Growing up, I suffered from a bad case of “the best-ism.”
In the classroom? Needs to be the best at any project or subject. On the field? Needs to be the best at the sport — regardless of if she likes playing it or has any natural ability to do so. Amongst a peer group? Needs to be the best, the most perfect, the most liked, the most everything in order to feel OK.
The entire concept of being the best is completely subjective, so having the best be your goal is completely unattainable. It’s basically like deciding that you want the job title of Queen of the Universe. Sure, keep striving for that — but it’s never going to happen, and you’re wasting your energy.
Striving to be the best in any given situation had some major negative consequences. First, it made me put an insane amount of pressure on myself, all the time — which kept me from truly enjoying situations that could’ve just been fun.
(I distinctly remember sitting out from dodgeball in elementary school because I knew I’d get “out.” And — this is so embarrassing — my mom had to pick me up from a birthday party once because I had lost musical chairs.)
(Because if I was going to be the best, I, of course, had to be better than all the other people around me.) It made me view others’ successes as a detriment to my own; others’ wins as my loss. And that’s really, REALLY sad.
This case of “the best-ism” continued from grade school through college and into my adult professional life, where, as a director at an advertising agency, my case of “the best-ism” was a positive attribute in many ways. If you wanted to win the client, you had to be the best. If you wanted to move up as high as possible and get that raise, you had to prove you were the best.
It’s not until I became both a mom and an entrepreneur that I realized what an unwinnable battle I was in with myself and my best-ism. Because both motherhood and running your own business teach you really quickly that there is no best. There is no winning. There is only doing what YOU can do to the best of your own ability, each and every day.
When your goal is to be THE best, others are the competition. When your goal is to be YOUR best, others become your community.
As soon as I stopped framing my life goal as being the best there was in the world and started instead looking at how I could be my own best version of myself, I started to naturally seek out community. I connected more deeply with mom friends. I started MotherHustle as a weekly email for other mamas in my agency world. I joined a mastermind. I added more mama voices to the MotherHustle mix.
That’s what community does. It takes you out of yourself — out of your own head, your own worries, your own selfishness — and applies that wasted energy to a bigger cause. It opens your eyes to experiences you miss when your blinders are narrowed. It puts your own goals in context. It allows you to make an actual impact outside of your own personal circle.
If you want to not only survive motherhood and entrepreneurship, but also ENJOY them, you need a community to help you do that — and you need to be helping others do the same.
You’ll be hearing from some amazing mom bosses and learn how they’ve made community part of their lives and their businesses.
So mamas, I want to know: what does community mean to YOU in your own daily motherhustle? What do you value in a community? Has your need for community changed over time?
She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle.
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