By Amy Leydon
Most people who know me would say that I’m a strong and confident woman.
There is a big part of me that feels that way, but I have this other side, this purveying level of low self esteem that I’ve carried with me for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wished I were a bit “more.” Prettier, thinner, smarter. I wished I did things like ski really well or shoot a killer game of pool. I had a hard time accepting myself for the wonderful woman I am and just kept wishing I was something better.
I use the term perfectionist to describe myself. That may seem like a compliment, but perfectionism is debilitating and steeped in low self esteem. Nothing can ever truly be perfect, and so to me, it means nothing I do is ever good enough. Perfectionism kills progress and creativity. Every time I want to move forward, I convince myself that it’s a mistake so I end up doing nothing. And when you do nothing, you’ve failed before you’ve even begun.
Over the years, I’ve worked incredibly hard to let go of my perfectionist ways and start taking action. Every time I try something new, it terrifies me. But after doing it a few times, the fear diminishes. I just have to propel myself past that initial point of terror and get it done.
In the past year I came up with this idea for Tear Down the Wall. I immediately felt a spark and got really excited about it. That little voice of low esteem was already squawking at me that this could not possibly work and was desperate to find a way out of this. My ego would convince me this wasn’t a good idea or people would think it was silly. But I allowed my heart to speak louder than my head and knew I had to map out a plan to make this thing happen.
The fear of failure is always there – but here’s how I overcome it:
- Set the date
If I’m perfectly honest, Tear Down the Wall was conceived in March and I’m just finally launching it in November. I had a myriad of reasons: the timing wasn’t right, I wanted to get in kick-ass shape, I couldn’t find the perfect venue, the sequence wasn’t mapped out yet. Name the excuse, I thought of it. Finally, I took action – I set the date. This event is on November 29. Whatever your goal is, set a date and stick to it.
- Enlist help
I am so impressed with people who are good collaborators. I see them promoting each other on Facebook, creating events together, and teaming up with businesses. When you are in the business of promoting yourself, you have to do it. When people have the courage to ask for help, I always do, and I always remember those that have reached out to me.
- Take it one step at a time
The big picture can be overwhelming. Divert attention to the moment and the details. This is yoga practice at it’s core. Stay in the present and focus on the task at hand. Every week map out what you want to accomplish that week that will propel you towards that bigger picture. Write it down and cross it off when it’s done. Set mini goals for yourself and before you know it, the big picture ain’t so big anymore.
- You ARE good enough
Start now. This minute. Telling yourself every chance you get that you are good enough. List your admirable qualities every morning. Understand that what you deem as a failure or a mistake is just a life lesson pointing you towards your dharma. You are incredible at being you. And you have something to offer to this world.
I have no idea how Tear Down the Wall is going to turn out. What I’m finally starting to realize is that whatever the outcome, I’ve already won. I’ve won because I set aside my fear of failure. I set aside the notion that my idea isn’t cool enough or good enough. I’ve already won because I felt that spark in my belly and I went for it.