Woman to Women
Why You Shouldn’t Even Try to Be Superwoman
A slightly off solution to success
In our win-win at all cost, extreme-makeover madness world, it seems the only message being sent today is that we must be perfect in every aspect of our lives. In addition to having a stellar career, we must live in an impressive home, drive a luxury car, marry a super spouse, give birth to gifted children, look 10 years younger and – let’s not stop there – even our pets must be well adjusted and pedigreed!
Let’s face it, the pressure to be Superwoman is still out there. Yet this kind of pressure creates a sense of inadequacy that ultimately hinders us INSTEAD of helping us achieve success.
I’ve learned the hard way that when we fly around attempting to be Superwomen, it only makes us super-tired, super-crabby and super-stressed. This kind of stress can lead to diseases of the heart, mind and spirit. It may explain why one in every 2.6 female deaths in the United States is due to heart disease and why women suffer from depression twice as much as men.
After 15 years of research and speaking on this topic to women across the country, I uncovered a simple yet powerful solution. At first glance, it may seem to go against everything you’ve been programmed to believe. It certainly goes against the old adage your mother taught you: That practice does indeed make perfect. But I have another adage. One that may seem, well, slightly off, which is why I call it the Slightly Off Solution to Success.
The answer came to me while I was writing my weekly humor column. Each week I’d struggle to write the perfect newspaper column for my 200,000 readers. And each week I was wracked with fear and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, which often lead to procrastination and severe writer’s block. I had created an impossible scenario in my own mind. If I didn’t write an A-plus column, then I was a failure.
One day, I decided that the only way to finish my work was to give myself permission to write a C column – an adequate, competent column, which I knew very well I could accomplish. Suddenly the ideas started to flow faster than I could write them down. Instead of sitting frozen at my computer screen, I had fun playing with words and phrases. In less time and with less effort, I had finished my column! To my amazement, the permission to earn a C had freed me to do just the opposite! When we take the pressure off ourselves, we reduce our anxiety, which in turn opens up our creativity and gives us more confidence and clarity to tackle the task.
Since that revelation, I have used the C theory to my advantage in many other situations. Whenever I begin a new work project, learn a new task, or take on a new adventure, I give myself permission to earn a C. I recently took a belly-dancing class, and I was definitely a C, maybe even a C-minus. But most nights, my belly shook more from laughter than from dancing. The lighthearted approach to exercise reduced my stress and gave me energy for the more demanding jobs in my work and home life.
This Slightly Off Solution works well in another way too. For instance, there are some jobs only worthy of a C in the first place. For me, those jobs include housecleaning, laundry and yard work. I can contentedly vacuum only the center of a room and mow the lawn without edging!
So, with a wave of my magic wand, I give you permission to earn a C. Go ahead, try it on for size, you just might find the Slightly Off Solution to Success is filled with more joy and laughter and a lot less stress than you ever thought possible.
Author and popular humor speaker Deb DiSandro is the owner of Slightly Off – a company with a big C heart and slightly off solutions for achieving work-life balance and succeeding in business. www.slightlyoff.com.