Give Yourself A Break
Life is a hard journey, give yourself the break you deserve. No one is perfect.
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It’s almost the end of the year, which means it’s time for us all to look back on the mistakes we made this past year! Wait, no, it’s time to look forward to all of the seemingly impossible goals we have for next year! Hmmm…
Seriously, I hope you take a break at the end of the year. Whether it’s a long weekend or a few weeks, taking a break is important to ensure you have perspective on both the past year and the future. It is hard to process an entire year’s worth of work if you stay in the trenches, drowning in details.
However, to make the most of your break you need to be able to relax. That’s easier said than done! Getting in the way of relaxation are the same Three Ghosts that haunted Ebenezer:
The Ghost of Business Past: The regrets we have for mistakes we made.
The Ghost of Not Being Present: Thinking about the work we could be doing right now.
The Ghost of Business Future: The fear of the goals we need to achieve in the future.
I’ve been haunted by these ghosts for many years, and the result was restless sleep, not being present with my family and general anxiety. Those feelings robbed me of relaxation, so the breaks I took didn’t recharge my battery and give me perspective. As a result, I lost an opportunity to make better decisions. These ghosts are dangerous.
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Everyone deals with these ghosts in their own way. Some people use distractions to keep them from dwelling on it. Others use mindfulness to put things in perspective.
However, the only thing that worked for me was giving myself grace. Accepting that I was not perfect, and that I would never be perfect, was the first step. At the core is a simple question: “Would a smart, motivated person who did everything they could, just like I did, have done better?” Of course not.
At the core of these ghosts is an idealized version of ourselves. We don’t compare ourselves to our peers, we compare ourselves to idealized versions of our peers (or ourselves). We don’t ask whether a normal person would have made a mistake, we ask if a perfect person would have made a mistake. These ghosts are reflections of what we think we could be, even if it’s impossible.
So, give yourself a break. You are a smart, motivated person who works as hard as you can. Another, smart and motivated person isn’t going to do better than you have done, or will do in the future. Keep doing your best and wait for the results to follow. No more, no less.
I don’t know how I will do next year, but that’s okay. I am at peace with my ghosts, and it means I can appreciate the journey without knowing the destination. I hope you find a similar peace.
Speaking of which, The Breaking Point will be off for the rest of the year as I take a break. We’ll be back in 2024, see you then!
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