We’re often brought up to believe that risk is a bad thing.
But the truth is it depends on the risk.
Packing up and moving to a new city could be considered risky but it’s not a bad thing. On the flipside, gambling away your savings hoping to hit the big time is risky and it’s not a particularly good idea.
I think when it comes to taking risks you know whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on how you’ll feel if it doesn’t work out.
When the risk not panning out means your safety at risk it’s probably not something worth pursing. Let’s take the gambling example.
If it turns out well you could walk away with more than your annual salary which is enticing. However, if we look at what happens if things go wrong you’ll realise that you gain nothing. If you gamble away thousands of pounds you don’t leave the experience haven’t learnt a lesson.
Those kinds of risks aren’t worth taking.
But when you try something new, push yourself and get out of your comfort zone, even if it doesn’t work out as planned, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to grow and develop into the kind of person you want to be.
A person might look at your life and tell you that things should be different.
That you should have pursued a different sort of career, that you should have more friends, that your relationships with certain people in your life should look a certain way.
That might be because they they think you’d be better off with things being different.
This is often based on the way things are or what they think is the right way to live.
It can be difficult to not take on the expectations and ideals of others. So if you’re ever close to conformity remember that different is good and sometimes it’s the best thing for you.
Sometimes good things take time.
But if you’re not willing to wait you’ll end up missing out.
The lesson to learn is that you have to believe it can happen before it happens, instead of getting impatient.
Trust that the thing you want is possible and slowly but surely it’ll happen.
Granted it can be difficult to hold on to what might feel like blind faith but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
And don’t get caught up in thinking that the frustration of waiting is your only option.
So much can change in a moment, a few hours or a day.
Before you know it you’ll be onto the good bit.
Or maybe it should be good vs better.
Sometimes better is worse than good but we think that good is enough so we don’t aim for better. The mindset of a Bare Minimum Betty often lies in the good zone.
Because when your bare minimum is good enough why would you do any better.
If you choose to aim for better that could mean a variety of things, a key one being commitment but it’s more than that.
Aiming for better is:
Trying something new that in the words of Seth Godin ‘might not work’
Doing more than you have to
Looking for ways to improve
Offering to help someone else
There is power in the meaning we attach to words.
The Bare Minimum Betty concept is something I came up with because I enjoy playing around with ideas and creating characters. But it’s about more than just a made up character that doesn’t go above and beyond.
What started as just part of my writing practice resulted in me reflecting on my own behaviour.
I began identifying moments in my life where I was being bare minimum, not in a critical way but in a gentle way. Like ‘oh, I could put in more effort here’ or ‘I can feel myself holding back’.
And in these moments of reflection I began to understand what it really means to be bare minimum.
It’s complaining or being frustrated with where you’re at because you’re not putting much effort in and not getting much back.
It’s going through life without letting your core self be seen.
It’s following instructions and not being willing to ask questions.
It’s being tossed about by the waves of life because you aren’t willing to pick up an oar.
It’s noticing a problem but waiting for someone else to offer a solution.
That’s not the kind of person I want to be, yet I like many others sometimes fall into being a bare minimum Betty.
But in recognising those things in myself I’m able to push past them. So, when I notice I’m holding back, I’ll push past those feelings and speak up.
On the flipside I’m also aware that some people are totally satisfied with being good enough or bare minimum that is totally okay as long as you don’t pretend you’re offering your best.
Not those of others but your own.
I think a lot of people have expectations for what they want out of life. And despite the popular phrase that goes something like ‘If you’re dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough’, high expectations can be overwhelming.
But something that I’ve learnt is that you have to be committed and pace yourself. If you truly want to achieve something it shouldn’t be conditional, you should be dedicated to it.
I’ve also found it useful to check in and like to refer back to something Seth Godin once said about how you’re either talking to the wring people or you’re not making good enough stuff.
And I’m at a point where I can see that just because I’m trying hard doesn’t mean what I’m producing is good enough for the outcome that I want.
When that happens I take a step back and re-group. I think about what I’m doing that is good and how I can make it better.
My expectations of myself are quite frankly ridiculous which is why I find them overwhelming. Plus, I often make the mistake of focusing too much on the end goal instead of simply just doing the work.
I don’t have a roundup or a takeaway as I’m still learning how to manage the expectations I have of myself.
However, what I will share is that if you find yourself getting overwhelmed or frustrated you probably need to change what you’re doing or the way you’re thinking.
I think this statement is true for a lot of people.
We all know what we need to do in order to reach our goals or get things done. It’s the doing it part that hold us back.
You’re working on a project and maybe you spend a morning planning and preparing what to work on for the week ahead. But then when it comes down to it you’re scrolling through meme accounts and reading the lyrics to your favourite rap songs.
You’ve got good thoughts, you know what needs to be done.
You’ve got bad habits and you often find yourself procrastinating until it’s too late for things to go well.
There’s a discord between what you know and what you do.
You have to find a way to bring your habits into harmony with your thoughts.
That’s one way to transform your life.
Thoughts on how we sometimes make ourselves feel worse.
In a recent moment I found myself choosing to do something that wasn’t making me feel good.
Now the details aren’t important but the lesson I learnt in the moment is.
Imagine you’re doing something and you it doesn’t feel good. On one hand you can stop, let go of the feeling and focus on yourself.
But on the other hand you can negatively indulge and allow yourself to feel bad.
It might seem strange that someone would choose to feel bad. But something I’ve learnt is that when someone has an internal belief they’ll be drawn to things that support that notion.
Take not feeling good enough as an example. If you heard people talking about you saying unkind things and you already feel bad about yourself those words only reaffirm your existing feelings.
But I think if you do feel good enough you’re less likely to give attention to something that goes against how you feel because that isn’t beneficial.
So the next time you find yourself indulging, ask yourself how it’s making you feel.
Let’s start with the letter S for self sacrifice.
When you live your life trying to be a good person you’ll find yourself pulled in every which way.
Often what people judge a persons goodness by is how much you do for them.
And in a bid to keep the title of the most good of all. You might find yourself bending, doing the most and going above and beyond to please people.
But as much as it’s great to go above and beyond (for the things that matter), it’s impossible to please everyone. It’s a losing game.
So it might be much more useful to focus on being generous, kind and thoughtful but don’t do it for other people. Do it for you because it feels good and maybe because you’ve decided that that’s the kind of person you want to be.
When doing something new or something that you aren’t familiar with it’s easy to get caught in the anxiety loop of not being good enough.
‘I don’t want to lead this project because I’m not good enough’ or ‘I don’t want to contribute my idea because it won’t be good enough.’
But the irony is nobody is good enough out the gate. The trick is to focus on yourself, on being better than you were last year or even just yesterday.
And then bit by bit you’ll get better and better. And that will always be good enough.