Posted in Finding My Own Brand of Success

Reality According to My Neurosis

In my head, most of the time things are much more difficult than they are in reality.

Are you like me, and find yourself making things far harder on yourself than is necessary?

Today for my full-time job, I worked on a grant proposal (like many days) – one that has an incredibly structured essay response formula. So it could have been a pretty straight-forward process of addressing each area requested on the exciting new project on which I will have an opportunity to work if we are awarded the necessary funding. But in my head, instead of simply answering each question, I found myself believing that each answer I provided had to be more complicated that what first sprung to mind. The process led to over-thinking and panicked research, which led to frustration and an unfortunately needless extended deadline.

My imagination created a monster out of a of a situation in my brain and in my confidence.

But, in reality, it isn’t that hard. And it doesn’t have to be. I don’t have to make it so. After shaking it off and walking away from my computer for a bit, I reminded myself that I knew what I was doing. I know I’m good enough to pull this off, and I just need to inform our potential funders in simple but descriptive ways what our project aims to achieve.

So I did.

But I recognized today that this cycle of self-doubt has become a habit for me. I tend to blow things up in my mind, and as a result, always, ALWAYS feel at least somewhat unprepared. If a question is raised in a meeting that I haven’t thought about in advance, I beat myself up. I use a lot of time preparing for meetings with my boss in an attempt to know every answer and predict every question.

Which is impossible. I’m not a mind reader, and by trying to force myself to become one, I waste a ton of energy.

In some ways, I feel like this is a part of my incredibly introverted childhood. Until I was halfway through high school, I was painfully shy. Avoiding anything that caused me to stand out in the least was a common daily practice. I wanted to be good enough at everything to fit into the crowd, but not set myself apart. So it appears I’ve set myself up for a lifetime of requiring an inhuman level of preparation on my own part.

So, my proposed solution for myself involves some wisdom from the genius Alexandra Franzen, and her 3 Questions for Magnetic Clarity. Basically, the full scope of her guidance is to clarify who you are and why you’re extraordinary {totally wonderful, in essence}. However, I’m going to implement my answer to the second question to work in my over-analyzing-pressure-filled problem.

What are your signature dance moves? What do you bring to every encounter, conversation, situation, playdate or workdate that is undeniably, distinctively YOU?

Answer: the ability to formulate thoughtful questions with the audience in mind (while I may not be an expert on everything discussed, I’m becoming an expert on my boss’s expectations); the ambition to find the answer if it is not readily obvious; the wisdom to understand that I don’t always have the answer and no one truly expects me to; the awareness to admit that I don’t know; and most important to me: I possess a sense of humor and empathy that makes me relatable to and respected by almost anyone {this one took a long time for me to recognize its true value}.

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