Friday, February 28, 2014

cost benefit analyses

from etsy shop print revolution

I fell asleep on the way to school tonight.  I was waiting at a stop light, and suddenly startled awake to the realization that the light was green.

I have not made it to bed before 2am in 3 weeks, and have probably only managed it 4 or 5 times total since we got home from our Anniversary trip.

There is always so much to do and it is always urgent.  I need to be honest about how difficult this is.

But still, I really want to find out whether this ambitious goal of mine, to juggle so many demanding balls without utterly shattering any of them, is possible.  I want to find it out for myself, and for every other woman in my life.  I feel like culturally, there is a lot of perfectionism that infiltrates the female psyche and drastically limits our productivity.  We are only willing to try to do as much as we think we can succeed at, so we rarely find out what our limits actually are.  We don't spend a lot of time wrestling with that risky territory where failure is a real option.  Somehow, for those who have a choice, that place has been reserved for mostly men, and only brave ones at that.

I'd like to be able to push women that I know to set more goals and take more risks, and to be purposeful but daring with them. (Though not necessarily to risk driving drowsy, don't you worry)  I don't think anyone should spread themselves too thin to be useful just for the sake of being busy, but I do think that too few women have a healthy sense of their own power for determining their own destinies.  If we can be willing to be more vulnerable, and to spend more time in the failure zones, then we will ultimately feel far more in-control of our own lives.

And those thoughts are hugely motivating to me as I stumble through stupefying sleep deprivation and wrestle through readings as dense as lead.  As I constantly struggle to manage all the things that absolutely need to get done, I inevitably fail.  I fail every day.  Dinner doesn't get made or the laundry gets behind, or (most of the time) I have to give up sleep and don't make it to bed until 2 or 3 or 4am.  I fail as a mother quite regularly (but with the kind of sleep-deprivation I'm dealing with, I actually think I'm managing better than might be expected).  I am failing every single day.  If I allow failure to be grounds for quitting, then I will never finish this.

But so far failure is just part of the process.  I'm managing to be forgiving of my own failures.  I'm sort of managing to be my own cheerleader, kind and supportive toward myself.  And I remind myself often that I was still failing regularly when I was making decisions based on fear of failure.  That fear didn't really save me from anything.  I still failed as a mother often enough, maybe more often really.  Now I have the benefit of a clearer sense of purpose to balance out the yelling that occasionally surfaces when I'm clinging to consciousness by my fingernails and I encounter sticky messes that everyone knew better than to make.

I'd like to think that if I see this through to the other side and finish what I start, then I can, in clearer conscience, challenge other women to do the same.  Maximizing your potential looks different for every single person, but I still feel that far to few people give themselves permission to try to do it.  Because they might fail.  And failure is terrifying.  If you let it be.  There are often real consequences to failing, but there are always real consequences to not trying.  We too often forget to weigh them against each other.

So, while you wait for me to finish school so I can finish owning my cheerleader mantle, you can go read some BrenĂ© Brown and start pondering what brave plans you want to tackle with your fleeting and precious life.  Sure, you might fail.  But is that really an excuse to never try? Is failure really worse than living in fear of failure?

Hobble Creek Canyon last Autumn, just because

1 comment:, the way of the hummingbird said...

now - I am not sure if this post made me feel better or worse? I whole heartedly appreciate it and of course feel like i should do more, although i just sat down for the first time at 11:30 pm ... however, there are a lot of goals i haven't dared to tackle because of shortage of time AND fear of failure/the impact failure could have. i shall have to ponder again, when i finally get to bed tonight. do make sure you stay save with such little amounts of sleep. there still are risks not worth taking!

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