Before I dive into this week’s post, I’m super excited to announce a new series I’ll be sharing on the blog – starting today! I’m calling it Real Food for the Soul, and in it I’ll be giving you a glimpse of the lessons I’m learning in my quest to keep my spirit healthy.
As I’ve shared with you before, my concept of health isn’t just about my relationship with food. It’s also about the way I treat my thoughts and emotions. Just as maintaining physical health is a daily practice, so is achieving mental and emotional balance. It’s a constant learning process, and Real Food for the Soul is my chance to share what’s inspiring me on my spiritual health journey.
I’ll be exploring what it means to live with intention and authenticity, borrowing wisdom from my favorite wellness gurus. And (this is the part I’m most excited about) each installment will end with one Action Item to carry with you in the week ahead.
So, let’s get on with it.
This week, I’m sharing a profound yet simple idea, one I think I’ve always wanted to believe but didn’t have the confidence to articulate until now.
It has to do with the importance of priorities in achieving our big-picture goals, and the inspiration comes from a killer article by careerist Penelope Trunk called 5 Steps to Take to Make Time for Everything. It’s one of those pieces of writing that resonated with me from the first line:
The people who look like they have everything they want are actually the people who are most clear on what they are willing to give up.
Game changer, right? It makes complete sense, yet our egos make it extremely difficult to accept. I wish I’d been able to embrace it years ago, especially in college.
For better or worse, as a goal-oriented person, I tend to run with the Type A // overachieving // team captain // class president // editor in chief crowd. Can you relate? It’s served me well in many ways – peer pressure the ultimate motivator after all – but it’s also caused considerable comparison anxiety over the years.
My sorority experience is a perfect illustration. My sisters and I always looked forward to our weekly chapter meetings as a chance to share what we’d accomplished over the last week with the group: tests aced, goals scored, internships landed, theses completed.
It was thrilling and empowering to be reminded of the exceptional success I was surrounded by. But the atmosphere of overachievement also made me constantly aware of everything I hadn’t accomplished.
If only I’d been able to realize that I was choosing only to see the highlight reel of my sisters’ lives, and conveniently overlooking everything their accomplishments had required them to sacrifice.
So often our culture convinces us that in order to achieve our goals, all we have to do is put our heads down and our noses to the grindstone. We are encouraged to believe that if we work hard enough we can do everything. (This is especially true, I think, in college).
But the reality is, we only have so much energy we can give. And we can’t give what we don’t have.
In order to be truly and sustainably successful, it’s crucial we acknowledge that achievements require sacrifices. The biggest things we get come with the biggest things we give up.
I realize this could seem like a major Debbie Downer moment. But it doesn’t have to be. Let’s shift it in a more positive direction. Consider this:
We CAN have time for everything, as long as we clearly define what “everything” is.
Defining our “everything” means resisting the personal disappointment we feel when we see the achievements of others. Rather than give in to the judgment and insecurity, we must remind ourselves that yes, we *could* have whatever it is we admire in our peers, but having it would require giving up something else on our priority list.
Which leads me to this week’s…
The next time find yourself envying something of someone else’s – be it a promotion, a yoga pose, a killer outfit or even a plate of food on Instagram – consider what you’d be willing to give up in order to make it your own. If that sacrifice is worthwhile for you, then congratulations! You’ve found your next goal! If it isn’t, be confident in the fact that your priorities are exactly where they need to be. You’ve got nothing to feel insecure about.
What about you?
How do you feel about this new series? And about my “preachy” posts in general? Are you just here for the food? (That’s totally cool by the way.) Let me know in the comments!