In my October newsletter I noticed that many of you clicked on the link to my new suit. What I didn’t say is that I wanted to buy a new suit because I’ve officially gone up a pant size due to the pandemic, aging, and that peanut M&M habit I wrote about before.
I wasn’t overly upset with this until I started trying on my favorite fall wardrobe.
My favorite suits didn’t fit.
(You all know I love a good power suit.)
So, like the diligent self-improvement student that I am, I set myself the goal of fitting back into my usual pant size. I downloaded an app and tried to limit those peanut M&Ms.
But after a few months of moderate trying, these pants still didn’t fit.
One day I complained to my good friend Cari that I had set a goal but couldn’t achieve it. She said something that completely reframed my perspective:
“Instead of trying to change yourself to fit your pants, why not change your pants to fit you?”
This simple, logical and absolutely empathetic solution had really never occurred to me. I went to the tailor and a little rubber band worked wonders.
I think this change in attitude is a lot bigger than pants. Maybe you can relate to that. Where in your life, career, or business have you tried to adapt to a situation you outgrew instead of trying to adapt the situation to your needs?
I started thinking about how I applied this lesson.
Sometimes a fit is wrong for a reason
As I wrote before, I know that social media is a great marketing tool, so I tried change myself to fit Instagram and Facebook : take more selfies, follow more influencers, digest more memes. It didn’t feel authentic, comfortable, or beneficial to my business or self-esteem. I realized these channels just weren’t a good fit for me.
Likewise, everyone has been telling me that writers and speakers need to have a podcast, so I started a podcast. I enjoyed brainstorming people for interviews and I enjoyed the conversations. I did not enjoy the production planning, scheduling, marketing, or editing of any portion of a podcast. At some point I decided that podcasts are great, they just aren’t for me.
Everything can’t always go right
I’m still trying to apply this advice to certain aspects of my life. As I’ve said before, I’m a Gold Star-winning perfectionist and people-pleaser . I find it very difficult to say “no” to anyone.
But one thing I’ve learned from the forced calendar cleanup of the pandemic is that as much as I love to socialize and attend events and drink coffee and socialize and all those things, I really do make time for myself need – and I really benefit from it.
I hate disappointing people (including myself) by saying “no,” but I know that ultimately, protecting my time is the right choice for me.
How might you apply this lesson?
Think of a problem, event, obligation, or task that doesn’t feel comfortable. Ask yourself: Rather than changing yourself , is there anything you can do to change the external issue that is causing your stress? Or can you choose to do it differently?
Maybe you’re having a hard time concentrating and you’ve just realized you need to return to your employer’s open plan office. How can you change your workspace to better suit your needs? What tools can you implement to help you stay focused throughout the workday?
Maybe your job responsibilities don’t suit you. Rather than leaving the company, are there opportunities to change your job description or move to another role that would be a better fit?
When you don’t reach your goals, sometimes the goal needs to change – not you.