I’ve been repeating this mantra to myself for the past couple weeks – “I am enough”. But not enough like…I’m half-assing the way that I parent and that’s good enough. I couldn’t possibly let that go undefined, even to myself. Enough is my effort as it is, without overthinking, overanalyzing, or worry, it’s exactly what it needs to be.
I had trouble believing it for a long time. Then I got mad because I knew I wasn’t alone. What if mothers everywhere just collectively believed that we’re truly doing the best for our kids and IT IS ENOUGH? Could we all get behind it then?
For as long as I can remember, I based my worth on how much I accomplished. I graduated high school with a 3.87 GPA, I went college right away, graduated in 3 years with my Bachelors, started my photography business at 21, bought a house at 24, got married, had kids. The whole shebang. I used these accomplishments as a mask to shield my unhappiness. They meant so much to other people but what did they mean to me? I shamed myself when I felt deep down, it wasn’t enough to make me happy.
What made me worthy if these accomplishments weren’t “enough”? What made me “enough”?
I had a busy, thriving business. It’s what every business owner wants. It’s what I dreamt of when I started my business. I wore busy like a badge. If someone asked me how I was doing, I exasperatedly responded with, “I’m busy.” Followed by “but good, busy but good.” Never the truth. I was busy, burnt out, and unhappy.
I can’t pinpoint when the unhappiness began. It might’ve been a perpetual cycle. I hit burn out, year after year, every winter after wedding and family portrait season. Desperate for time off from work. Missing the energy for my life. Shaming myself into forcing the happiness.
Having kids eventually revealed to me what I knew I needed to do. Less. I needed to do less. And I resisted that, hardcore. Busy was my badge. I could handle it all. I needed to accomplish great things in order to feel worthy. I wanted to support my family, by myself, and become the best.
Letting that go was/is so hard. My ego loves all my accolades, the dirty b*tch. She doesn’t care if I’m unhappy.
In 2020, I was recognized as Young Professional of the Year in my hometown. Deeply honored, I felt completely unworthy because I wasn’t happy. So much so that I basically wrote a speech about how I’m grateful but who cares what I’ve done.
I’ve wrapped a lot of self-worth into my achievements in my 20’s and despite despite all of my success, I realized I had stopped being happy in my work. I stopped being happy in the process.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped infusing passion into my business and I felt this deeply at my core.
We spend over 90,000 hours in our lifetime at work. So it only makes sense to enjoy our work and align who we are with what we do. For some of you, that might seem obvious. For others, it could be a hard realization.
I believe in giving ourselves permission for fun, joy, and purpose whole-heartedly. Enough to bring it up to you all tonight.
So in 2020, I’ve given myself permission to align my energy with love, with purpose, with joy, and with fun.
My hope is that you will find happiness through fulfillment, no matter your age. And instead of searching for it through your achievements and accolades, that you seek fulfillment through your purpose.
And so, I leave you with this. At any age, mid-twenties, thirties, or midlife, I wish for you to work happier, not harder.Part of my speech after receiving the Young Professional of the Year award
I’ve moved my family to a new state, miles away from my business, after winding down the amount of work I took for the past 2 years. A restlessness has sat inside me, eager to find the next chapter. Willing it to figure itself out. Deeply confused and directionless. Let’s be clear, I still feel directionless but what I’m starting to realize that what’s happening in the present is enough.
There is a way to have purpose and fulfillment without the intense hustle and grind that most people do every day. I refuse to accept that what we do every day has to be hard or make you feel bad to find success and happiness.
It’s like the Universe knew that I needed to stop accomplishing anything in order for me to see that without accomplishing anything, I’m still enough. Like a reset button. I had slow my pace waaaaay down to a place of discomfort for me to realize: This is enough. I’m not where I thought I’d be and that’s okay. You’ll figure it out. You’re still enough.
Apparently blogging is dead and I should be writing “articles” but I needed an outlet to write and I’m tired of hiding in my head so, if this resonated at all, please leave a comment and let me know ❤️🙏🏼. I would greatly appreciate it.