Stop Trying So Hard: How Striving to be Something Gets in The Way of Actually Doing Anything of Value

Milli Fox looking at her iPhone

 

Once upon a time I started caring what the world thought of me. I guess we all do.

It happened in stages. First I started striving for good grades and achievements in order to feel enough validation to believe I was worthy of love. In high school I was a ridiculous over-acheiver, but still somehow managed to remain true to my own style & sense of creativity. It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto that the second and fatal stage occurred-I started to lose my sense of self completely.

I used to have this really original sense of style. I loved thrifting and reworking my own clothes. But somehow I started to associate those parts of me with my roots and pieces of my past I was trying to run away from.

I felt super lost for a long time. Then I started trying. I started trying to be the person I thought I wanted to be instead of figuring out how to let the person I am shine through.

I was never one to look at fashion magazines and honestly never really paid a ton of attention to what was on trend or what other people were wearing.  I just kept trying on styles, and ways of being that I thought suited this “refined, put together” woman I wanted to be.

Then, cue Instagram. Boom. A black hole of potential selves to strive to become. Not only aesthetically, but also on a popularity basis.

Was I not as likeable, smart and interesting as all these other women amassing huge followings, curating the perfect wardrobe/home/feed and getting a ton of likes for it??? Of course! So why couldn’t I also have what they have??

And how would I go about getting “what they have”? Well, obviously, by doing as they do!

For the past few years I’ve wasted so. much. energy. Cherry picking bits and pieces from what everyone else around me was doing and trying to emulate it in order to feel a sense of achievement and worthiness. With the misguided thought that if I just kept trying, I would eventually find my own style and it would shine through.

Instagram can really tear into you and wear you down if you let it get inside your head. I don’t hear too many people talking about this- but Instagram is a dangerous drug.

I’ve finally come to the place where I’ve all but given up on the striving. I realize that looking outside will NEVER help me become more of myself. I realize that what I’ve been referring to as inspiration is just a sharade for comparison.

The definition of inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. But there isn’t too much creative about trying to be someone you’re not.

I’ve always been a master at looking like I have my shit together. It’s something I pride myself on. I’m the type of person that doesn’t like when people see me sweat. I don’t like looking like I don’t have things in control, and I sure as hell don’t like to look like I’m floundering or that I’m living in chaos. I’m also super clumsy, goofy, and very neurotic and anxious. Surprised? It’s all super true.

I’ve been so busy striving for appearances, and looking outward- I’ve totally ignored the place where the most grounding and solid sense of self comes from. Inside. DUH. PUKE.

But seriously. The second definition of inspiration is the drawing in of breath. And that’s probably a much better place to go if you want to try to figure out who you really are.

I’ve spent so much time looking for external inspiration that I got overwhelmed with all the options for who I “could be” and messed up all the opportunities I’ve had to just show up.

I thought that when I showed up, it had to be a certain way. It had to be phrased and curated in such a way that it would be irresistible. Perfectly crafted vulnerability. Scripted sharing. The right message, the right time, the right way in the right package.

That’s why I’ve had such a hard time with this blog. It’s never had a proper identity because I’ve always tried to make it something and not just let it be what it is. It’s been a fitness blog, a nutrition blog, a mommy blog, a travel blog and an entrepreneurial blog. I always tried to shove it into a box- and never really fully showed up because I couldn’t stay committed.

I always lost “inspiration” with each of these topics and I think it’s because I was forcing it so hard. I think if I had of just started writing what came to me, when I came to me- from INSIDE OF ME, instead of constantly looking outside of me for the ideas- that I would have already given so so much more value.

So what I’m saying here is pretty simple. If you can’t commit to a niche- don’t. If you need to just start DOING (not planning) something that comes straight from your heart everyday and let it form into what it’s supposed to be on it’s own, in its own time. Do it.

Don’t strive. Don’t try. Just doooooooo.

Nike got it really, really right. Ideas are worthless and striving is exhausting. Doing, from the centre of your self, is the only true way you can bring value to the world. So just put your god damn blinders up and start scribbling till you can recognize what’s on the page. ❤️

With all my love!!,

Mama Milli

If you like anything I’ve said here, come find me on Instagram 

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