The mental habits just keep on coming. (Photo by Joanjo Pavon on Unsplash)
If there's one bad habit I'd love to shake, it's my tendency to expect my gremlins to disappear entirely once I've confronted them. That's not the way it works, but there's a stubborn part of me that persists in believing that one day, I will see the back of perfectionism, imposter syndrome, and their cousin procrastination – just to name a few of my oldest demon friends.
I did the work, you see. I faced them head-on. I learned what they wanted. I found better ways to meet their needs. All the stuff you're supposed to do.
And yet, they keep showing up. Old mental habits, refusing to die, or leave me in peace. Instead, they keep coming around, irritating the heck out of me because I get so bored of them, y'all. Can't I get some new demons?
But… that's not the way this works.
Slowly – very slowly – I've come to see that I will likely never be rid of imposter complex, or perfectionism, or the other shadows that lurk in my particular brain. And happiness isn't only found in vanquishing these internal opponents. There can be joy, rather, in befriending them: turning towards the gremlins when they reappear, with a smile of recognition. Greeting them with a wry, "Oh, it's you again." Sitting them down and asking them why they've come, this time.
I've got a curiosity experiment coming out in a few days that will dive deeper into this, but for now, I invite you to ask yourself:
Who are the demons that keep showing up?
And what have you learned about what they need from you?
If you're inspired to share your replies to the above questions, I'm listening. Just hit reply and send them my way.
Why other people’s business “systems” haven’t worked for you (Hint: it isn’t you). Also, what better excuse to talk about imposter syndrome than launching a new podcast? Brittany V invited me on her new show, "Classy on the Outside," to talk about inner d-bags, discerning between the different faces of the inner critic and what boredom and irritation have to teach us.
If you're not already celebrating Candletime, now's the perfect time to start. Why Big Tech pays poor Kenyans to teach self-driving cars. I'm keeping my eye on this promising new project from the creators of the XOXO Festival. A gutting, truthful, and beautiful essay about our culture's lack of fluency with mortality, our denial of death, and a few of the manifold ways that limits our imaginations. 20 photos of trans elders who have survived. "Just because your labor is invisible doesn't make it effortless. Magic didn't do it; you did.”
You are Jeff Bezos: a billionaire simulator. And what happens when a famous French singer invites all her famous musician friends to write tributes to her late cat, Souris? This charming album.
I help entrepreneurs, freelancers, and nonprofit leaders discover their own definitions of success, and live and work in alignment with them. If that sounds like you, you might want to pick up my latest book, Curious for a Living, or book a coaching session with me.
One last thing…
Thanks to Steve Tannock for pointing me to this amazing collection of puzzle montages by Tim Klein.
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