I am coming to see more and more that we all have a skewed perception of our places in the world.
And sometimes, yeah, we think that place is higher than it is. But what I’m seeing more often lately is that we’re not giving ourselves near enough credit.
There are so many people in my life who are doing incredible things. Big things, yes. But also, small things on the daily.
I’ve got friends who are hosting summits for hundreds of women and creating real change. I’ve got friends who are TED talking. I’ve got friends who are entertaining the masses in sneaky ways and making marketing suck less.
And I’ve got friends who know about grief and are the support system for others who don’t have it in their own grief. I’ve got friends who are doing social justice work and impacting communities in real, totally unflashy ways. I’ve got friends who change lives quietly, one at a time.
All of those people, and plenty more, inspire and motivate me to do incredible things, big and small, too. But sometimes, and it’s not my proudest moment to admit this, all it does is make me feel like shit about myself. About the lack of incredible things I’m doing, big or small.
Recently, I reached out to a friend who I haven’t talked to in a while. We’ve been close at times, but for the last year or so, we’ve kind of just been in different places. Totally not in a negative way, just living life, really. But still, I think of her often and wanted to let her know I was thinking of her.
We asked the perfunctory “How are you?” question, but as is the case with anyone in my life, when we ask, we mean it and really want to know the answer. So, I went first and told her that I could honestly answer “good,” after a period of probably six to eight rough months. I shared that I’m feeling better, finding my way out of the muck, and feeling more focus and alignment. Not entirely surprisingly, she replied that she was feeling much the same. She shared more of what she’s been doing and what’s been going on, the challenges, the feelings.
I told her how excited I was, how totally behind her I am in everything she does. I am happy to gush to my friends and remind them of how awesome they are, but truly, I mean it. I told her how she continually amazes me with just how much she puts into the world. How she has lots and lots of gifts, and how we’re all incredibly lucky that she’s willing to share them.
Seriously, this woman is a peer of mine, but she constantly stirs me to push myself. And it’s not just me – it’s everyone she comes into contact with, anywhere, anytime. She pushes herself for real impact in herself, her community, and the world, and it encourages the same in others.
Funny enough, though, sometimes the way that lands with me is a reflection that I’m not doing enough. Or I’m not doing enough of the things that are real and important and impactful. Like, making a dent in the system, you know?
Well, her response basically reflected my feelings – she said she constantly feels like she’s doing the bare minimum. I could hardly believe it, and I told her so. That she was the last person who could ever be considered to be doing the bare minimum. That I was a bare minimum person. And of course, I could hardly believe her reaction to that either – that she thought I was not even close to a bare minimum person.
Now, here’s where we get to the crux of it.
In my mind, I’m thinking about this woman’s impact on the people she touches daily in her business, the ones who come in the doors and walk out changed. I’m thinking of the investments she’s made in her community, the programs she’s run and the results they’ve elicited. I’m thinking about her vulnerability and growth personally and professionally, and how she shares that process and progress with everyone she meets. I’m thinking about her unapologetic stance on inclusivity and social justice and how she practices every single bit of what she preaches, without thought or question. None of those things are bare minimum. They’re big things and small things. And for me, I’m like…holy crap, I’m so far behind.
In her mind, though, I’m showing up. I’m consistent with content, it’s focused, it’s helpful. And it’s achieving many of those same goals, in a different, but equally meaningful and important way. Big things, small things.
What all that comes down to is how we define this stuff for ourselves.
What’s the definition of showing up? What does it mean to have an impact? What do incredible things, big and small, look like? What, truly, is the bare minimum? And how does one bare minimum appear to someone else and register with them?
It’s shocking how different it can look for each of us. Honestly, we live in the castles of our own minds, right? But wow, sometimes those castles are less like royal palaces and more like prisons. Encounters like this are exactly what we need to remind ourselves that the stories we tell over and over again aren’t always reality.
And that goes both ways, of course, but more and more often, we’re keeping ourselves trapped vs. walking around in a crown. And when we do that, all we’re doing is holding back from showing up in the exact ways we are wanting to show up anyway, not to mention – making it more acceptable for others to hold back too.
If we want to elevate, we’ve got to start with ourselves.
The chances are very slim that you’re doing the bare minimum.
The chances are better that you’re not giving yourself credit for just how important the incredible things you’re doing – big and small, once-in-a-lifetime and everyday – are to the people you’re doing them for. And certainly, we can always push ourselves, and I hope that we do! But if we don’t fully believe that what we’re doing right now matters in any real way, how are we ever going to convince ourselves that we should do more of it?
So listen, be proud of what you’re doing now. Know that someone out there thinks you’re freaking crushing it. I definitely do. I know it can feel like the bare minimum just doesn’t matter, but I can tell you with confidence that that’s not the case, and one person’s bare minimum is another’s highest dream. Do not let your bare minimum feelings of lack limit you. Don’t get caught up in one definition or one skewed perception.
Keep doing your incredible things. Please. We’ve got worlds to change.
Ready for more incredible things? Yeah, I know you are. Let’s talk about it. Schedule a call with me, anytime.