Thoughts By Natalie
living

The Starting Line

nicoleabout

Today I’m switching things up a little bit and having my friend Nicole Zasowski (that lovely gal pictured above) share about something she and I both care quite a bit about—being okay with progress, not perfection. The truth is, we are always “in process” and never in our lives will we reach a point where we are perfect or at the finish line. As a Marriage and Family Therapist and a gal who has a lot of wisdom on life, I thought she’d be the perfect person to share on this topic. I hope you’ll be as inspired by her words as I have been! (Oh, and definitely don’t miss out on her blog, where she writes honestly and vulnerably about her own joys and struggles in a way that communicates the truth about who we are and what gives us value. So good!!)

For me, the most difficult part of any journey is the very beginning. When it comes to pursuing a dream, I often find myself stalling at the starting line. I spend countless hours preparing, consulting with friends and family, and analyzing various aspects of my goals. And I wait….I wait much longer than I should. I keep the dream in my head where it’s safe instead of being vulnerable and taking action on my ideas. 

Most of the time I wait to feel like I am enough. I wait to feel competent enough, old enough, wise enough, and secure enough before I have the courage to make progress on a dream or allow myself to be seen by other people.

This is a pattern in my life that has robbed me of a lot of joy. When I started my private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I couldn’t see the growth and the beauty that was taking place in the early days because my focus was fixed on where I wanted to be instead of where I was.

Launching my blog was a similar experience. I spent a lot of time waiting to be good enough, believing that my confidence comes from perfection instead of being who I am in process. As a result, I waited a long time to hit “Publish,” not wanting to let anyone see my work or me until it was perfect.

But here’s what I’m learning about the starting line:

We are just as lovable in process as we are in perfect performance. When we are able to separate our personal value from the success or failure of our endeavors, we are free to try, fail, and try again, knowing that our worth is protected. Knowing we are worthy in process gives us the courage move forward.

The process is the point. Learning and growing happens in the journey. We can’t skip to the finish line. But even if we could, we would miss out on all the moments of learning, memory making, and opportunities to grow that exist along the way.

Comparison is a poison to progress. Whether we find ourselves measuring our success against others’ story or comparing who we are now with our “someday self,” we will inevitably stall as we lose sight of our own journey and calling as we attempt to live someone else’s story instead of our own.

I don’t know what dreams you hold or what visions you have for your future. Perhaps you’ve been holding an idea close for a long time or maybe you’ve made all of your preparations but feel afraid to launch. What I do know is this: Wherever you are in your journey, you are enough as you are right this minute and you are just as worthy at the starting line as you are at the finish line.

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  • Megan at Lush to Blush
    November 16, 2015 at 6:53 am

    This is awesome! What a great reminder that life is about the journey, not about the end. Beautiful!

    xo Megan, Lush to Blush

    • Nicole
      November 16, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Thanks so much for your kind words Megan!

  • Jackie
    November 16, 2015 at 9:13 am

    This is wonderful encouragement. Thank you!

    • Nicole
      November 16, 2015 at 9:31 am

      Thanks Jackie! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Carrie
    November 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Nicole, your words really blessed me today. It’s a great reminder for those of us who are older as well. Hope you’re having a wonderful week.

  • jamie
    November 17, 2015 at 6:50 am

    That’s so funny, right before I read this post I read my “moment of happiness” email from Gretchen Rubin:

    “The greatest of all human delusions is that there is a tangible goal, and not just direction towards an ideal aim. The idea that a goal can be attained perpetually frustrates human beings, who are disappointed at never getting there, never being able to stop.”

    -Stephen Spender, World Within World

  • Kari
    November 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Nicole, your words really resonated with me! When I started my blog (and even now one year later), I struggled with not feeling “good enough.” Thank you for reminding me that I am enough right now.
    – Kari, http://alittleberdie.com/

  • Jessaca
    November 18, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I’m bookmarking this to read it when I’m needing these words again!