Are You Ever Hard on Yourself?

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"We aren’t 'failures' because we’re inherently wrong. We’re 'failures' because we’re playing by the wrong metrics. It’s an inherently flawed game where we’re designed to lose. Where we’ll always be 'too much' and 'not enough.' Because it’s built counter to our genius."

For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:

 

I tend to be hard on myself and feel like a failure—ever since I was little.

I’d downplay my accomplishments. Focus on what I haven’t done. And notice all of the areas I’ve failed to meet my self-imposed deadlines and metrics.

And I know I’m not the only one. I’ve met countless visionaries who are hard on themselves. Who tell themselves they work too slowly. Or need too much rest. Or haven’t built up to some arbitrary dollar amount or follower count in a certain timeline.

We visionaries tend to evaluate ourselves really critically. But that’s just it: maybe the metrics we’ve been evaluating on—our values—aren’t actually what we really care about.

As people who’ve been told we’re “too much” and “not enough” our entire lives, we tend to internalize mainstream society’s metrics. We measure everything—even our worth—against things like money, speed, and reach.

And, if we aren’t rolling in the dough, aren’t building at lightning speed, and aren’t sharing our message with thousands (or millions), we can tend to tell ourselves that we’re wrong. Again.

See, the trouble with metrics and values is they’re the foundation on which we build and evaluate our lives. If we’re basing all of that off what matters to someone else, we’ll always be wrong. Because we’re not actually building a life on what matters to us or where our genius exists.

I’ve spent so much time telling myself that I was wrong because I’d make “bad business decisions,” like only releasing one program (or less) per year and (very) slowly building up to my desired price point.

According to money, speed, and reach, that’s been a total failure. But, according to values based on my own unique genius—like Freedom from any pressure, making sure it’s totally Aligned, and Vulnerably sharing my process as I went—I’ve been an overwhelming success.

And the truth is I’d never be at the level of happiness or impact I’m at if I worked according to any other metrics.

And it’s fucking hard. Those stories about what metrics are supposed to matter run deep.

We’re one-third through the year now. And I still catch myself judging how much I haven’t hit those metrics. Except they’re not even the ones I really care about. Just the ones that society has told me really matter.

We aren’t “failures” because we’re inherently wrong. We’re “failures” because we’re playing by the wrong metrics. It’s an inherently flawed game where we’re designed to lose. Where we’ll always be “too much” and “not enough.” Because it’s built counter to our genius.

I know countless people who’ve had to pick up part-time or full-time jobs to support their art or business endeavors. According to one set of metrics, that’s total failure. But according to metrics of Persistence, Conviction, or Creative Control, it’s a huge fucking success.

We evaluate according to our metrics. Because those are based on our values. And it’s no surprise that our unique genius is our values. What matters most to us. What we’re most sensitive to. Where we’re most alive.

Because our genius is the basis for our lives. When we start to live and evaluate from that place, that’s when it feels like the game is rigged in our favor. We know what matters to us, we know our hidden superpowers, and we know how to score it according to our goals.

It’s why I’m such a stickler for unique genius. Because it changes everything. We design a life to win, according to our own values. And it always plays to our strengths.

But our biggest problem is we often live a life according to someone else’s values. And it makes total sense. Because as people who’ve been told we’re “too sensitive” or “too emotional,” we’ve learned not to trust ourselves.

We scroll Facebook and Instagram and see beautiful images of people living according to other values and with other genius. And we think we’re failures.

There’s no such thing as inherently lazy, unmotivated, or unskilled people out there. But there are plenty of people who are unmotivated by the values they’re basing their lives on.

Listen, creating your vision is one of the hardest things we will ever do. It takes persistence and genius and more motivation than we ever knew we could have. If we’re trying to build that life from values we don’t really care about, we’ll never have that motivation.

But, if in our hearts, this is the very most important thing we could do, then just try to stop us. Fucking try.

Otherwise, we’re just kind of shaming ourselves for not being like everyone else. And that’s something we’ve done our entire lives. We’re shaming ourselves for being geniuses.

Once we know our values—what really matters to us—that’s it. We have a roadmap to guide every decision. Even—and especially—when it’s hard.

We know that we value Alignment, and it’s way better to read a book for an hour when we’re frantic than to push ourselves to finish the task. Maybe we fail on the productivity test, but we win at our own metrics.

And we start to respect ourselves. Because self-respect comes from choosing what matters to us and seeing it through, over and over again.

We start to put ourselves in situations that naturally align with our own unique genius, our own superpowers. Like having deep one-on-one conversations where we can be Vulnerable versus a big group atmosphere. Or creating dance parties where we can be playful and goofy and Zany.

And, suddenly, it feels like we’re just lucky. Like opportunities magically fall in our lap. But, of course, they do. We’re consistently showing up and putting ourselves out there because we have the adequate motivation. And we’re always shining because we’re always in the place of our genius.

We’re rigging the game in our favor.

Whenever we’re being hard on ourselves, we can begin to pause and ask ourselves how we’re evaluating our “success” or “failure.” According to what metrics? According to what values? According to what genius?

As the famous (possibly) Albert Einstein saying goes, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

You will always doubt your genius if you’re living life by someone else’s metrics. It’s time to declare our own values, our own metrics, and set our lives up so that we’re already the best to win it.

Because it is our genius.

And, once you stop measuring according to others and start measuring by that genius, then you never have to doubt your value again. You are a genius.

 

Questions for Reflection:

*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:

Are you ever hard on yourself?

— Are you ever hard on yourself? Do you ever feel like a failure? Do you feel like you’re not achieving as much as other people you see out there? Do you ever feel “behind”?

— Do you judge yourself for not achieving certain “metrics” or not doing as well as other people may be doing? Do you ever tell yourself you should be doing more?

— What if you’re evaluating your life by the wrong metrics? What if your unique genius shows you not only your superpowers but also the values and metrics that matter most to you? What if designing a life guided by your genius is kind of like rigging the game in your favor—setting your own rules and winning according to what you actually care about?

Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele

Mike writes about how artists, entrepreneurs, healers, and visionaries of all kinds can actually build a life around the genius inside of them.

He's CEO of Mike Iamele LLC and Creator of Sacred Branding® and the Sacred Circle.

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