Most articles are conventional and safe. This is not one of them.
I want to share with you something that most people shy away from talking about.
The reason is, I’m two weeks into my twenty sixth year on this beautiful place called earth, and one of my goals is to be more transparent and open with everything in my life.
And a big part of that is doing that in this space, right here.
Here it goes…
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in the last year is approaching my work from a place of love and expansion, in the present moment. I often get caught up in what I need to do or in the things I haven’t done yet.
I have a lot of judgment around what I think I should have done each day, week, or year. I look at where I am and wonder why I’m not there. I feel like I can always do better. I feel like I can always be working harder or doing more. It creates a lot of guilt, and frankly, I’m ready to release it.
After all, doing what you love is something that I teach other people. If you’re judging yourself based on what you haven’t done, it’s hard to experience a lot of love. I think I heard someone say once that what you help others with is what you often need the most. I think I can relate to that.
In that spirit, what I’m really trying to realize is that we are all exactly where we need to be, regardless of where we want to go, or where we think we “should” be by now.
I’m also not proud of the fact that I’ve often compared myself to my peers in the past.
It’s hard not to look at a product launch of one of your peers and wonder why yours didn’t go as earth-shatteringly well (even when it did better than you expected based on your past successes). Sometimes you wonder why your competitors got that speaking engagement, or that publisher, or that many more followers than you on Twitter.
It seems petty, but I admit that I do this sometimes, and it’s a work in progress.
This is something that I don’t think enough entrepreneurs, leaders and bloggers talk about. We bellow and roar about what awesome goals we have, and how we should all be doing epic things. We cheer each other on. And I think that’s great and absolutely necessary. But I think it’s easy to avoid talking about the real challenges and struggles we have on a daily basis.
I want to be more transparent about my challenges to inspire or encourage others. At the very least, it’s therapeutic for me to be open and vulnerable with this stuff. Even if it doesn’t make me look like a badass, I can live with that.
So this year I’m making a major effort to be more in this moment, to really enjoy, acknowledge and appreciate where I am right now. I want to be more proud of the great things that I’ve done, and look to what I want to do with anticipation and excitement, not judgment about what I have yet to do.
I think like a lot of people, I look to the summit to see what I want to accomplish, and neglect to look behind at how far I’ve come.
Here are a few of the accomplishments I haven’t celebrated enough:
- Launched Trailblazer, our flagship product, which has resulted in amazing success stories and an incredible community. Each time we sold out the course, and it’s become incredibly apparent how much this message and training is needed in the world.
- Moved from “by the hour” coaching to working with people for six months or more at a time. Out of the seven I took on this year, five have quit their jobs and the others are on track to do the same soon. They’re building remarkable businesses. I’m incredibly grateful for the people I get to work with and mentor.
- Hired our first employees! We’ve moved from a husband and wife team to bringing other people into our work. Adrianne is our new customer happiness ambassador, and Megan is our new project wrangling emissary. Both have been amazing additions, and we’re incredibly grateful to have them as part of our growing team.
One thing I’ve learned in the past year is that it’s important to acknowledge your successes, celebrate them, and not get caught up in what others have done.
So here’s another really vulnerable admission…
There’s one *really big* goal that I have for this coming year. It involves something that scares me to death, and it’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done.
People have been asking me for this for a long time, and it’s something I’ve thought about doing, but was never quite sure I wanted to, or if it would even work.
But, I’m seriously considering taking this on, even though it will involve a ton of work, and will require me to give more than I ever have. It will also mean that I’ll have to be more transparent and vulnerable than I ever have.
When I do this, I’m going to need your help.
… And in the next post, I’ll share what that is. Stay tuned. :)
PS: Until then, I’d love to know what you think about this whole vulnerability/judgment thing.
Do you ever judge yourself for not being where you want to be? Am I the only one that does this?
Behind the computer screen it is so easy to be garded. Thank you for sharing your petty little thoughts and your dreams.
I have the same feelings you do; why did they hire him and not me or how did she get that done and not me or why does that cool blogger mention those other bloggers and not me?!
Luckily though I think the same people are thinking the same thing about us ;) Congratulations on your product launch, your first employees and that move in coaching, those are some incredible changes. Drink a glass of champaigne tonight from me!
I am looking forward to hearing about your future plans, good luck!
@DanielMWood You’re right, it’s really easy to portray yourself as a different person on the web than in real life. I think we all do this to a certain extent, even in real life. But transparency and openness is definitely something worth aiming for.
I couldn’t agree more. It is so easy to look at what others are doing and compare our own successes and failures. After all, the accomplishments of others are much easier to track ourselves against… Because the alternative is to measure our progress against our potential, which is incredibly intangible.
I admire your effort to be in the moment going forward. I too struggle with being in the moment as opposed to looking ahead and thinking about everything I need to get done. I hope you’ll keep us up to date with how you are able to be in the moment and how we might apply that to our own lives. I know I want to work on being present and investing in those closest to me – sometimes they are the ones easiest to ignore because we take for granted the fact they are always there for us.
Keep up the awesome writing and work! I appreciate it!
@barrettallenbrooks It’s something I’m really trying to get better at. It may sound a bit cheesy (because it was on Oprah?) but The Power of Now has been really transformative for me. It’s one of those rare books that I find myself reading over and over.
I am right there with you on this one. I am always judging myself and my work. I’m always finishing one thing and moving onto the next without ever taking a minute to appreciate what I just finished. For one–I launched my very first virtual workshop in September and had 5 spots to fill. I filled 3 of them before the workshop even went public (my newsletter list gets first dibs) and then I filled the final two spots a few days after it went public. HUGE accomplishment for me and HUGE push out of my comfort zone, since I’d been scared in the past to work with people one on one. But did I celebrate when I filled those 5 spots? No. I should have. But instead I just told myself I did good, but I needed to start writing that book I’ve been planning for months.
Thanks for this reminder. I’m gonna buy a bottle of my favorite champagne on the way home from my day job and celebrate filling the 5 spots in my first workshop. Thanks, Jonathan!!
@ProcrastWriter Really glad to hear that you’re doing this, and good to know I’m not the only one.
Hey Jonathan…I found that since I started writing, the best thing I could do was be 100% open and vulnerable in front of others. I have written about personal things that I haven’t seen many other blogs even touch…but connecting on a heartfelt level and showing that I’m purely a human and not a roaring success or a launch or a bunch of words, really makes me feel like I connected in the moment with others. It’s hard to explain actually…..but it feels better to me :)
This is such a breath of fresh air Jonathan! I had suspected many of the people I look up to do have moments like this but of course it’s not the sort of thing that’s very easy to talk about is it?
Which is a shame because a bit of honesty and humility can really help some people connect to your message sometimes.
But yes, I’m doing this constantly – definitely time to step back and celebrate my successes for a change!
@NeonPaul You’re right. There are a few leaders I admire that are very good at this. But they are the few. I think we’d benefit from more of this. Not that I’m great at it or anything. Frankly, I suck at this sort of thing. But I acknowledge it.
In this aggressive society, it is only normal to have such thoughts. It is what you do with them that matters IMHO. I see some people rocketing to success only to flame our or not really help anybody. Slow and steady wins the race. Just the things you mentioned here make it sound like you are kicking ass. Kudos!
@GeorgeDonnelly I definitely think agression has a lot to do with it. Maybe we need to just chill the fuck out more often.
When I get that way I try to remember all the goals I have achieved in life already, take comfort in that and be grateful for that. I think humility is an important quality for success.
It’s always funny when you (I) see someone who is where you want to be (you) say that they want to be where someone else is. Thanks for sharing, Jonathan. I look forward to what comes next.
@seth.leonard Ha, it’s so true Seth. Funny how that works.
Lynn Fang says
Thanks for opening this discussion. I feel it’s been missing from the general conversation. A more honest look into the ups and downs of this journey is what’s really needed. Otherwise, it’s false to readers who will come to think everything is up and great all the time. I’m trying to cultivate a sense of gratitude for all the progress I’ve made, even if I wish it was further along. It’s hard to keep perspective when you need to launch yourself to financial sustainability. I’ve decided to be much more open in my writing, really pushing to express what my heart wants to say, even if it isn’t popular and no one bats an eyelash. For me, this is the only way I can truly be free and grow to be truly self-empowered. How can one truly be free if there are so many forces influencing you to talk about one thing or another? I want to break free from all of these chains. Thanks so much for the reminder, now I’ll go back to indulging in my progress happily, from a place of love. :)
Ah, how I sympathize with this.
As an artist and creative person, I can’t tell you how many pursuits I’ve stopped working on because someone was “better than I’d ever be” at the same thing.
The same thing happens all the time to be in the realm of business.
I wish I could share more, but my fingers are screaming at me to stop typing. :) Mandolin practice is tough.
@pocketparamedic I can relate. Sometimes I feel like I have so much electricity in my fingers it hurts. ;)
Yes, all the time. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my career and personal life, so yeah… I expected myself to be at a different place in my life.
Your vulnerability is a good thing, IMHO. Witnessing successful people struggle with the same things that everyone else does makes you realize that we’re all coming from the same place, so success is possible for anybody if you want it bad enough.
Thanks for sharing this :)
This has been a hot topic recently. Copyblogger’s Internet Marketing For Smart People just put out something about authenticity and liked back to the Feel Good Naked piece.
My rapper-friend ‘Famous’ is making a video series to document his journey to fame. It’s called Road To Center Stage and I feel it matches what you’re about here.
For myself, I see it all as an attitude.
If you’re willing to share, whatever you feel called to share, when you feel called to share it, with a focus on providing value for yourself and others, you can’t go wrong.
Some people are willing to transparently share it all, but just have no need to. Others are not willing to share anything, but have it all uncovered by the paparazzi.
Each individual knows for themselves what actions to take and when, and what suits them personally. The world is filled with variety.
That being said, I thank you deeply for heeding the call Jon. Rock on sir!
@spiritsentient That’s really cool. I think that this is something that people are struggling with a lot, and I’m glad that other people are talking about it too. Welcome to the conversation man.
This is good to see. I’ve felt all the same things and I’ve come to the same conclusion. I got tired of trying to appear a certain way in order to achieve it. Posturing, I was taught that is. I get the point but it’s too demanding to always be posturing. I’d rather just be me. Authentic. I am working on it too. Great post!
@KenJensen Yeah, I’d rather feel good because it’s the way I actually feel. I understand the “fake it till you make it” mentality, but what if you could just feel good… because you wanted to?
Do I judge myself? Absolutely. Wish I could stop completely, but I suspect this will be a ‘life practice’ instead of something I’ll just stop doing entirely. You mentioned, “I think I heard someone say once that what you help others with is what you often need the most. I think I can relate to that.” I love this sentiment & have also heard it said like this. “You teach what you need to learn”. So, when I find myself creating a new product, program or experience for my tribe, I ask myself, “What am I seeking to learn from this?” It can also be about “If you desire something in your own life, give it to someone else first.” Maybe in spending less time judging other people, I’ll find I’ll start being kinder to myself.
Kudo’s for writing such a vulnerable piece.
Thanks for this post, Jonathan. Me too. If I harnessed all the time and energy I expend judging my self and my work so harshly imagine what I could have accomplished!! Reminds me of the joke, “The whippings will continue until morale improves.” I’ve known this for a long time and I’ve tried everything – but it was just a few days ago that I realized I’d finally broken through to periods of simply loving what I’m doing :)
@meganever I’m sooooo happy to hear that Megan! You are awesome, and I’m so grateful to work with you.
I was thinking yesterday about how once you get what you want it’s not exciting anymore – I don’t think that’s a bad thing if you’re aware of it and looking at it as a game. For me I always want to move into better and better houses, but once I’m in the house it’s not really any different from the old house. We always get used to our new reality, and that’s just how it works. So I don’t think I need to appreciate my new house MORE, I just have to recognize that this will happen and not believe that a different house will make my life better – that a different house will actually feel just the same.
@laurakr That’s a good way to look at it Laura. Games are a lot more fun, even when you get caught up in them.
One of the biggest obstacles that I run into is exactly what you mention here. That there is a destination, this place called “Success,” and that we’ll all recognize it when we get there.
So far as I can tell, there’s only the process of creation, and it’s full of doubt and fear and yet we’re compelled to do it anyway. I can’t remember who said it, but I think we know we’re coming from our calling when we do it no matter what, and we can withstand the slings and arrows (or the silence and indifference) along the way.
I know you have goals–I think we all have to have goals to get the stuff done that we need to. But you also come with this authentic place and people are going to follow you for that, not how many readers or Twitter followers or Facebook friends you have.
Thanks so much for posting this–looking forward to hearing more!
@JeffMunn Yeah… good point. Is success a destination?
Ever notice a bunch of marathon runners after a marathon. Racing to the results board to it can tell them if they did okay or not. Competition and comparison are rapid in our society in everything from art to sport and business because they are used as the motivators. Kudos to you for seeing what is really going on with you and doing something about it. In the end we are all just sponges that can absorb any type of energy so it is easy and normal to find behaviors in ourselves that we don’t like in others. Awareness is the key!
@JudyMeades That’s a good point. I used to be like that a lot when I was running regularly. Eventually I stopped trying to go for better times and just focused on enjoying my running. Sometimes it meant I ran a lot slower, sometimes much faster. But I always had more fun.
@JudyMeades That’s a good point. I used to be like that a lot when I was running regularly. Eventually I stopped trying to go for better times and just focused on enjoying my running. Sometimes it meant I ran a lot slower, sometimes much faster. But I always had more fun.
hell yes, i judge myself for not being where i am “supposed” to be! it was so crippling at some points that i needed to create a 30-day “reboot” program for myself where i focused on the ways i ALREADY am the person i am becoming and that experiment was the the impetus for starting my personal blog. https://thelivingdreamboard.com/challenges/the-challenge/ going through the process was a great celebration of what is, and minimized the focus on what isn’t yet.
Being vulnerable is offering yourself to another not knowing if they will keep you safe or wound you. Those of us here will cradle you heart in our hands and never let it fall. Your gift to the world is treasured by those you have already helped. I can’t wait to see where your muse leads you next.
@ChaoticKatieP Thanks Katie, I’m really excited about what’s coming. Straddling the line between excitement for the next switchback on the path, and being here now.
yeah, I judge and criticise myself too. This whole last month I’ve been struggling with this exact same issue. But then I realized how far I have actually come this year. From being on social welfare to running a profitable business and traveling full time. See, when I write it down it actually sounds like a pretty big accomplishment! So thanks for reminding us not to be so harsh on ourselves :-)
Timmy Deleu says
I’ve done it many times and still do it. Sometimes I get lost in thoughts and I find it hard to get back into the now. But hey I’m making progress and that’s how it should be.
You’re not alone. I keep reminding myself to enjoy the journey. I read somewhere that if we do not celebrate our successes they will fade from our lives. On reflection, I have actually accomplished a lot.
@heatherlp That’s a good point. They’ll always be fading, never acknowledged. That’s a shitty way to live.
Releasing the conditioning of how we ‘should be’ or where we ‘should be’ so we can actually feel connected and present in life now. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing more of your experience. Here’s a poem that connects to the subject…always feeling like we need to prepare for something else:
The ingrained sense of preparing
The next thing
Always the next thing
Achieving mastery then moving on
Always preparing for the next thing until…
Finally events come that are what we think we’ve been preparing for
We feel the high of arriving
A moment of achievement and recognition
We’ve made it
Until the event is over
Then there is something else
There is always something else
Until there is nothing else
It is always here
It is always complete
It is always awaiting our recognition of it
As we live into it and join with it, it is more fully revealed to us
We have prepared enough
We are good enough
We have always been good enough
We can live the dynamic, ever evolving experience of now
Just ask the questions
You’ll know when you know
@FullExpression I really like that. Who is it by?
@JonathanMead I wrote it (Christine Yole). I have a whole series called, “Grounding the Light.” If you’re interested I can send them to you. The other collection is called, “Poems to Inspire Life in Full Expression.”
Sure, I judge myself for not being where I want to be. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, though. In the beginning, the end goal seemed impossibly far away–it’s a quote from your book that helped me get through that. (“If you only do two things–take consistent action and lose your fear of failure–you’ll already have a 95% chance of success.” from Reclaim Your Dreams. This keeps coming up–I’ve been quoting this all over the place these past few days.)
Now that I have some accomplishments to look back on, the gap between where I am and where I want to be has taken on a different feel–now, instead of hopeless distance, it’s deadlines, rushing, feeling behind. Thinking about what I want my life to be like and how I want to feel each day has helped me restructure things to get away from that. (Also your wisdom! Thanks!)
As for comparing, jengresham ‘s post Dare to be Similar (https://everydaybright.com/2011/02/dare-to-be-similar/) was a huge help to me in releasing my envy and being genuinely happy for others’ successes.
You rock, Jonathan. Here’s to more love! Can’t wait to see what you do next!
@cara_steinjengresham Crazy how we reach a goal and think… this it! The end! And then we set up new things to worry about. I’m wondering if it’s not any attainment of something, but rather a breakthrough that happens now.
And I *love* that post by Jen. Thanks for reminding me of it.
@JonathanMead @cara_stein Thanks you guys! I struggle with this too of course. It’s why I think it’s so vital to have a formal, *personal* definition of success to look at and remind yourself what the end goal really is. Maybe success is building a business whe spending weekends with your family. Maybe it’s simply being courageous. When we feel jealousy, I think we’re getting caught up in someone else’s definition. Enough philosophy though. Keep shining, Jonathan!
Every day. Thank you for saying this out loud. I have been teaching people for years to “be there,” and I do it well, but every day I notice that I am judging my progress less than kindly, looking for the failing within that “needs work”, speaking to myself in such a way that I would send me packing if I could. It’s a big part of why I am here. I want a community where we can say what it is we fear, and stand by each other as we face it down and celebrate.
@sunagape Thanks for helping create that community right here.
Jonathan – You are so amazing!!! Whenever I tell anybody about you I always say that you are so smart, inspiring, knowledgeable, and accomplished & you’re only 26!!! (I actually started saying that when you were only 24).
I think it’s awesome that you are sharing this vulnerability so many of us do feel – and you’re right, we need to celebrate who we are and what we’ve already accomplished today. As you probably remember from our coaching sessions, I often had trouble feeling good about all I have already accomplished and all that I am (mother, entreprenuer, paddleboarder, supportive friend/partner, etc) because I am disappointed that I haven’t done some of the things I really want to be doing or made a serious effort at a new career that would really fulfill me.
I’m 43 now, so when I look at you at just 26 (and now the amazing work your wife is doing as well) I think that you’ve moved mountains and shared your wonderful gifts with so many people, that you have so much to be proud of, and many years ahead of you to do even more if you wish. You have every reason to celebrate!!
I would still like to help you celebrate one of these days soon over a delicious Portland beer!
@tchapman27 You’re too sweet Tracy. And yes! We must have that beer! Immediately!
Jonathan. Of course I judge myself. Am I not enough? Am I too much? How can I make a difference? How can I do more? Less? How can I get my business going without hurting my family? How is it that I have fallen off track? How is it that I get easily manipulated? How is it that I am not good enough. Feeling vulnerable is one thing—not have resources and support to help you with that vulnerability is another. I have a wonderful husband that lets me be vulnerable but allows me to come to my own conclusions. I have hurt him. I have hurt me. We all judge ourselves, we all JUDGE! But I (I am not speaking for everyone) need to understand and value all of our vulnerabilties and learn from them. It is amazing the insight you have. I am now 38 and just gaining that insight. Thank you for that! Keeping being vulberable and honest. Honesty is key to EVERYTHING!!!!
@lotzacolours Thanks for helping me create this space. I think it’s something important that we often neglect. I’m learning a lot from my wife when it comes to this.
as creatives, we have that romantic mind and soul which is fun and fleeting and freeing. yet, it is also like a big spotlight on our shortcomings, fears and anxieties. that’s how we know we truly care for something/someone – if we judge our involvement and progress. just by opening up, you’ve taken a step. and have given the rest of chickens permission to follow! can’t wait to hear the big announcement!
@mjcwriter I love that you related this to chickens. Look out for my post on Thursday, where I’ll reveal the big scary thing.
I relate to this. I’ll compare myself to the ideal people that are living the life they love and traveling. I’m still working and enjoying what I do… But you are right. It’s better to be coming from a place of “nowness” rather than idealizing the future and our peers. Thank you for this post on vulnerability. It just makes the people we admire look more human.
Becoming vulnerable is the best way to catapult you to your next greatest endeavor. You free yourself of any old thinking that may not be in your best interest and by expressing it you release it. And sometimes it is scary but you know what they say, do what you fear. thank you
@MaryFaulkner You know, I never quite thought about it that way, but you’re right Mary. I’m going to keep that in mind from now on.
You may be interested in listening to this story… It’s about the trap of always feeling not good enough no matter how much success we achieve – and a pretty interesting solution (stepping outside the box) https://www.pathwaytohappiness.com/sound_files/not_good_enough.mp3
You are definitely not the only one!
I do think we can sit back and reflect ‘in the moment’ too!
Thanks for sharing this. This is something that I”ve run into quite a bit over the last several months. One of the traps of comparison that I’ve been caught in from time to time is wondering why I’m not as a far as some of the people who started at the same time that I did. Thanks for the reminder to celebrate our success. I think we don’t do that nearly enough.
@skooloflife Yeah, that can be really especially frustrating. There’s some people that “started” around the same time I did, that are way far “ahead” of me. Something I don’t think we often realize is what other people have done before they “started.” Woah, that was a lot of ” “
@skooloflife Yeah, that can be really especially frustrating. There’s some people that “started” around the same time I did, that are way far “ahead” of me. Something I don’t think we often realize is what other people have done before they “started.” Woah, that was a lot of ” “
Can we get a G+ button in here, cuz I that was awesome & I am going to share it everywhere! Thank You for being so transparent!
@MistyDenson I do need to get on that! If I know people will use it, I’ll definitely add it.
There is no way to judge ourselves out of the world of judgement. The whole paradigm/mind of ‘carrot and stick’ needs to go. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I will meet you there. -Rumi”
@JasonWDigges That’s a beautiful quote, a lot of potent transmission there. Thanks for that reminder Jason.
“Do you ever judge yourself for not being where you want to be?” Only since I’ve been able to walk.
I was just having this conversation to myself yesterday. As I began falling into another bout of, “You didn’t get everything you wanted done today,” I let myself think of what I did do. About each of the little baby steps towards each of my life goals. And I finally allowed myself to realize that I have come SO FAR. Even in the span of a year.
Someone made the analogy (wish to God I can remember who) of Einstein’s rocket ship. You know, the one with the astronaut who never ages, who doesn’t really get the sense of going anywhere? Meanwhile, time is wooshing by on Earth.* That’s you, that’s me, that’s everyone who has ever decided to make the active decision to improve their lives by chasing their heart’s desire. It’s impossible to see how fast you’re going because you’re on the rocket ship, blasting through time and space, without any way to relate to ‘real time’ back on Earth.
Continue doing your work. It’s helpful. It’s good. And it sure as hell helps the rest of us scaredy cats to hear that even guys with as much chutzpah as you get the willies every once in a while. ;)
Ever try Mindful Based Stress Reduction? It’s an awesome meditation method of bringing yourself back to the present moment when your mind starts spending too much time dwelling on the past, worrying about the future or making up stories to entertain itself. It also teaches you to accept things as they are now without judgment. My work performance has improved beyond anything I have ever been able to achieve before. I sleep better. I have less anxiety. I could go on and on. Therapists at my local hospital host sessions, which is how I became involved with it, but you can find meetup groups or local churches in your area that host sessions as well.
How refreshing ! I have been waiting/hoping for someone to acknowledge the struggle. Admittedly I can’t read everything that is out there, but it does get a little frustrating when it seems everyone else is just sailing along unfettered “livin’ the dream”. Thank you for starting the discussion about the challenges that even an “illuminated mind” such as yourself faces.
@WhosCoachinYou I think if we all realize that we’re living our *own* dream, we’d probably be a lot better off.
You are not the only one! Nope. It’s easy to compare and judge. I often feel like I’ve fallen behind, but then I try to acknowledge that I’m on my own schedule. We need more of this kind of honesty + vulnerability!
No way in hell are you the only one brother. Count me in for an insane dose of guilt on a daily basis for what I haven’t accomplished. I think that internal force that makes us want to do more is actually pushing us to be more of who we are, to show more of who we are, so we can really share the good stuff we have to offer the world. Every time I push to do more, I find I need to step back and let things flow and then I become more productive. And dude, you’ve helped me more than you could ever imagine.
@murphtim Thanks Tim, I know you struggle with this too. I’m really proud of what you’ve created so far and am looking forward to what you create. I think your business has the potential to be something really incredible.
I always compare myself to others, especially when it comes to my relationship, I look at you and Ev’Yan and wish that my four-year relationship was as blissful as yours, I look at my friends that are making giant leaps in attaining their goals while I seem to make baby-steps. I struggle with everything you said. Thank you for admitting it, I’m glad I’m not alone!
Side note: I dreamt that some huge celebrity paid you 150,000K to coach them!
Its funny how things turn up if you look out for them.This time yesterday I was having a bit of a crisis about this very same point. I was being very hard on myself and was running up a huge list of ” must do’s”. Said to myself “bugger this for a bunch of soldiers” so I took the dog and my wifre for a long walk in the woods. Just reconnected to what was important, which is; being here, alive now. Will read futre posts with interest.
@yourpotentialrealised It’s amazing how walking, being in the moment really reconnects you to what matters. Hiking for me is almost a panacea for whatever mental/emotional stuff I’m going through.
You’re only 26! :) Still young and have accomplished so much already, so go easy on yourself and continue celebrating the things you have done. :)
“we are all exactly where we need to be, regardless of where we want to go, or where we think we “should” be by now”
There is power in this statement. Whatever we envision for oursleves, our plans become a reality when it’s the right time. When we follow this path, we realize that there is no stress or judgment. Our only commitment is to do the best we can moment after moment and celebrate each day whatever the results…
Thanks for inspiring us through your authenticity, you are really unique.
@justfeelgreat Hey, thanks for stopping by Stephane. Haven’t seen you around in a while!
First of all, i read your blog for the first time and i really think it’s very very interesting.
Secondly i apologize for my english since i’m italian and i can’t write it perfectly.
I really recognize myself in what you wrote, sadly i’m always thinking about what i should be doing instead of what i am doing.
That’s because right now i’m not happy with some aspects of my life but i can’t find the right way to come out of it.
So, while i can be satisfied of what i’ve done….i still compare mysefl with others which seem to me more successful or happy than me.
I’m talking not just about work, but about everything in life, like for example sincere and open relations with others.
So, YES, i’m also thinking to these kind of things, even if i recognize i shouldn’t.
@Matteofan It’s good to know I’m not the only one. I definitely think that you can come out of it, but I’ve realized that the way out isn’t by thinking about more stuff you’re not doing. I think it’s by really enjoying what’s in front of you, and expanding that.
@JonathanMead …but what if you’re not sure about what you have in front? So, for example, if you realize you are really doing the wrong job, but you don’t know which is the right one?
I’ll be more precise: i studied to be a lawyer, and i work in a lawfirm since 2 years. And i think it’s not my future, i don’t like it.
So…it’s very difficult to understand if it’s me that i’m not enjoying it…or if it really is not the right choise for me…
@Matteofan@JonathanMead Hi–mind if I chime in as someone who left the practice of law? It took me awhile to see a way out, but the nice thing about the legal training is that it will open a lot of doors for you. I run into people all the time who are “recovering” lawyers and most are happier than the ones who stayed. Be patient, learn about yourself and what you love, and it will become more apparent what you should try next. And don’t get too caught up in the idea that the next choice you make is the one that has to stick, either. I’ve been a lawyer, a consultant, a speaker, a sales professional, a blogger, a coach, a meditation teacher … you get the point. Find things you love to do and do them and the rest will take care of itself.
Thanks for the support Jeff…it really is hard, because you study for 6 years and then 2 of law practice, and then you realize it’s not what you want.
Also here in Italy you don’t have so many opportunities like you could have if you live, for example in New York….so it really is difficult at 29 being this kind of “lost”.
But you are right, the right thing is to keep doors open and expecially and open mind to changes and opportunities….trying to focus on what we love to do.
Jonathan, I’ve been an avid reader of yours for quite some time. I am an “empowerment coach” for women and girls who need the motivation, confidence and energy to succeed. Reading your work has been inspiring and refreshing for me. You’re not like anyone else out there in the blog realm or coaching realm, for that matter. While others model major “guru” internet marketers, I try to watch and model your work.
This post spoke straight to me. My husband and I are 28, and he’s fully supportive, but I’ve found myself comparing to others in my industry. Sometimes wondering “why haven’t I gotten those results?”. And it’s therapeutic and necessary for me to be fully transparent. Everything you wrote is what we ALL feel. But nobody talks about it. I knew others would criticize me for telling the truth to my audience in what I’m going through, but they love it! It connects and bonds us even more.
I applaud you for everything you’ve done. You and your wife are a POWER TEAM! Continue the amazing work you’re bringing to the world. Illuminated Mind absolutely ROCKS.
@khumphrey7 Aww, thank you Katie, I really appreciate that. One of my major goals is to not be a guru internet marketer. Glad I’m succeeding at that so far.
I’ve appreciated your honesty since finding your blog a while back. As everyone(!) has said we all spend time trying to “measure up” against others in our field, and it’s obviously common to forgot to see how far you’ve come already instead of thinking you’re not where you “should” be already.
In Buddhist philosophical terms, we will NEVER be satisfied, EVER, period. Our lives are a constant craving of something to be better/different.
You’ve hit the nail on the head – the thing to do is be right where we are now, and be ok with it. This doesn’t mean we give up on goals/aims/plans (whatever you want to call them) we just recognise we are on a journey.
(Yeah, and Buddhist’s have “goals” as well – I’m aiming for enlightenment, escape from the cycle of re-birth and resultant suffering – it’s a long term plan, and could take many lifetimes, but when I look back I can feel that I’m a more contented person than I was even 10 years ago!)
Keep up your inspiration :-)
@KateBacon That’s a good point, I agree. I don’t think we’ll ever really be satisfied, in terms of our life’s work. But sometimes I wonder about the whole enlightenment thing, and finding it in a few decades, or in future lifetimes. What if enlightenment wasn’t based on time?
Is perfectionism haunting you? When I read your work I am awed by your insight and love for others. Be gentle with yourself. Give to yourself those gifts you give to others..love and patience and hope. Be here now and allow your gifts to develop as they are meant to. There are not shoulds only what is meant to unfold. We are here loving you not expecting from you. Look at why there is guilt and shame. Toss out with the wind through your window. Do your actions with love for yourself. Be kind. You are worthwhile and deserve it.
@LeslieWolman You’re such a warm, encouraging person Leslie. Thanks for these reminders, I really appreciate it.
I am 47 and the youngest of three siblings. I have a Master’s in engineering and am well placed in a medium sized company, making plenty of money. Yet I am the underachiever in the family, even when you factor out age. I have friends who are far more successful than me. Yet, I have learned to keep the ghosts of unfulfilled dreams away through a few life experiences of mine and others:
One married couple who are some of my best friends seemed to be so much more successful. About 10 years ago, around age 38, she had a breakdown, and was diagnosed as bipolar. Roughly seven years of hell ensued, nearly ending their marriage. It has had permanent impact on their marriage and the lives of their four kids. But they are okay; maybe even better than okay now. Most people never knew what was going on. From this I learned that most people face their own private hells. Furthermore, success comes and goes.
My father died when I was 28. His greatest success is in his three children, and by extension his grandchildren. Yet he never met my son. Your biggest success may be something you influence every day that finds fruition in the future, and you may never know.
I lead a technical team as on-site contractors, rebuilding an experimental facility. We were successful by company standards, had a great team spirit, and were very good at making our customer successful. Win-win-win. Yet they picked another company for the next contract, because they believed they would be more expert in running the facility. Sometimes, the dream you fulfill may not be your own. And you may not get so much as a “thank you”.
So what do you do? Do the right thing. For the right person. At the right time. Success is measured over minutes and hours this way, not over a lifetime, or even a budgeting period. Know that we aren’t on this planet for our own dreams, but for the greater good.
Thanks for sharing Jonathan, while I’m no where near where I had hoped or ‘expected’ to be at 38 years old, when I look at some of the challenges I have faced with my family over the past several years, the fact that I’m still standing is alone something I need to celebrate more.
Machiavelli Id says
Jonathan, thank you. Openness and vulnerability are two of the most awesome/epic/badass things anyone can offer (not to mention helpful, and reassuring, and did I say badass? Oh, I did. Still… badass!).
I’m a goddess of successful self-employment to my friends, but a relentless underachiever in my own mind. Comparing myself only to those I’ve already judged “better” (including you!), how could I possibly wind up feeling good about where I am? You’re so right it hurts. I’m pretty damn good at being me, and I get better at that every day. Thanks for the mental elbow in the ribs!
@Machiavelli Id You’re welcome, happy to elbow any time. :)
jonathan, thank you for your reply back and by you expressing yourself in this post on Vulnerability you ignited lots of interaction with so many people. that is wonderful and truly a benefit of your authenticity with the post. I think people are so bombarded with information they are truly grateful for authenticity. And it is nice when it isn’t just for ROI or conversion rate and you really connect. Congratulations on your business growing and your success. thanks
Hey Jonathan, I’m going through exactly the same thing.
I’ve found it really useful to take time once a week (usually Sunday afternoon, on the beach) and journal about my small victories, proud moments, learnings, things I’m grateful for, etc… from the past week.
It’s never long before I have several pages full of goodness, and by the time I’m done, I’m delighted and I’ve totally forgotten about the few things I didn’t get around to, or that didn’t pan out.
Keep it up, you’re doing great, and I look forward to hearing about the next big project!
Great post. I recently went through a big transformation where I realized I was living for future success and not embracing the present. Even though I was happy, I was never really “Here” because I was always thinking about getting “there”. I realized that when you live like this, you never get “there”. It’s a way of life that keeps you from really embracing the experiences you are having in anticipation of ones you hope will show up down the line. This transformation has entirely lightened up my life. I finally realized that no matter what my life is about, there will never be a time when I get to the end of it and realize that I wasn’t enough. Surprisingly, it has given me even more drive and passion to create and live life to the fullest.
Love the work you’re doing. Cheers.
I think it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. Thank you for sharing this publicly on your blog and for all that you do.
hey jonathan! hello new friend. :)
i’m lara. i disovered your site a couple weeks ago and this is the first post i have read. i want to thank you for your bravery. i think the world needs more people like you, doing things the rest of us see as amazing and still sharing your vulnerability. it gives people hope. we don’t expect you to have it all figured out, because who really does! allowing us to see your humanity is one of the best gifts you can offer.
and you are certainly not alone in your struggles. i think we are all trained to be perfectionists. we learn from an early age how to judge ourselves and compare ourselves to others. no matter how far we have come, we still measure our success by how far we have left to go. this is something that i too have been learning to undo.
(oops! ran out of characters. continued…)
(continued from last post…)we tend to think of enlightenment as this pinnacle of understanding that we will reach somewhere down the road. but something i have realized just recently is that enlightenment is at hand. right now, in this moment, if you are immersed in what you are doing, if you are expressing yourself and creating and loving this moment as it unfolds, you are enlightened. enlightenment is not something to be worked for, but something to live from one moment to the next. it’s really so simple! the key is to enjoy the now.
i hope you find some value in these words, as people do every day when they read yours. :)
best of luck in your next big venture! and happy venturing.
I had this exact conversation yesterday with a woman business owner – about how much happier she was since she had stopped kicking herself for not being where she thought she ‘should’ be and what a relief it had been to get out of the comparison with other entrepreneurs.
I think (well I KNOW!) what we see on social media and the web doesn’t reflect the good the bad and the ugly of our businesses. We keep quiet about those launches that go completely flat; but we also don’t take the time to celebrate those big strides we do make in business – especially if they are not measured in $$$.
**Congratulations** on your growth – personal and business. Hiring staff is a huge step and will really enable you to grow and enjoy what you do in a much bigger way. Can’t wait to hear what’s ahead for you :)
This post rocks! I love it. Please keep coming from this place. It helps so much and I know that I can relate to it directly. Writing from personal experience is so important. And BTW, you look like even more of a bad ass for doing it. Bad asses put themselves out there. There are too many posers who act like they have it all together and talk about passion and purpose when they have no idea of what that really means. Much love brother
It’s not such a terrible thing to compare yourself to your peers as long as it isn’t coming from a negative place. It’s perfectly healthy to wonder why your projects perform better or worse to those of others that are in a similar line of work. You can learn a lot by comparing. You just need to channel your inner George Bailey. Compared to those around him, he seemed to be lagging but in the end he helped everyone around him and wound up with everything he truly wanted!
When I was 26 I had a great job coaching professionals on how to live a values based life and how to make choices based on those values. The model was excellent and my clients loved what I had to offer, however a day came when I began to feel like a hypocrite, I wasn’t living the balanced life that I was ‘selling’. I quit my job, moved to the country, had babies, and well, made some MAJOR changes. 10 years later I have a very different life, but have recently realized that I want back into that world only now with the wisdom that comes with experience. I’ve learned to find my own unique balance.
It sounds like you have been going though transitions that took me a decade to move through (I guess kids will do that) Bravo to you for navigating your way out the other side.
Oh and if you care to know a little about astrology, get ready for your ‘saturn return’ to kick your butt! 26-31 baby, look it up!
It’s a constant struggle Type “A”s battle with. Why haven’t I achieved this yet? Some of my younger peers are so much farther ahead? These are oh-so-real to me…
Every single person has a different past and a different set of obstacles they’ve had to overcome. It’s easy to lump yourself in with “everyone else”, but it’s also very important to remember your path can’t possibly be the same as someone else’s.
It doesn’t get easier and you’re still going to have doubts, but we all need to remember that we’re being proactive and taking steps forward, even during the times that we feel like we’re not.
Thanks for another great post. It’s a nice reaffirmation every now and again to know that we’re not alone.
This post really opened my eyes. I am a 27 year old male street style dancer that has done a few things these past 2 years. I only started dance last year, and a month into it, I taught at 2 different children’s places, then went on to make videos (which I deleted because I compared myself to others), taught at dance studios and performed for some of the biggest local names, and performed in some big theatre events but never once was I really deeply appreciative of the experiences because of the guilt you mention here.
That “not enough” feeling, but I know if I’ve given my all, push my limits past old comfort zones and been the best that I could be at the time. Even now I know the resistance to let go of the guilt of not being good enough to have it is fading (not completely gone), and paradoxically I feel it’s leading to greater abundance for myself and the people around me.
Helluva post Jonathan. Thank you, really grateful for it.
This post made me think a bit. Thanks for that. I find it interesting that wondering why a product launch didn’t go as planned, or fly as high as expected is a negative. When we reevaluate where we’ve been and what we’ve done in a positive way, it is a path to growth. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up with negativity. We should measure what we can measure, learn from a mistake or a misstep and be proud of the fact that we took the step (or the leap) at all. We tinker and re-tinker and what comes out of that crucible can be something powerful, transformative and beautiful. The real transparency here would be to share that growth and knowledge with others.
Rebecca Tracey says
Thank you for posting this. Being new-ish to the blogging world and just starting my coaching biz, I find I’ll be on a total roll and feeling great, until I let my attention wander and I start scrolling through other blogs and websites that are really kicking ass in this biz.. And the fear of not measuring up to my peers is paralyzing. Thanks for the reminder that this is an experience that everyone goes through, and that it doesn’t mean anything more than that I am human.
I hear you Jonathan. I actually have a post in process that I haven’t pushed publish on that stemmed from reading one too many `Top 25 amazing people to watch for in 2012′ types posts where I just felt, in comparison, inadequate or worse yet failing. So I’m glad you feel it too, as I’m sure many do, but don’t admit as it’s only human. The media prey on successful, beautiful, rich people and so we often think those are the only things we should aspire to have more of, rather than freedom, happiness, health and love. Here’s to you stepping up and living life on your own terms.
First of all congrats on your work. I think you have a super noble cause: to free people from unexciting 9-5s. If it comes to being hard on yourself, I think it’s natural. We constantly evaluate things, often by comparison. And there is nothing wrong at looking at some successful bloggers because we can learn. Feeling guilty about things can be useful. What sucks is when we focus too much on others instead on our own work. I always say: Just do your own thing and forget the world. Otherwise we will drive ourselves crazy. Can’t wait for your next post. Don’t forget to pivot when things don’t work out;)
I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability recently. I think it’s the only way to engender true connection. Lovely to see you working on it too! xo.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! Thank you for your courage in opening the door of vulnerability. I don’t know ANYONE who hasn’t experienced everything you’ve spoken about. And that saying ‘you’re only as sick as your secrets’ is true. Let it out, let it go, release your fears, tell the truth – you lighten up energetically when you do this and then you RISE up in your life – evolution! Amen.
I’m a fan of the phrase “notice what you notice”, without judgement. What you ‘see’ out there in the world when you compare to others is usually what you want for yourself. Actually, I think it’s your souls way of guiding you to the next leg of your journey. Jealousy is your egos way of trying to keep you safe (i.e. where you are). Awareness of this is so empowering. If indeed it is what you want, a simple ask – ‘show me the way’ will often provide amazing clues, signs and signals that will show you the next step to take.
Then the important thing is to act. (Inspired action) You can’t be scared and act at the same time.
Congratulations on all your accomplishments – you are indeed a trailblazer and I’m running right along with you. Thank you!
Great post Jonathan. Those of us starting from scratch have the challenge of staying in the here and now, and not comparing ourselves to mid and up-level people like yourself. But the truth is, no matter what level you are at presently, we are all vulnerable. Expectations are higher the higher you go. Those of us just getting started, simply want an honest shot, and are willing to work tirelessly to get there. The learning curve about websites, content, blogging and offerings and everything in between is huge, and changing as we speak. Many “newbees” like myself, are in transition jobs, which often feels like
being split between two different ways of living, the old way, and the life we aspire to have for our future. Each day presents new challenges. None of it is easy. All of it is important. And anyone who says otherwise has blinders on.
Thank you for stepping up and offering dialog on this insightful topic.
Thank you so much for being so open and sincere, and for sharing your moments of insecurity with us. I (among many others) see what incredible work you’ve done for us over at Trailblazer and in general, and sometimes being in the middle of all that makes it harder for you to see for yourself. I can definitely resonate with your message of comparing yourself to others, feeling lost in the shadows of someone else’s spotlight, and just being so tough on yourself. I’m notorious for being my own worst critic, to the point where I’ve broken down in front of my most recent boss and we came to the conclusion that this job was just too much for me, and not a good fit anymore. Being fresh out of that job is liberating, but puts me in a very vulnerable position, one that you mention in this post. I think more people who are in a helping position need to post more on this topic for sure, and come from a place of vulnerability. It’s an important concept we often overlook (or hide away) when going for the gold, and what better time to do it than now, instead of when we’re in the middle of it and overwhelming ourselves? I’d love to see more like this. Thank you again. :) It could not have come at a better time.
Brad Fennell says
I’m thinking that this may be the new model for leadership. That we are all in this together and that I’m working on this stuff with you, working it out together. Thanks Jonathan.
Ashley Hook says
I applaud you for your vulnerability. It can be intimidating to know you are exposed to the world in your work, but I believe it is in that space of vulnerability that we each connect with one another. For what it’s worth, I feel closer to YOUR work now. It’s personal. And, really, isn’t that what we’re after as writers? As entrepreneurs? To reach out and shake people up so that shifts occur and change happens? I think so :)
Nicely done. I’ve been following your work for a couple of years now and am continually impressed and inspired by your caliber of writing and how dedicated you have been (at least from an outside perspective). I’m sending you all of my deepest congratulations for how far you’ve come and for how many people you uplift on a daily basis. Thank you for you!
Matthew Ogle says
Jonathan, thanks for this post! In not so many words, the context is basically what I just wrote a few days ago on my recently launched blog. Although I purchased the domain name five months ago, with the intent of starting my blog shortly thereafter, I got stuck. It was easy to use the excuse that I was too busy and just didn’t have the time to start writing. In reality, though, I was totally freaked out about allowing myself to be completely vulnerable, pouring my message out to the world.
I now feel more confident and energized to keep up the writing and will celebrate the accomplishment; that I at least started. Congratulations on your accomplishments and I look forward to your reading about your next advevture.
Too funny, I just posted an article on pretty much the same topic and saw it pop into Twitter right next to this!
As a relative newcomer to blogging, ‘broadcasting’ my feelings/opinions is still a weird feeling, especially if they are not positive ones.