"It took a while to understand
The beauty of just letting go"
I used to want to be Superwoman, taking on everything at once. Before I started anything, I figured out ways to do it all myself before I sought help. Even if I knew some things were not in my wheelhouse, I expected myself to do all the things equally well. Of course, I didn't, which led to feeling burnt out and frustrated, taking me away from my goals.
I had to learn to let go of my unrealistic expectations, and here's how I did it.
1. I accepted that I wouldn't be perfect at everything right away.
When I first started as a writer, I didn't have one bit of business experience. I majored in English in college and became an English teacher. I didn't know sales or marketing. I started at ground zero and learned on my own. I put so much pressure on myself to learn everything right away.
If I accepted that it would be a trial and error process and asked people who were experts to teach me, I would have saved myself many headaches.
2. I owned the small wins.
On my way to finding a literary agent, I went through trials and tribulations. The first agent I submitted my novel to rejected it. Still, she told me I had a lot of talent, and she would love to work with me on another project. I held on to that bit of positivity and every other bit, leading me to the agent I work with now.
3. I stopped comparing myself to others.
I remember being amazed when I heard another author talk about an agent approaching him about his novel and not the other way around. It was a little disheartening for me because I hadn't found my agent yet. Then, the light bulb went off. Instead of focusing on what's working for him, I need to be focused on what's working for me.
From that realization, I learned to be where I am.
My journey is my journey. Another person has theirs.
4. I accepted my work process.
When I wrote my novel, it was a seesaw of pleasure and pain. I normally write short fiction, so I had to rethink how I told a story. I micromanaged myself, scrutinizing my timings and my flow.
I tried to mold myself into a morning to afternoon worker. Somehow, I thought that was more productive, normal. That was a struggle because I'm more of a second shift worker. My best times are afternoon to early evening.
I fought myself because I tried to force myself to be what I wasn't. When I let my creativity flow my way, I accomplished a lot more.
5. I stopped dwelling on what isn't working
When I made a mistake, I would feel a knot in my stomach. It would steadily wear on me, and I dissected the why of the mistake. Then, I berated myself for my imperfection. It became this rabbit-hole of blame that took energy from rising above it, doing better.
Now, I look at a mistake and accept it. I come up with a strategy to keep from making it again. Then, I'm done. I decide to do better the next time, and I do.
After that, I go back to what is working. An amazing thing happens when I do that. More works.
Look at what's working for you, and let the rest go. Stop expecting yourself to be perfect because you're not. And that's okay.
Until next time, look behind and beyond the veil...
How do you manage your expectations?