Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Humans use comparison all the time to better themselves, and there are ways of doing that effectively too. I honestly wonder what old Teddy would think of the myriad ways we have to compare ourselves now. Defining your own perfect requires you to take an honest look at your capabilities and desires before choosing a course of action. Of course this is important for both professional and personal ambitions. As you slide into the new year and start setting your goals for what you want to do in 2020, I hope you are able to take some time to reflect on what you DON’T want to do. Yes, there are certainly things that we all have to do that we don’t enjoy. However, there is also a whole gray area of things that maybe you should be doing, but it really would be ok to let those things go or delegate them. As childbirth professionals, and heck, just as human beings, you get to define your own perfect.
As a childbirth professional and small business owner, I never feel like I am doing enough. I don’t think I am alone in being overwhelmed at being required to constantly wear all the hats and learn how to do all the things. There is an entire chorus of people that want to tell me what I should be doing in every aspect of my business. I have spent a significant amount of time listening and learning from those voices. I will keep learning, but I have learned how to be more selective about the voices I let in to my head space. The loudest voices are not always the most helpful to me. Curating those incoming should messages is definitely a goal of mine for 2020. I am defining my own perfect by focusing on professional development and growth.
For me, this looks like amplifying broad public health messages through my social media and actually being social there with people who have similar goals. I honestly will be limiting my time there more to hopefully increase intentions and decrease comparisons. I’m looking forward to connecting with people whose passions align with mine at at least one conference this year, and maybe even applying to speak at one. I will definitely be reading some new books that are professionally relevant and might challenge my thinking. I will of course continue to serve my clients and students too, while doing the day-to-day of running my small business.
My perfect doesn’t have to look like yours, and that is the great thing about defining your own perfect. If you are keen on comparisons though, I want to give you an “I Don’t” list too. I read this article a while ago talking about how we need to be more transparent to get rid of this need to be SUPER everything to everyone. It resonated with me so much, especially in this comparison-happy American culture that I live in right now. In the hopes that my honestly helps you better define your perfect, here is my “I Don’t” list for you:
- I don’t have a system for everything. This very much makes me feel like a failure, and is something I need to work on, but I really just don’t.
- I don’t have everything organized. I dream of getting my physical and virtual work stuff organized. I’m not sure when or if that is ever going to happen to my satisfaction. Perhaps there is beauty in the chaos, but mostly it just frustrates me.
- I don’t ask for help even when I really need it. This is true in every part of my life, and not something I am proud of at all.
- I don’t do hard sell or scarcity marketing techniques. They annoy me. I much prefer to stick to my target market and firmly believe in an abundance mindset.
- I don’t protect my time well, though this is a muscle I am most definitely working to build.
Defining your own perfect means writing your own expectations and letting go of what anyone else thinks you should be doing. Being a childbirth professional can mean that you are often asked to push your boundaries, so defining what those are and checking in with them regularly is important. Knowing your capabilities and when to refer out is important. Sometimes that means you buffer your schedule more, and sometimes that means saying no to a potential client because you know yourself. Sometimes it means teaching one less class a year or fine tuning your social media to better speak to your target market. Listen to the messages out there, take what you need, and leave the rest.