is For Major Purchases, Not People

Acceptance Instead of Comparison

At the gym as in life, we are all at different places on our journey. Comparison is both meaningless and self-defeating. And yet, while working out around people at different levels, it’s all too easy to find ourselves making comparisons; some even favorable to ourselves.

There’s no way for us to know where anyone started except ourselves. The only valid comparison is where we are now vs. where we were at some specified point in the past, and then, only to show ourselves how far we’ve come.

Each of us progresses in our own unique way. A heavier person might have 4 or 5 times the strength of a wispy woman. Then again, she might not. Outside appearance is the least accurate barometer for forward progress.

Looking at the Outside Misses Where Our Real Changes Occur

Sure, you can look at someone who’s dropped 50 or 100 pounds and see progress. But what you see is superficial compared to the internal changes they made in order to release the weight. Those outward changes couldn’t have happened without a lot of internal redirection, a huge shift in mindset and values, and a decision to make those changes plus the will to make new habits. How can someone on the outside looking in possibly know the mountains we move to make those changes?

By the same token, we don’t have any way of knowing how far another person has come, so how on earth can we possibly compare ourselves and our journey to theirs?

Comparison is a momentum killer.

Comparison is a short road to discouragement. It allows us to fall back into “you’re not good enough” mode where we ignore all the progress we’ve made, looking instead at how far we have to go. But our progress wasn’t made in a series of giant leaps. Chances are, we took a lot of baby steps and maybe, just maybe, the occasional giant leap. The mountain we set off to climb must be scaled one step at a time.

Focusing on Our Own Progress

That doesn’t mean the steps don’t get easier as we gain skill and strength. Nor will those baby steps remain the same minuscule size as we learn and grow. But as we progress our perspective changes too. What was once a major accomplishment is barely a blip on our personal radar. We reset not only our goals but our expectations as we go. That too is progress.

Expecting more of ourselves when we’re ready, or almost ready is what makes us reach for loftier and loftier goals. If we set our bar at a level too far beyond our current capabilities, we’d get discouraged and give up before we made what we’d consider significant progress. But if we set smaller, reachable goals, we’ll experience a feeling of accomplishment that will motivate us to keep trying.

My biggest challenge is to release the excess weight I’ve accumulated over the years. Though it’s been rough going the last few months, I can stop myself and remember that there are about 20 pounds I’ve released and not allowed to creep back. Yes, there are also 5 or 10 which have, but the ones that haven’t motivate me to keep trying because I have some success to look at.

Meanwhile, I’ve gone from barely being able to lift a pound with my left arm, courtesy of a herniated disc in my neck to getting comments from men at the gym about how much weight I’m lifting now. It didn’t happen over night, and it’s not helping me take off as much weight as I’d like, but it is progress. In fact, when I pull up MyFitnessPal to see what weight I’m using on various machines or free weights each week, I’m often surprised to see the numbers have climbed as high as they have.

Figuring Out What Motivates Us

Most of my progress has occurred in the last year, when I finally found a schedule I’d follow consistently, and created what I hope will be a lifelong habit. It might have taken me a few extra decades to get there, but that’s how my journey is unfolding. I’m OK with that.

Comparison has another ugly side. When we see ourselves as less, or not as good as, we tend to treat ourselves unkindly. We give up on ourselves. We feel unworthy. None of that crap is true. We slip back into old habits, but we don’t have to stay there. We need to remind ourselves it’s OK to make mistakes or fall off track as long as we treat ourselves kindly and get back on that track before we do ourselves too much damage.

The trouble is, we tend to be quicker to beat ourselves up than forgive our own transgressions. And boy are we stingy with praise for the person who deserves our praise the most!

Focus on Now and the Rest Will Follow

One way I’ve found to get off the comparison merry-go-round is to focus on what we are doing, thinking, and feeling in the current moment—in the Now. Feel how our bodies and minds are responding to the new tasks we’ve set, and don’t worry about what happened 5 minutes ago. If we ate a cookie, or skipped a set, it’s done and can’t be re-done. So let it go and embrace this moment, making it the best we can.

I also like to make lists. At the end of the day, I make a list of at least 10 things I accomplished. They don’t have to be big things, and often, I give myself a couple of “gimme’s”. They’re things I do every day without thinking about it like writing my Morning Pages, and making the bed (another habit I had to work to achieve). To the outside world, they might seem insignificant.

To many of my friends, making the bed has been a lifelong habit. For me, as the Queen of Clutter for so many years, it was one more thing I had to learn to find important. But forming and keeping the habit taught me that climbing back into bed during the day was no longer an option. Ask anyone who has fought depression at any point in their life, and you’ll understand why such a small, seemingly ordinary task can make a huge difference in how a day unfolds. Learning to make my bed every morning turned days on end of laziness, lack of motivation or inspiration, and long-term failure into the desire to finish what I started and form more healthy habits.

What I’m saying in my usual long, roundabout way is, if you must compare, look at who you are today, what you have accomplished, and how far you’ve come. The only person we have to be better than is ourselves. The only improvements that matter in our lives are the ones we make to the person we are now, and the person we want to become. Look objectively. Look without judging. See yourself without unrealistic expectations. I promise you’ll see someone marvelous, accomplished and amazing who’s conquered a lot of odds and challenges to become the ever-evolving person they are today.

Remember to Be Grateful for Accomplishments Both Large and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my evolving perspective.
  2. I am grateful for the many accomplishments which continue to help me evolve.
  3. I am grateful for reminders that I’m perfect the way I am, but can always make myself a better me.
  4. I am grateful for people who can be examples for me rather than comparisons where I find myself lacking.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; self-love, joy, health, new habits, friendship, dancing, inspiration, motivation, prosperity, peace, harmony, and philanthropy.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Are You Trying to Fit Into a Box?

Be True to You

In the continuing search for ways to promote my business which are actually effective, I find myself from time to time, falling into some old and ultimately unsuitable patterns. I ignore the signals from body and mind, and try to tailor my efforts to what worked for someone else…and it never ends well.

At best, I get cranky, annoyed, and frustrated with my lack of progress. At worst, I crawl into my hermit hole to sulk and fall into the dreaded victim mentality. Thankfully, the Universe has my back (sometimes whether I like its methods or not) and gives me little reminders I’m once again going down a road that isn’t right for me.

This time, not only did I get another sharp poke in the ribs, but a new guide to help me find my own way. After a couple of months’ delay on my part, I got to be a guest on Jared Warner’s podcast. One of the first things he said to me was “stop trying to do things like everyone else”. Whoa! Light bulb over my head in screaming neon pink! Now why didn’t I think of that?

Why Would I Do Anything With 5 Little Words?

My latest transgression involved trying to consolidate what I do into 5 measly words. I can see my daughter’s reaction if she’d heard I was even attempting to do anything in 5 words. I can’t even order a cup of coffee with only 5 lousy words! So how in the name of all that’s holy would I even consider such a hopeless, and for me, pointless exercise. It is the true definition of an exercise in futility, or maybe insanity.

Jared is a true expert when it comes to marketing and building business. He’s learned all the tricks the hard way, building businesses, and losing at least one pretty spectacularly, but as the phoenix rises from the ashes, so does Jared. And what’s more, he’s passionate about helping others do the same and maybe miss out on some of his more noteworthy mistakes along the way (though each of us still has to make a few of our own as part of our learning process).

Turning Things Upside Down Might Make for a Better View

Instead of trying to create some kind of buzz line or catch-phrase for what I can do for others, he challenged me to turn the whole thing upside down and consider a completely different (read: scary as hell) path which combines the two things I love the most: helping people and writing.

He rightfully pointed out that the accounting side of my skill set requires a lot more trust than the writing side, so building relationships takes much longer. Also, people typically have someone doing their taxes, so they may rely on them for the book work as well making it a tough market to break into. Better to leave it as something to transition into once clients have gotten to know me for the dependability I offer with my writing. Now why didn’t I think of that? (insert face palm emoji).

Best of all, he totally understands my aversion to anything sales-y and offered some great suggestions for getting known without the hype. Part of that is this Friday post as he recommended increasing my weekly offerings from 2, to 3 or 4. Thankfully, my response to his query about average word count was adequate. I guess some folks are still writing shorter posts, perhaps to offset their increased frequency.

Find the Tried and True for You

So I have my work cut out for me, creating 3 to 4 posts a week and with a little luck and Jared’s suggestions, adding another client or five to my current batch.

Getting back to the premise of this tale, (and touching a bit on last night’s Facebook live which you can find here), all too often, we allow ourselves to fall into a trap, trying to do things in a tried and true way. The trouble is, it’s not our tried and true, and we’re not the person it worked so well for. We lack the qualities which made it work so well for them, and perhaps a few others.

That’s not to say we lack good, strong qualities. Ours our different, and need an approach which honors those differences. How do we know we’re honoring our uniqueness instead of trying to mimic someone else’s? In the same way we recognize the right path when making a decision or choosing a new road; we listen to our bodies.

Listening to Messages From Within

While thinking about a choice we’re going to make, if we check in with ourselves, the decision will make itself, but you have to understand what you’re feeling first.

If something makes you feel tense, constricted, confined, and even severely nauseous, chances are, it’s probably not going to give you the results you seek. In fact, it’s honoring your mind’s desire to plod along the same boring, predictable road forever.

On the other hand, if you feel a bit like you’re leaping off a cliff, or crossing a ravine on a tight rope with no net, you’re probably on the right track. I know it sounds weird, but we were not meant to live our lives in a safe little box. We were meant to expand and grow, though for some that expansion happens with a lot of kicking, screaming, and digging our fingernails into the furniture to avoid being dragged away by a relentless current of change. Our minds, unfortunately, will always resent change. They would be perfectly happy if we stayed in a little hermit hole where nothing changed.

Getting Back to Adventure Mode: Leaving the Rut Behind

But our psyche lives for adventure; for zip lining across that ravine or running full tilt up a mountain with no idea what’s on the other side. It wants to feel alive, and it’s something only to be found in change and adventure.

Thanks to Jared, I kicked off my latest adventure yesterday. I don’t know how it will go or where it will take me, but that’s part of the thrill and charm. By offering to ghostwrite expert books for entrepreneurs, I get to combine my love of writing, my desire to help other people, and my talent for sharing the soft underbelly we mistakenly believe we need to hide away. I’ve learned from my own experiences that showing a little vulnerability lets people know we’re human; we’re approachable; we’ve been where they are, and learned how to navigate the rapids and arrive victorious and ready to jump on the next one.

Why Settle for Ordinary when You Deserve Extraordinary?

Life is a thrill ride. For some, it’s physical as in white water rafting, bungee jumping, or extreme skiing. For others, it’s as simple as stepping out of the tired, old comfort zone into a new experience. Ultimately, you build up a tolerance and those small steps you took become child’s play, and the next ones you take look like leaps in comparison. You learn keeping your psyche happy makes for a much more interesting life anyway.

What are you going to do to free yourself from box-like situations? Where will you take even the tiniest step towards a life suited exactly to you and not someone else? How will you find your own unique brand of success? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to see you grow!

Expressing Gratitude Every Step of the Way

Each step we take, every mistake we make, and all of our successes are enriched when we remember to be grateful for the experience. As is my wont, I’m sharing a few of mine.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the Universal head slaps (or butt kicks, or on rare occasions, gentle prods) which wake me up to what I need to change, where I need to go, and what I need to do.
  2. I’m grateful for the helpers who appear in my life exactly when and where I need them.
  3. I’m grateful I’ve trained my mind to listen to truths even when they’re uncomfortable. I know I make more progress when I stop relying on the tried and true.
  4. I’m grateful for friendships and relationships which enrich my life, and for the experiences I’m having outside my comfort zone which bring them into my life.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; help, friendship, new ideas, inspiration, motivation, challenges, leaps of faith, expansion, health, joy, peace, harmony, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write your expert book with you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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