The most difficult lesson to learn is to not push myself everyday of my life to excel and to do and to accomplish. I’ve led a life priding myself for doing too much. I’ve built a CV that could easily be the making of three people. But now I realize this was the unkindest thing I have ever done to myself. Luckily, today, as I was looking at myself in the mirror, I saw my way out of this habit to over-perform.
I have led a “driven” life where I did everything all at the same time. I juggled a demanding career in journalism while at the same time performed as a singer-songwriter. Let’s not forget about the consultancy work I did on the side, the fact I was the youngest UNDP consultant in the world producing an environmental report at the age of 24, and a perfectionist who was literally all over the place trying to be “perfect” (and never quenching that thirst).
I think I was trying to be super human, a super Yaansoon!
Ever since I was a kid I was fascinated with paranormal stories about people with fantastic abilities. I once heard we only used up to 10% of our brains. I always wondered about the 90. My mission was to utilize as much as possible of my brain power, and to push the boundaries on human limits. I spent sleepless nights doing a million things at the same time. I always did everything on my own, even in music; I managed myself, I did my own PR, I did my own social media, I wrote my own technical riders for music tours… and when I was on the road I interviewed people and went to interesting places to write a column or two for my other career.
A few minutes ago, while I was in a monologue about how not to repeat that endless “horse race” experience, I suddenly, and out of nowhere, found the answer. I don’t know how it happened, but I clearly and very vividly saw the answer.
It’s to change my expectations!
I will say this… turning to handcrafts did help me reach this conclusion. I know making things with my hands changed me, in subtle and not so subtle ways. I took up the handcrafting path as a way for me to heal from so many things, including my over-stressful corporate career in PR and magazine publishing. And I believe thanks to handcrafting I was able to find the key that will finally allow me to pace myself and do things nicely, quietly and slowly.
In order for any perfectionist out there – who is trying to drive themselves beyond their limits – to be able to really snap out of this “driven” mode, the key is changing your expectations; to basically change what you expect from yourself.
My expectations from myself involved being busy at all times and “accomplishing” things at all times. I used to fidget and toss and turn if there was nothing to do, that’s why I kept on creating new tasks for myself, branching out, finding new jobs, new clients, new collaborations, new projects, new dreams, new goals, new benchmarks, new milestones, new ways to shorten the distance between things, a better way to “manage time,” etc, etc.
Now I realize that I can change my inner programming and my expectations to something knew, this way I hope to be able to be at peace with not accomplishing ten things in half an hour, and really take my time.
Being a creative entrepreneur and pursing something I love needs to come with a new way of life, a kinder, nicer, and more organic path than previous paths I have taken.
My new expectation from myself? It’s to enjoy life and to allow myself to relax, and to move at a slower pace, and not to meet any deadlines I put for myself, because I’m not in a hurry, and it’s time for me to be kind to myself!