Recently, I did a swim workout with my coach and 2 other swimmers.
Our coach said:
“Okay, I want you to do the first set slow and easy.”
So I begin swimming slow and easy and when I turned at the end of my lane to go back, I realized that the woman behind me was Right.On.Me! So my competitive inner 8-year-old kicked in and I speed up.
We went through this again and again. No matter how hard I swam, she was gaining on me (effortlessly, I might add…grr). I could hear my competitive inner 8-year-old:
“aaaah! She’s gonna pass us. Nooooo!”
Finally, my coach stops me and says:
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I said slow and easy. You’re doing fast and messy! Stop and rest for 30 seconds. Start again, and do it slow, easy, and pretty!”
I sat “benched” for 30 seconds while Speed Demon Sheila glided right past me with her perfect form and effortless strokes.
*cue competitive inner 8-year-old glare.*
I mean come on, she had to know she was triggering my competitive inner 8-year-old, right?!
What my Highest Wisest Self knew to be true? I was so busy paying attention to what was going on with the Lady in the Next Lane, that I lost sight of what was really important — the health of my body, mind, and spirit.
As a result, I put myself in a state of stable misery. Ya see, I was stable and consistent. Problem was, with each turn I became a stable and consistent mess that led me to feel more and more miserable with each turn — a sloppy form, a burning chest, tight and painful muscles, aching shoulder… ugh!
Have you ever done that? Looked at the Lady in the Next Lane, see what she’s doing and think,
“I could be doing that. I should be doing that. Why am I not doing that? I’m gonna do that! ”
Only to find yourself wasting time and energy, doing something that wasn’t expected of you in the first place? And doing it NOT pretty?!
Caveat: “Pretty” doesn’t mean that I was doing an IG photo worthy swim. When we’re swimming “pretty” through life, we’re honoring our body, mind, and spirit in the process. We’re not putting stress on our shoulders for the sake of the “should’s.” We’re not flailing our energy (or in my case, arms and legs) out everywhere like an atom bomb when we wanna be a laser beam. When we’re “swimming pretty,” we’re living life in a way that is as streamlined as possible and in alignment with our vision and our values.
Alas, despite this “pretty” intention, there are people and situations that trigger us and before we know it, we’re “should-ing” all over ourselves.”
For you it may not be swimmer, Speed Demon Sheila. Maybe it’s Pinterest Perfect Patty, or Calm Mom Michelle, or Money Making Melissa, or Daily Cooking Diane, or Energetic Ella, or Award winning Amy, or Tiny waist Tina, or Sexy Sarah, or… or… or…
Ever been there?
I have worked with so many women (myself included!!) who hop on Facebook or Instagram; see what others are doing and try to be speedy, energetic, pinterest pinning, millions making, weight losing, perfect moms who cook dinner every night and look magazine cover worthy while doing it.
But here’s a few things I’ve learned:
Trying to be like the Lady in the Next Lane only leads us to flail our energy in different directions.
It puts extra, unnecessary stress on our shoulders.
It leads us to get messy and lose sight of our ultimate goals and visions.
We can get to a point where we forget what “slow and easy” even feels like or what truly makes us happy and brings us joy.
Ultimately, trying to keep up with the Lady in the Next Lane can leave us feeling drained or drowning in waves of stable misery as we slowly become unfulfilled, unhappy, or with less energy for ourselves and those we care about.
So should we just go through life with blinders, stay off social media and not try to strive for more?
Of course not!
But the next time you notice yourself looking at the Lady in the Next Lane and you start striving, stop and ask yourself, “WHO is striving?”
Is it my competitive inner 8-year-old? Or my insecure inner 16-year-old? Or my “fear-of-shame” inner 5-year-old?
Or is it your Highest Wisest Self calling you to a higher level of greatness for you or your family?
Things might have been different If I’d looked at the Lady in the Next Lane and thought,
“Hmm, I wonder if I’m giving it all I got? What change, if any, do I want to make that will help me ‘stay in my pretty’ or honor my body, mind, and spirit?”
So, as you plan for 2020, make sure you’re “staying in your pretty” and out of stable misery’s waves by asking the following:
- What can I let go of this year because it truly doesn’t bring me joy? What in my vision is there only because I’m “should-ing” all over myself?
- What’s making me messy? What agenda or goals are needlessly draining energy that would be better spent on myself or my family?
- What do I need to embrace or make a non-negotiable addition so I can be “in my pretty” in 2020?
Want help setting a 2020 vision that will keep you “in your pretty” and out of stable misery in 2020? Hop on my calendar and let’s chat.
Ya know I love hearin’ from ya!