Her Mess is Better Than My Mess

Why do we do that?

Kristi writes for Juggling Normal and Medium. This post first appeared here, and is published in full with permission.

“McConaughey is a talented actor and a fine writer, but a total genius at living.”

Lawrence Wright

Why do we do that?!

Why do we compare ourselves to other people, other lives, and other situations we know nothing about?

Why do we think “they” must be more qualified, have more money, have more help, or that it’s easier for them?

I’m listening to all the Matthew McConaughey podcasts today — okay, Rachel Hollis’ and Tim Ferriss’ — because 1) Matthew McConaughey has great stories 2) there’s something about him that reminds me of my hubby; and 3) he has a very (very) sexy voice. Swoon.

Both podcasts are so good, very different tones, obvi, but with essential takeaways. Look for my long-form dissertation on Ferriss’ conversation later, but let’s dive into Rach’s highlights now.

Oddly, they both start getting good at about the 30-something minute mark.

When Hollis discusses staying present, which she struggles with while running a company, being a mom, writing her books, and doing all the things, my ears perked up. Her schedule is very intense. It has been for several years, and she keeps lying to herself to say, you just gotta get through this thing, and then you are gonna be okay. You just gotta do this next thing, and then when you’re finished, you can slow down.

She keeps counting down, but she’s beginning to realize she is missing out on her life. Her life isn’t in between her big projects and accomplishments; it’s being a mom while writing a book while running a company.

(Okay, hello, full disclosure, it resonates, because I’m a mom, writing while running a company, but I get to do it in the comfort of obscurity — hey, so there’s that — but believe me, I’m not comparing).

Her life, like my life, like his life, and even your life, is every moment, big and small, significant and insignificant, whether we are consciously living or counting down.

I’m pretty passionate about maximizing life, so I could go on, but instead, I wanted to call out that after she puts her issues on the table, he responds to say, “I’m not making straight A’s in all of this, either.”

They both embrace who they are. It’s the only way.

The three of us have ten kids between us, so I get the power of the present moment at a very visceral level, and on the other hand, if I’m not playing defense, we will not survive. There’s reality, and there’s an exquisite tension between being present and straddling the past and future.

McConaughey talks about that too; how he can’t be fully enjoy the moment unless he’s anticipated what his family needs, what the project entails, or has an outcome in mind.

He prepares accordingly and does the work to be in a position to be intentional, or play. He doesn’t just roll out of bed and fumble through, relying on charm, even though he (or Hollywood) has cultivated that image.

BTW embracing the in-between time and merging the past, present, and future by compounding time are two things I often write about because it’s so much easier to be 100% present when you are where you want to be.

When you are stressed about something else or torn between what or who needs you elsewhere, it shows. But when you’ve taken care of what you need to handle and are on board with where you’re headed, you can be open to what is right in front of you. And, so often, what’s right in front of you is incredible — “vital” as McConaughey says.

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Why do we do that?!

Why do we think we have to be the right person to influence someone else, or that we have to be a leader or a visionary, smarter or more educated, credentialed or more qualified, have our ducks in a row or plotting a master plan?

Why do we assume they’ll see our mess, big and little things falling through the cracks, not polished, not a pro, not perfect, very human, and be turned off?

If you think of nearly every freaking moment you’ve loved, truly shared, and experienced with someone else over the years, the best moments are always messy.

They are always when someone lets their guard down, lets you behind the scenes, or reveals something about themselves. It’s when they (or we) are vulnerable, passionate, fired up, authentic, and emotional. Those are the moments that changed us; when something resonated deeply, we were inspired or connected more intimately.

We love Rach and McConaughey because they are works in progress, and we are engrossed in their journey — we’re rooting for them.

“Excuse the mess, but we live here.”

Roseanne Barr

But we live here.

Influence isn’t waiting until you are ready for a big reveal; it’s not the perfect strategy for creating the right messaging, at the right time, with the right number of followers. Or maybe it is if you are a billion-dollar brand, but you’re not. You’re you. And No One needs you to be so strategic or influential in that way.

If your community gets you, you’ll be influential. If they love you, you’ll be influential. If you are provocative or challenge them or make them think or widen their perspective or inspire them, you’ll be influential. If they are rooting for you, you are already influencing them.

As a mom, I’ve thought a lot about how I influence my children and how they influence me, and at no time did I think I’m going to reserve judgment on this kid until they become an adultThen, then I’ll know if he/she was amazing. Until then, the jury is out.

No! They were amazing before they even existed, and no matter what, they will be amazing going forward. We are lucky enough to be here to experience and enjoy their amazingness. What if we felt the same about our own lives? You are born influential; you just have to decide what to do with it.

Our children don’t have to be masterpieces to influence, and neither do we. We just have to be ourselves and choose our conviction. Does it help if we love life? Absolutely. Does it matter if we are charismatic? It helps. Can trust and consistency and flexibility, and curiosity help too? Definitely.

There is a process, there are tools, competencies, and actions that we can take to build influence, but none of that matters if we wait, hesitate, or hold back. Embrace your mess. Yours.

“Embrace the glorious mess that you are”

Elizabeth Gilbert
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  1. Pingback: Unbranded — 5 Life Lessons as Told by Matthew McConaughey to Tim Ferriss - Juggling Normal

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