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a girl dancing in a white winter outfit

MY STRUGGLE:

I’m prone to biting off way more than I can chew. First of all, I’ve always been a bit overly ambitious and wildly creative. For as long as I can remember, I've occasionally experienced these surges of beautiful creative energy where I’m dreaming up millions of ideas all at once. 

One minute I'm casually thinking of what I'll wear tomorrow and the next minute I've decided to start an ethical clothing conglomerate whilst becoming first female president and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. 


This sounds fantastic, right? Well sure, sometimes it is! But other times all of those ideas and goals are overwhelming. My brain is flooded with so many things that I have no clue where to begin. Because I can’t focus, nothing gets done. It often feels like I’m filling this figurative box with millions of half baked dreams and the bigger the box gets, the more I feel like crap about myself. Suddenly, all I can see is this pile of woulda, shoulda, couldas and nothing I can really say I’m proud of.

I start to believe that all I’m ever going to be is someone who talks about great ideas but never really does anything great. 

Right before the New Year, I was hit with one of these times. 

girl wearing a long white coat and a chunky scarf

I had so many wonderful intentions. I was going to film every single day for my YouTube Channel! I was going to churn out weekly blog posts, daily instagram  posts and totally crush this whole internet thing. 

And then I hit a wall. 

I was wildly stressed out. I started to hate anything and everything I did and overthink even the tiniest of details. I’d spend hours working on a thumbnail for my YouTube channel just to decide it was horrible and delete the whole thing. I wasn’t content or at peace with anything. 

Nothing was what I wanted, but truthfully, I didn’t even know what I wanted. 

By mid December I had already gotten sick twice. I’m not often sick, and I took this as my bodies way of telling me to slow down.  I’m the type of person who feels guilty for taking breaks, so sometimes, unless my body starts to physically shut down, I won't allow myself to rest. (I know, it’s a totally horrible habit!) So at last I finally understood: I needed a break. I decided to stop all my social media, spend December with my family and friends and quit worrying so much.

a girl modeling in a white winter coat and long scarf
After I took a step back to really examine myself without the pressures of keeping up with social media, I came to a major conclusion; the reason I get myself to such a level of anxiety is because I am beginning to let fear driven perfectionism control my creativity rather than inspiration. Because I am so passionate and driven, I worry that if I don’t create enough, I’ll become irrelevant. I worry if I don’t work myself into the ground, it means I’m becoming lazy. I worry that I’m wasting my time, or wasting everyone else's time, or that I’m doomed to be an utter failure. I often get caught up in the comparison game. I look at all my favorite content creators and by the time I look back at whatever I’m doing, I think, this just isn’t good enough. 

In short, I fear that if I don't do everything perfectly, I shouldn't do anything at all. 

a close up image of black boots and a winter scarf

But I’ve made a decision: I am only going to create from a space of joy and inspiration. 

And that’s not to say I won't ever share the struggles and low points of my journey. Because sometimes that’s the truth, and it’s important to share that. But when I start noticing that the only reason I’m driven to create is because I’m afraid, rather than inspired, I know I need to reset myself a little. 

I’ve never wanted to spend my life surviving, I’ve always wanted to spend it thriving.

THINGS THAT HELPED ME:

1. STAYING HUMBLE

First of all, as creators these days, I think many of us are making a pretty big mistake when it comes to how we view our creations. The standard for content has become extremely high, so for my fellow perfectionists of the world, this fuels our perfectionism. 

It’s no longer just about creating things by our own standard of perfection, now we have to worry about everyone else’s. 

But recently, I had this revelation. I was feeling really nostalgic so I started rewatching all the videos that very first inspired me to start making my own, 

and I realized that literally all of my favorite YouTubers once made videos that sucked. 

Back when the internet was just becoming popular, the standards were so much lower which gave the seasoned veterans we all know and love now, plenty of room to grow and make mistakes. So we might look at how far they've come and think we should already be just like them, but that's like trying to run before you can crawl. 

a girl walking a white winter coat and white jeans with scarf
a girl wearing a white winter coat and long scarf

And guess what? All your favorite artists, and singers and basket weavers and any creator of any kind, once made things that sucked! They had to pay their dues, they had to give themselves time to learn and grow and make mistakes so that they could ultimately become the people they are now.  

There’s a quote out there that says "don’t compare your chapter 2 to someone else's chapter 20." And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. 

I’m still only in the very beginning stages of my journey. I haven’t put in enough time and effort to be where I’d like to be yet, and that’s okay. The moment I stopped resisting that, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I still have so much learning to do and many mistakes to make. 

So from now on, my plan is to just kind of... embrace the suck!

I no longer feel pressured to keep up with the status quo and I refuse to feel ashamed of anything that isn't "good enough." Instead, I’m kinda jazzed about making mistakes because I finally understand that it’s the only way I’ll ever get to where I want to be. 

portrait of a brunette girl wearing a chunky scarf

2. CLARITY COMES FROM ENGAGEMENT, NOT THOUGHT -Marie Forleo

I also realized (for like the millionth time in my life), that I learn best by doing, not by thinking. One of my all time favorite people to learn from when I’m feeling really confused is Marie Forleo. One of her biggest mantras is “clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” So yes, ultimately your goal is to get better and better overtime. But the only way your going to do that is if you allow yourself to actually create. Even if it doesn’t come out right, even if it sucks, it’s all just adding time into your craft and that’s a beautiful thing, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. 

Allowing perfectionism to get in your own way is only keeping you rooted in the same stagnant place while time keeps pressing on. 

a girl wearing a white winter coat and long scarf

3. IT'S OKAY TO CHANGE DIRECTIONS 

And finally, I realized that whenever I move back into this space of fear, I starve my creativity because I don’t allow myself to explore anymore. I keep getting caught in this idea that I’m not allowed to change and move in new directions. For years, I’ve had the idea drilled into me that one day I’d have to find my one thing, the thing I’d settle into and do for the rest of my life. But truthfully, that’s just not me. I am multi passionate and I love life! 

To me a full, rich life is one that is filled with all sorts of adventures!

I keep worrying that I’ll never be successful if I don’t stay boxed in, but you know what? I don’t think I define success by numbers. I define it by fulfillment and my well being. 

Not being authentic is not only doing a disservice to yourself, but to the rest of the world as well. 

a brunette girl in a winter coat and scarf

I can’t say I know exactly who I am yet, but I feel I’m getting closer to the true me all the time. My plan for this next year is to just keep trying to find her. I hope for many more adventures. I aim to follow whatever directions my creativity leads me in. I plan to find myself and my voice by doing, not by worrying. And I’m sure there’s going to be plenty I do that doesn’t come out quite right. 

But for once in my life, I’m going to embrace the suck. 

a girl dancing with text that says how to overcome perfectionism