Last year, you would be jealous of today-you. Five-year-ago-you would kiss the very ground you walk on. College you would be positively petrified of you—that is, if college you was your intern.
You have made unbelievable, cross-the-Red-Sea-without-Moses strides in the past few years of your life.
Except it. Nod your head along with me. “Yes, Kara. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m proud of how far I’ve come.”
I know you’re not saying that. I know you’re thinking of your mile-long to-do list, the deal that fell through, the scale that must—MUST—be calibrated at a higher sea level, because there’s no way in hell THAT number’s right. You are having a mental argument with me inside your head, listing all the reasons you are behind, when really you are ahead.
I so, so, so get it.
I know what it’s like to always want more, and forget about all I’ve accomplished.
In February of this year, my life was awesome. I was photographing a cookbook. I decided to try to “make it” as a freelancer. I cold-emailed restaurants in town who needed a food photographer and—to my absolute surprise—got responses.
For the first time in three years, I felt like things were going my way. If I wasn’t white and could actually hold a beat, you could say I was makin’ moves. Things were happening for me.
And then March hit. Ah, March.
In March things slowed down. Gigs I thought would close, didn’t. I got ghosted by a few prospects. And even though a mere three weeks prior I felt on top of this world, I suddenly thought I was going to crash, burn, and live off eggs and canned tuna.
Take note of every, single, tiny thing you’ve accomplished. Write it down if you have to.
You are going to laugh at me when I say this, but guess what snapped me out of my self-deprivation pity party? Facebook. That’s right. Good ol’ Zuckerberg, who may-or-may-not have screwed over his original business partners for millions of dollars, reminded me that hey, I’ve actually done a lot.
A series of images greeted me on my mini-feed, capturing my finest moments from this winter. And you know what? I killed it. Friends crossed time zones to visit me. I wrote a five-digit proposal. I took risks. Some worked out, some didn’t. But I made them. ME.
So after Mark Z gave me a digital pep talk, I decided to dive deeper. I got out my planner (side bar—the Nourished Planner, a gift from my awesome friend Alexa), and wrote down every single thing I did in the past three months. For once, I stopped berating myself for not doing more, not working faster, not working harder. I sat down and said, “Kara just shut up for five seconds and applaud yourself.”
I want you to do the same.
The most successful people you know STILL have times of doubt and frustration.
One of my most badassiest friends Tara, is a shark. I’m talking, when this girl is in, she’s in. When that girl wants something, she has a take-no-prisoners tolerance for caving in and she goes after it.
I am JEALOUS of Tara. That’s right, I just said that. I’ll own it. She has tripled her Instagram following in less than six months, has been featured in some top-tier fitness outlets—who wouldn’t be jealous?
So when Tara texted me two days ago frustrated over a business deal, it took strength from the high heavens not to roll my eyes at the ceiling and type, “Are you KIDDING ME!?”
I told Tara exactly what I told myself a few days prior: That five-year-ago Tara would be jealous of 2017 Tara. That even though we always want more, more, more for ourselves, we have to step back and take pride in all we’ve accomplished.
Yes, we should always set our gaze forward, but sometimes we need to stop and look back.
You are awesome. I want you to breathe that sentence in and really mean it. I want you to list down ten things that you are really, fucking proud of—ten things that no one can ever take away from you.
Because no matter where we set out sights on, sometimes it’s worth it to look back. Look back on all the hurdles you had to clear, the stepping stones and less-than-amiable people you had to maneuver, the quick thinking you had to perform, and the risks you had to take.
YOU DID THAT. No one else got you here, but you. You did all of it. Take pride in it. Own it.
It was all you.