You Are Not Your Work
I can't tell you how many interviews with creatives I've listened to/watched over the years, and somehow the themes of hustle and never being satisfied always seem to rear their ugly heads. Although the word “hustle” is enough to make me gag these days, it's the idea of never being satisfied that puts a seriously bad taste in my mouth.
Granted, most of those creatives were probably referring their positive drive to always continue learning and improving—honing our skills and expanding our horizons. I'm all for that, but the “never satisfied” phrasing is particularly troubling to me.
Our words have a lot of power, and “never satisfied” all too often translates to “never good enough.” I believe this stems from the tendency for creatives (myself included) to equate our self worth with our work. Unfortunately, many believe that their work is never up to par, and that as an extension neither are they. This just isn't the case.
Your Worth ≠ Your Work
I believe there's a healthy balance between working to create something you're proud of and not getting caught in the quicksand of perfectionism. In case you need reminding, you are not your work. You have innate value and gifts that you bring to this world. Yes, your creative talents fall into this category but they're not all you have to offer.
You are not your work.
I think it's important to be honest here. Sometimes I settle. Not all of my clients are dreamy. Not every one of my projects makes it into my portfolio—some never see the light of day. I have off days and bad days and I get it wrong sometimes just like everyone else.
But you know what? I'm still satisfied.
Sure, I want to keep learning and improving. I want to be the best version of myself that I can be, but I also believe there are shades of success. As a recovering perfectionist, I believe we can learn and grow while still practicing satisfaction. And I believe we're happier, better versions of ourselves when we cultivate gratitude—even if we never get it 100% right. No one does, so stop beating yourself up.
We can always do better. We can always be better. But that's a goal we chip away at with each new day. For today, it's okay to settle. It's okay to be satisfied with where you're at. Enough is more than enough. And believe me, you're enough exactly as you are.
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