Guilt Trippin’

Two mornings ago I woke up feeling guilty.

You are allowed to be your beautiful, imperfect self.

Guilty that I rejoiced at the end of Spring Break when my kids went back to school.

Guilty that I was about to book a trip to go out of town – again – and leave them with their dad for 10 days.

Guilty that before that trip I’ll only see them for two days after a 5 day absence.  (Thanks Easter break!)

But it didn’t end there. Then when I started to think about not going out of town, the guilt shifted.

Guilty that Vivid & Brave would suffer.

Guilty that Christine would end up having to pull more weight.

Guilty that lately, with Spring Break, illness and general exhaustion I’ve been a little impossible to work with.

Guilt says I’m a terrible mom AND a terrible business owner. What a cow.

Guilt plays a really dirty game. It never lets you win. You tip the scale one way or the other and it always has something to say. As women, moms, wives, business owners, we’re expected to do the impossible – Pinterest worthy living rooms, perfectly groomed kids, balanced, handmade meals you can photograph and businesses that fit into someone else’s definition of success.

Guilt doesn’t belong in your vocabulary.

Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Give yourself permission to make choices.

Give yourself permission to make the wrong choice.

Give yourself permission to set the parameters of our success on your own.

You’re the boss, right? At home, in your business – you’re in charge.  Take a day off and do nothing but sit on the patio with a good book. Take a weekend off and steal away with your loved ones and don’t answer your phone. Take an evening and answer emails so that in the morning you’re caught up and won’t feel overwhelmed. Be the boss. Guilt wants to push you around and force you to jump through its hoops. Guilt won’t care if you haven’t slept in days. Guilt doesn’t even care when you do it perfectly – because it can find the fault in everything.

You get to set the bar wherever you need to to come out on top of the day. If the baseline for today was just getting out of bed, then you did it! Success by your own parameters – daily, weekly, long term. Some days, I’ve been successful when everyone got three meals into them and no one got a black eye or broke a bone when they were fighting.  Blog posts, a clean kitchen, and brushing my hair? Fancy and completely out of reach.

You are allowed to be your imperfect, beautiful self. In fact, you should be her more often. She’s the truest part of you there is.

Maybe you’re asking me how you can achieve your goals – your big, huge, dream filled goals  – if you aren’t pushing hard for them to happen.

Make no mistake. You will still have to push. You will still have to hustle. You’re going to have to make sure, though, that you’re pushing and hustling for things you really want. I used to make myself a little crazy handmaking gifts for everyone on our Christmas list every year. This year, I bought most gifts from the Stella & Dot catalogue, and knitted a pair of cowls for my mom and my brother’s girlfriend. And guess what? No one, especially not me, felt bad about it! No one cried. (Okay, usually in these situations, it’s me that cries.)

How will you give yourself the permission to be imperfect today? What will that make more space for? Your emotional bank is not a limitless pool – when you run out, you run out, no matter what still needs nurturing. Give your energy to things you really, really want to see come alive. And forget the rest.

Stephanie Ostermann

I’m the sort of girl who you meet for coffee and end up pouring your entire heart out to. The friend you come to when you need someone to call it straight. No bullshit. No extras. Just truth.

I’m a communicator. That’s a PC way of saying I like to talk, but I also spend a lot of my time listening, and over the years, I’ve developed a sense for subtext – how one or two words can change your entire message, what people are really trying to say and how to weave the varied layers of your story into one cohesive brand message that your clients fall in love with.

When I'm not acting as editor in chief for Vivid & Brave, you can find me geeking out over words here.

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