Why living the life you desire isn’t selfish

Passion led us here

A woman said to me last week, “I’m working on living the life I desire, not the life I’m supposed to show up for.”

Wow. Her words hit me right in the gut.

Isn’t THIS what it’s all about?

Letting go of everything you’ve been taught you were SUPPOSED to want and instead showing up to live the life you ACTUALLY want?

And let’s get this clear right now – living the life you desire IS NOT SELFISH, for so many reasons.

One – When you’re happy and filled with joy for life, you show up better for other people.

Two – When you throw away the rules you’ve been taught and create your own rules for life, you break barriers. You become a change maker.

Three – When you stop worrying about doing what is “right” you do MORE good in the world.

Four – When you let go of perfectionism and proving and people pleasing and follow your true inner voice, the voice of your desire, you make an impact. You’ll share a dissenting point of view with your boss. You’ll put the idea out there that you’ve been pondering for months. You’ll write the song or poem or book and share it with the world. You’ll decide your heart is calling you to start a business or run a nonprofit or become a teacher and you’ll go do that thing.

Five – Pleasing others is not the purpose of life. YOU get to create your own definition of success. Impacting others and making a difference is definitely part of that definition, but when you let go of expectations and live the life you desire, that impact comes from your soul. It comes from your truth. It’s driven by mission and purpose, not pressure and standards.

The belief that living the life you desire is selfish is just a lie you’ve been taught.

It’s time to create a new belief.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk 😀

THIS is what my new program, Beyond Perfect, is all about. It’s for women that identify as overachievers, overdoers, perfectionists, and/or people-pleasers because this is my story and the story of so many of my coaching clients. These are the challenges getting in the way of so many women living the life they desire and sharing their true voice with the world.

Not the voice you’re “supposed” to share. Not the cookie cutter voice of the overachiever. Not the hustle puppet. Not the imposter voice. Your voice. Your truth.

I’m here to support you every step of the way. Let’s get started.

Get all the details about Beyond Perfect and sign up here.

Registration ends this Friday. See you there!

The single most important question to ask yourself to get past the fear of disappointing people

Writing in a journal

On Friday I hosted a webinar on letting go of proving, pleasing, and perfecting. We had a FANTASTIC group of women that shared SO openly.

If you weren’t able to join the webinar, let me tell you now – YOU ARE NOT ALONE in struggling with perfectionism or people pleasing or feeling like you have something to prove.

(Side note: Last week I did an Instagram poll about proving ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of people said they felt the need to prove themselves. Wow.)

A lot of themes came up in the webinar, but there’s one in particular I wanted to share today: A fear of disappointing people.

The fear of disappointing people was underneath so many other situations – having a hard time saying no, feeling like everything has to be perfect, doing or believing something different than what you were taught by your parents, teachers, or church growing up, working yourself into the ground to be successful (or to avoid failure, because that would be disappointing people).

Here’s the single most important question to get out of the disappointment trap: What is more important?

What is more important than disappointing people? What is more important than putting out “perfect” work? What is more important that questioning what you were taught and choosing a way that works for you?

Make the thing that is more important BIGGER than the fear of disappointing people.

The more important thing is completely up to you. It might be something big like expressing yourself or living aligned to what you know is most important or setting an example for your daughter about living a free life.

Or it could be something small, like it’s more important to sleep for an extra hour than to potentially disappoint someone by not responding to their email at 9:00pm.

What is more important to YOU?

 

Feel like you’re spinning on a hamster wheel? Here’s what to do.

fairground-1149626_1920

Let me tell you a quick story….

I was out running Saturday errands a few years ago, shortly after I started my business. I had a long list of things to get done and somewhere between the grocery store and making returns at Kohl’s, I noticed my whole body rushing with an urgent need to make it through everything on my to-do list.

It was like there was a hamster wheel inside my chest, and I could feel it spinning faster and faster, whirring inside my body.

Instead of ignoring the feeling and rushing to the next task, like I’d done my entire life, I stopped. Literally. I stopped my body in the middle of running errands while standing in a crowd of people that were probably also rushing around checking items off their to-do list.

I took a deep breath.

Within a few seconds, my rational brain kicked in and said, “This is ridiculous. Nothing you are doing is an emergency. You don’t need to feel this way.”

I took another breath.

The whir of the hamster wheel in my chest began to quiet down. My heart rate slowed. The underlying anxiety pulsing through my body subsided. I realized I could be productive and calm at the same time. Rushing didn’t help me get through my to-do list any faster; it just made it less enjoyable.

I call this rushing manic mode. It’s the feeling that there’s not enough time and too much to do. Everything in your body goes on high alert. You feel yourself almost tipping forward with a desire to go faster.

There are so many things underneath manic mode – wanting to make everything perfect, fear of things slipping through the cracks, guilt and vulnerability when you do slow down, believing there will never be enough time to get everything done, etc.

It’s not healthy. Or fun. And I want to help you get out of it.

Yes, you can do exactly what I did when I noticed myself rushing and stop and take a breath. It will definitely help you get out of manic mode in the moment.

But to really get out of it we need to go to the root cause. We need to get to why you are in manic mode in the first place.

That’s what we’re going to cover in my free webinar this Friday on how to let of people pleasing, perfectionism, and feeling like you have to prove yourself.

In the webinar, you’ll discover what’s standing in your way of letting go so that you can slow down and reclaim your joy.

It’s happening this Friday, May 15, 12:00-1:00pm central. Sign up even if you can join live – I will send out a recording.

Sign up here.

So many people feel the weight of proving, people-pleasing, and perfection. So many women especially live in manic mode. Please share the link to sign up for the webinar with anyone that needs this (here it is for easy copy and paste: https://is.heatherwhelpley.com/lettinggo)

See you Friday!

 

Feel like you’re failing at everything? Here’s why and what to do about it.

Outline of a person in front of a clock.

A few days ago I posted a poll on Instagram with the question, “Do you feel like you’re failing at everything right now?”

85% of people said YES.

That’s a whole lot of people feeling like they’re failing all over the place.

And I know enough to confidently say – there’s no way you’re failing. You’re amazing. Your mind is just playing tricks on you.

And it also makes sense that you feel like you’re failing – even though it’s a total lie.

Here’s why:

The entire definition of productivity has changed in the last six weeks. Instead of being at work and doing work, you are now multitasking in a million areas at the same time. That makes you feel like you’re doing everything half-way (ie, failing).

It’s also harder to find the time and space to do the deep, uninterrupted work that makes you feel like you’re really accomplishing something.

On top of all of this, our culture constantly gives you the message that you’re worth what you produce. That you better wake up and hustle every day and prove your worth. So when you’re not living up to this ambiguous standard, you feel behind.

And if you’re an overachiever or perfectionist TOO – well, then. This is a recipe for feeling like you’re failing.

Here are three things you can do right now to let go of feeling like you’re failing:

  1. Define what “enough” is – what are the 1-2 work things and 1-2 personal things you need to get done each day? Write them down and know that this is your threshold for enough. And do your best to be realistic in what you deem to be enough! (I know…this one is hard for me, too)
  2. Look for the evidence of what you are doing really well. Things you’re proud of. I assure you, there is plenty of it when you start to look.
  3. Whenever that feeling of failure comes up, repeat to yourself: I am worthy for who I am, not what I do. Say it over and over. You will start to believe it.

P.S. I’m talking a lot about topics like this on Instagram – both in posts and in my stories. Come join me at @heather.whelpley if we haven’t connected there already!

Three questions to ask yourself right now

Three questions to ask yourself right now

The answers to these questions is all you need to do right now.

This is not a time to try and be perfect.

If you’re entire definition of productivity has changed in the last ten days, that’s completely fine.

If you’re so tired that all you can do is the basics, that’s completely fine.

If you feel super busy, but you can’t figure out why because you’ve barely left the house, that’s completely fine.

If you’re sitting at home bored because you live alone and your entire social life has been cancelled and you genuinely want to use this time to dive into personal growth, be creative, write, read, workout, whatever you want to do – that’s also completely fine.

There isn’t any one right way to do this. Listen to yourself, to your true inner voice, to your core needs – and find the way that works for you.

My favorite mindset hack to let go of perfectionism

Hands in the air

If you’ve ever found yourself re-reading an email for the eighth time or tweaking an already-done PowerPoint, this message is for you.

Ditto if you’ve spent weeks fiddling with the font on your website, have a blog that’s been sitting in your drafts folder for days (or weeks…or months…) or have an idea you’ve been waiting to share because it just needs a little more research.

Here’s the mindset hack: Go for 97.

Let me explain.

100% perfection isn’t possible. You’re human. No matter how hard you work, there will always be an error. You could always do more research, always wordsmith a document one more time. You need to take a stand and let go of 100%.

AND…the effort it takes to go from 97% to 99% usually isn’t worth it.

So go for 97.

I can already see the engineers and accountants questioning this approach, so I’ll tell you now – there’s no actual math behind this. It’s a mindset shift. That’s it.

But it’s a mindset shift that’s given me permission to let go and be imperfect so I can spend my time doing something that will create a bigger impact than changing from my font from Cambria to Calibri.

Think about it….if it takes you two hours to go from 0 to 97% and then ANOTHER two hours to go from 97% to 99%, isn’t that a waste of time? I KNOW how much potential each of you has and I want to see you spending your time and energy doing what matters to you and what can make a difference for others.

Another thing – I use this mindset hack for things that I consider FINISHED. Done. Complete. As good as they’re going to be.

Drafts don’t get 97%. Neither do pilots or experiments or basically anything I’m doing for the first time.

They get about 80%. Maybe less.

As someone that used to expect things to be successful the first time around, putting something out into the world at 80% was hard! The story behind getting to 80% is too much for this blog, but let me know if you want to know more about it and I’ll be sure to share in a future message.

For now, aim for 97%. Catch yourself when you’re crossing past the 97% line and force yourself to be done. It will be uncomfortable! That’s okay. Embrace the discomfort and stop working anyway.

Let me know how this works for you! I always love to hear your stories.

Healthy excellence vs perfectionism – What is the line?

Arrow hitting the target perfectly

I facilitated a webinar for a company last week on perfectionism and A LOT of people showed up. The #1 question they asked?

When is striving for excellence and achievement GOOD – and when is it perfectionism?

Such a great question!

Because I know many of you struggle with perfectionism and overachieving, I wanted to answer the question for you too.

Here’s the official, researched response:

Healthy excellence means you can learn from mistakes and let them go. You experiment and try new things and see yourself as worthy and separate from your job or goal, so you don’t personally feel like a failure when something goes wrong.

Perfectionism is believing you cannot fail. It’s just not an option. Your goal or job becomes your identity. You might stop yourself from trying new things because you aren’t certain you’ll be good at them. Or you may work yourself into the ground to make sure you are successful. Your inner critic keeps an archive of all your mistakes and failures, repeating them inside your head over and over. It might feel like life has become a giant report card.

For me, the line is more of a feeling. When I’ve crossed the line, I feel an internal drive to keep working harder to prove myself. I feel like things have to be successful the first time around or that I’m not allowed to fail. There’s usually a tiny pit in my stomach, an underlying feeling of low-level anxiety that isn’t terrible, but it’s persistent.

This feeling is my clue that I need to check-in with myself, do some grounding activities like hiking or cross-country skiing, and say no to more things. This will get me back on the healthy side of the line.

What does that line feel like for you? When do you know you’ve crossed over from healthy excellence to unhealthy perfectionism?

What change really looks like in your life

road spirals up a mountain

I gave myself a soft deadline of this Thursday, January 16 to launch an online course for all of you.

Knowing that I’m an overachiever that tends to take on too much, I consciously told myself it was fine if I didn’t meet the deadline. It was completely okay if the course didn’t launch until next week. After all, what does 4 or 5 days matter in the grand scheme of things?

I told myself these things – and still this week I could feel the overachiever inner critic popping back into my mind telling me I better meet that Thursday deadline. I better work nights and push myself to get it all done. The familiar feeling of low-level anxiety crept into my belly.

And then I caught myself.

Instead of just telling myself it was okay not to meet the deadline, I actively gave myself permission to launch next week.

I realized all these feelings pushing me to meet a completely arbitrary deadline were just old patterns and old beliefs. And I didn’t want to listen to them anymore.

So I let them go.

And I was immediately relieved. SO relieved. Now that the pressure of the fake deadline is gone, I can actually ENJOY the process of creating the course. And I can enjoy the next several days of my life as well.

This is how change happens – any change. It’s not a linear process where one day you decide to be a different person and you slide into that new way of being without any bumps along the road.

No.

Change is catching yourself earlier and earlier. Instead of berating yourself for being back in the same place, appreciate how far you’ve come. Realize a year ago you wouldn’t have even NOTICED you were in old habits and beliefs, let alone redirected yourself.

You are on a journey. Despite how often it feels like you’re running in circles, let me assure you – you are moving forward. You are evolving and growing every day. You are letting go and unlearning and becoming more and more of the person you are every step along the way.

Give yourself grace.

The two keys to working less

The two secrets to working less

 

Who doesn’t want to work less? Even people that love their jobs and have pretty reasonable hours usually want to work less and have more time for family, friends, exercise, fun, creativity, etc.

And, let’s face it, most of you reading this aren’t working reasonable hours. You’re struggling to put boundaries around work. It makes no difference whether you’re an employee in an organization or an entrepreneur. Working too hard is an epidemic.

It’s one of the most common problems that people share when they come to me for coaching. You don’t want to work every night. You don’t want to check email while still laying in bed in the morning. You want to work hard and be successful, but also let go of it and be present in your time NOT working. We all want it.

Here are the two keys to working less:

  1. Work smarter, not harder: You’ve probably heard this one before, but how many of you are actually doing it? Hint: If you have your email open all the time when you’re working, you not doing it. There are so many ways you can get more efficient and cut out work that doesn’t matter so that you can work less – while also having a bigger impact with your time.
  1. Believe you can work less – and still be successful: This is the one you probably haven’t heard, but it’s even more crucial than the first one. Even when you KNOW that you can be more efficient and do the important work, if you have an underlying belief that you have to hustle to be successful, then that belief is going to override everything. If you believe you’re not the smartest one in the room, but you can work the hardest, then you’ll always work too much. If you believe that money only comes through working 60 hours a week, then you’re going to work 60 hours a week. If you feel like an imposter in what you’re doing, you’re going to work like crazy to keep others from finding you out.

You ALWAYS need both the outer practical work and the internal work to really make change. You have to look inside yourself to shift your beliefs and put practices in place to work smarter.

Either one without the other and long-term change is not going to happen.
That’s why you get both sides in my coaching. I don’t want you to make change for a few weeks – I want you to change your life, so that you can change the world.

If you’re ready to work less and love life while having a big impact in your career, schedule a coaching consultation with me today.

The realization that finally freed me from perfectionism and overachieving

Woman jumping in canyon

There were so many wake-up calls I totally ignored. Sobbing on the floor when I was a junior in high school because I was so completely exhausted. Nearly blacking out during a final in college. Getting shingles when I was 30.

I knew all these things were because of my crazy driving and overachieving, but I didn’t actually know WHY I was putting so much pressure on myself to succeed at EVERYTHING.

Until last winter.

I finally took a step back and asked myself the question.

The answer came to me in an instant.

I was working so hard to prove myself. To compensate for areas in my life that I felt behind or out of the race entirely. It started in high school when I was overweight and boys weren’t interested in me, so I put all my energy into getting good grades and being the captain of two sports and working at my church and volunteering.

And it continued up through last winter when I realized I was putting all the pressure on my business because I wasn’t married and wasn’t a mother. I thought to myself, “Well, I better be successful in my business, because if I fail here and I’m not married and I don’t have any kids, then what do I have to show for my life?”

Part of me knew this wasn’t true. I rationally knew that I was worthy as a human no matter what I achieved. But there was another part of me that didn’t fully believe it.

I didn’t want to keep feeling this way.

So I worked. My new mantra became you are worthy for who you are, not what you do. I let go of the comparison, of feeling like everything had to be successful the first time around, and adopted a mindset of progress over perfection. I practiced quieting the inner critic that was forever telling me I had to be working and proving and I started trusting my true inner voice. I even discovered I had an artistic side and started painting for the first time ever.

The inner critic isn’t completely gone, but it is SO MUCH BETTER. And you guys – life is so much more fun this way! An outsider looking in might not notice many differences, but I feel completely different on the inside. More centered and present and playful and open to the possibilities. I work from joy and inspiration rather than proving and driving.

This alone would be enough, but it isn’t all – my business has also continued to expand as I’ve done this work on myself.

This isn’t just my story – it’s the story of my coaching clients. These women are slowing down and enjoying life. They are growing their business and career because they focus on impact instead of proving. They are saying no and letting go of people pleasing. They are getting out of their own way and standing in their strengths. They are changing the world, one unhurried step at a time.

If you want to stop the madness of hustling for your worth so you can have the life you want while making a big impact, schedule a coaching consultation with me now. It’s a free 30-minute call where we’ll get clear on what’s holding you back and decide together if coaching is the right fit for you.

Don’t wait. Life is so much better on the other side.

 

Heather Whelpley is a coach and speaker that works with high achieving women to get out of their own way so they can have the life they want while making a big impact with their business. Click here to learn more about coaching.