I like to read a lot of personal development books. Growing up, my parents always had self-help, business and finance books lying around our house, and we even took a course together when I was a teenage to work on our self-awareness. I grew up familiar with Zig Ziglar, and Tony Robbins, and all of those gurus of personal development.
Knowing that is my own family history, it won’t come as a surprise that when I started to come up against some major trials in my life, I sought answers from all the gurus. I started reading as many books as I can, listening to the podcasts, and signing up for the courses. While nothing could ever replace my faith and testimony of The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, I also know that I can “seek…diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek…out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:118). So I searched for wisdom.
The wisdom I have found in these books has been incredible. I feel empowered by what I have learned, and my learning has been a supplement to my faith, and the knowledge I want to acquire. I’ve read dozens of books, but I am only just getting started!
More than advice
That being said, now that I have been learning for some time now, I have to say that nothing has been more inspiring, more enlightening, and more challenging than starting this podcast. I started this with the hope that I would be able to learn some ideas about family culture, and developing my own family’s vision and mission. While that is the case, this growth has not only come from the study and interviews I’ve conducted. I can easily say that the majority of the growth I’ve experienced has come from the act of doing challenging things, stating my dreams out loud, and facing my insecurities about my weaknesses and my faults. Facing these insecurities has done more to shape my family culture than any amount of study ever could.
Putting myself out there, and having my faults glaring back at me has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I have not waited until I knew everything I wanted to know, or until I was “ready” to start this. There is SO much I want to learn, and even more that I dream of doing. Sometimes it feels impossible. Often it feels impossible because I look at other influencers, and other people doing what I dream of doing, and I usually look at their strengths through the lens of my weakness. Maybe that isn’t fair to me and what strengths I have, but envy is inevitable, and it’s a natural part of the growth process, I think. It’s natural to look at other people who seem to have what we want, and judge ourselves harshly.
Appearances can be deceiving
When I started this podcast, I started with this in mind in a way. I wondered how some families seem to have it all together, and seemed so happy, or their kids were well-behaved. I wanted to know if what they were doing was legitimate, or if it was a hallow shell representing what those families want you to see. I’ve seen a few families who seemed to be successful fall apart. I wanted to know what it took to have more than just the appearance of success, but actually thrive.
While I am getting closer to that answer, it has taken a lot of introspection, and harrowing up my own false beliefs, insecurities, and examining my weaknesses. Much of that has come from putting myself out there in the world, and doubting my capacity. Especially as I perceive so many other amazing creators’ work. I can’t help but envy their work and their progress. I have learned from hard experience that this envy can be very destructive! I have spent too much energy feeling sorry for myself until I had the courage to do something about the way I was feeling.
I’m not going to suggest that feelings of envy are a good thing, but I want to make a few suggestions for how to turn envy around into something useful when we feel overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. These feelings are not uncommon as parents who observe other parents who seem to have their act together. We all know the super mom who’s house is immaculate, has a great body, crafts, cooks, has perfect make up, and has an amazing Instagram profile! Ha! I think she really exists, but what does that have to do with me?
Here are three best-practices that I find help me deal with my struggles with envy.
First, take some time to mindfully figure out why you feel envious. Do you have a clear idea what your strengths are? Do you have a clear idea of your dreams and your vision? Can you discern whether the reasons you envy is because they are accomplishing your exact dreams? Clarify your dreams, your vision, your why, and your boundaries — what you are actually capable of doing.
If you haven’t done this yet, take some time to figure out what you really want. Do some service, and start creating something that you are passionate about. Start doing something that inspires you! Start a vision board, put your heart into the work in front of you, work on your strengths rather than focus on your weaknesses, and figure out your brand of creativity. Make a list of all the things you are thankful for, and consider all the abundance in your life.
Second, learn to discern how much of it is “divine discontent” designed to inspire you, and how much of it is “disabling doubts” designed to discourage you. Purge thoughts of discouragement, and focus on the ones inspiring you to push forward. I had this experience just recently. I saw a friend realizing a lot of success. At first, I felt really discouraged. I used up a lot of energy coping with my self-doubt, but even while I was wallowing I knew that there had to be something I could learn from this experience! Seeing her success gave me pause to realize that I could learn something from her. I reached out to her and asked what she was doing so right! She graciously reached back and sent me some insight. She inspired me by her daring success to overcome my fears and clarify my dreams. It was harrowing to see my faults so deeply, but I learned from this experience how to ask for help, and change what I can.
Dr. James Gills completed two triathlons back to back, and completed a double triathlon six times in his fifties. When asked how he did it, he said, “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself.” He went on to say, “If I listen to myself I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired, too old, too weak to make it. But if I talk to myself I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.” Make, or find a list of positive affirmations that you need to hear that remind you that you are a son or daughter of God, and that you have inherent worth. Tell yourself that you have unique gifts and talents that the world needs, and that some experiences are designed to refine you and bring out your strengths! Affirmations have the power to change your mindset and beliefs from disabling doubts to divine discontent to empowering actions.
Third, Take time to consider your strengths. Just because they seem to be winning doesn’t mean you’re losing. Celebrate their victories. I have learned to discern based on my own vision of my life what fits me and what doesn’t. It’s ok if what looks like winning for someone else doesn’t for me. I recently read this article about a man who had made something he called a “100 List” which led him to achieve ridiculous physical feats of climbing peaks, scaling walls, running marathons, and traveling to exotic locations. While I was inspired by his story, and I was a little envious of all the things he had accomplished, I realized that most of the things on his 100 List would not end up on mine! I don’t have any desire to run marathons or scale mountains! Those things sound really cool, and I applaud him for being such an inspirational person! But, they are not for me.
I have a clear idea of what my dreams are, and they aren’t any less inspirational. They are mine, and they are challenging and inspiring to me! If I weren’t clear about my vision, I could easily get caught up in the envy of what I see others accomplishing even when they are things I will never, ever do! Simon Sinek says in his book, “Start with Why” that my brand of success won’t look look like your brand. It doesn’t make it better or worse. If my ‘why’ resonates with you, then it is better. If not, and you like someone else’s ‘why,’ then theirs is better for you. He also said, “When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.” I take that to mean that we should always aspire to be our best self. We should never aspire to be anybody else.
With all this in mind, I have recently revamped my vision for this platform. If you follow me on instagram then you have seen my stories about the changes. I learned to clarify my vision, and clarify my format for each episode. Rather than having a long, drawn-out conversation with my guests, I want to spell out specific principles of family culture that will serve your family. I want to clearly define what family culture means and the resources that will help you design your family culture. I will also clearly state two to three best-practices that will help you implement these principles in a way that is practical and measurable.
Each week, I will send out an update to remind you to check out the latest episode when you sign up for the email list. On top of that, I will send out a monthly worksheet summarizing the best-practices from that month with actionable steps to accomplish the ones that resonate with you most.
I will also work on being more present on social media. I am not good at the amount of vulnerability required to put myself out there in the social world, but I want to! I want to have more conversations with you all about these topics! I want to do more to help you figure out what your vision and goals look like for you family. I want you to know that I am here to support you through the tough days when you are harrowed up by your insecurities. It can be a lonely place when you are making powerful changes that others might not understand! I get it! I’m there! I want to experience this journey with you!
So, make sure you’re subscribed to the email list to get updates, and worksheets with the best-practices each month! You can sign up right here <—
Books I recommend: Contain Affiliate Links (Read more here)