I am joyfully celebrating my birthday this week and in the midst of my celebration, I ear-hustled (overheard) an interesting conversation. Person A told Person B, “But you do realize that being average is accepted? Going above and beyond is frowned upon.” This took me by surprise as I have always been an above average type of chick. So I had to ask myself, why is average okay? Are we associating average with normal? If so, “Houston we have a problem.”
From my graduate degree pursuits to my professional career, I have always given more effort and taken these things more seriously. (We won’t talk about undergrad years… too many parties at the Walker County Fairgrounds being “awesome”. Ha!) Doing things half-assed or being just “good enough”, doesn’t work well for me. Don’t read this thinking that I am bragging or boasting. I’m not. I am naturally an overachiever and proud of it. Even the t-shirt I have on today says “Awesomesauce”. While I have always believed this about myself, other people sometimes make it challenging to walk confidently in my awesomeness.
Often times, shame is attached to what is considered over-the-top or being extra. By my definition, shame is a self-imposed feeling that feeds off the opinions of others. I can recall times where I was ashamed of being smart, advanced, or labeled as “gifted and talented” only because others (who were not identified with these labels) made me feel bad for being those things. Shame mentally brings you down to the level of someone else’s thoughts. Worse is when you start believing what they said about you and internalizing it. Eventually, their thoughts become your thoughts, and your thoughts become your actions only to end up becoming the thing that you know you are not.
Fight against the notion that your awesomeness will be judged or downplayed. Make up your mind that it is worth being on display. We are all blessed with individual gifts, talents, and our own unique awesomeness that deserves to be shared with the world. And don’t let the level of your awesomeness intimidate you. People use the phrase, “go big or go home,” which implies that if it isn’t big, then don’t do it at all. What we really need to do is just go big. Period.
Side note – Sometimes my above and beyondness blooms into a level of perfectionism that can be damaging. The added pressure of getting everything right can actually limit my success. Being a perfectionist means that you don’t leave room for error, correction, or criticism without getting in your feelings. I had to learn to build space into my plans for mistakes and then be flexible enough to grow through them. I’m sure that’s only happened to me.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone is asking you to turn down your awesomeness, or you have been shamed into thinking that average is good enough, here are some affirmations to try:
- The opinions of others are not my business.
- Even on my worst day, I am still killing it.
- I am worth the fight.
- I did not wake up today to be mediocre.
Your best does not live in mediocre. Your awesomeness deserves to shine through. It’s time to stop denying the world of your greatness and embrace it. Floss that awesomesauce!