How to Survive the Comparison and Hustle Trap

I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime in the last couple of years there has been an influx of pro-hustle boss babes circulating the internet and social media. These babes are passionate, loud, and charismatic. While that energy can be encouraging, especially when you’re losing motivation for your dreams, it can also be toxic. The idea that, in order to be successful, a 24/7 hustle is required, can be poisonous to your mental health (and your productivity). Guess what, most of us will not be rich and famous for our passion projects. But listen to me now:

THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT!

The highlight reel that is social media does not provide you with the insight of the struggles of those that have managed in order to turn their passions into a reality. Social media cons you into thinking that everyone has figured it out except for you. Here’s another truth bomb for you, those perfect social media feeds…they are fake. They are made up. The people that are successful are working hard, in their yoga pants, with pimple cream covering up their acne, while the laundry piles up behind them. It’s not pretty, but pretty is what engages people on social media. DO NOT compare yourself to the highlight reel.

You are an independent, strong, gifted, and passionate individual. Honor that by:

Taking a break. As much as I love my Rachel Hollis and Jenna Kutcher, there comes a point where you  just need to stop listening to outside sources. It’s really okay if you don’t wake up at 4AM just so you can be productive in the morning. IT IS OKAY TO SLEEP. As a matter of fact, it’s imperative that you sleep. The beauty of Instagram is that you can “mute” anyone you feel like you need to take a break from. It’s 30 days where you don’t see their posts, just long enough to maybe miss their spunk and energy.

Putting yourself first. It’s okay to have 18 hour work days, shit, sometimes it’s fun to have that much focus on something you love to do, but GIRL, take care of yourself. Eat good foods, sleep when you need sleep, get up and move around, and allow your brain to rest. One of my 2019 goals is to take time to reflect and recharge everyday. No screens allowed. But yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, or pampering are encouraged. Every. Damn. Day.

Be grateful. Start your day with an attitude of gratitude, track the things that you’re grateful for in a place that you can peek at throughout the day. Each month, I use the notes pages of my planner to track 100 things I’m grateful for. Some days I write one thing, and some days I write 30 things. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in life, there is always something to be grateful for. When you need a little mood recharge, take a look at your gratitude list. Soak in the gratitude.

Using your gifts. You are blessed with many gifts, use them. There will always be someone that is better, richer, more famous – that does not impact how blessed you are. Use your skills and passion for your own wellbeing, or share them with others, but don’t, under any circumstances, hide them because someone else out there is also gifted. There’s enough room for both of you.

Encourage Others. Share the reality of your life with others. Instead of contributing to the hustle and comparison trap, help keep others out of it. If you’re struggling, be open about it, celebrate your progress and your challenges. People will be encouraged by your willingness to be transparent. Genuine engagement far exceeds fake social media profiles.

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Reflection

Reflection is a powerful thing.

As individuals we have the ability to make significant changes to how we life our daily lives, but I believe, in order to make progress reflection is necessary. It’s not an easy process, reflection brings up the good, the bad, and the ugly, and in order for reflection to be successful you have to be brutally honest with yourself. That takes guts.

This December was the third year in a row that I used the Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner to reflect and plan for the year ahead. As I started this year’s reflection process I was coming out of a relatively negative space, personally. The path that the PowerSheets “prep work” takes you through requires you to actually sit down and identify (and ultimately, fight) your demons. This was the first time in three years that my demons were of my own making. I wasn’t planning for or recovering from a year that would be associated with my husband’s bone marrow transplant.

2017 was all about preparing for and getting through his bone marrow transplant.

2018 was all about recovering, dealing with trauma, and getting back to “normal”.

2019 will be about me.

Ultimately, the last couple of months have been about really figuring out who I am without my trauma branded on my forehead. Going through the prep work made me realize how in 2018 I was doing anything I could to cover up my true self. It will take me more than a couple of weeks to figure out the root of that, but I have a theory:

Blending in and getting other people’s approval is easier than figuring out who you actually are and following your light. Fitting in is easier than being an individual.

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In 2019 I am saying NO to:
COMPARISON, not prioritizing my health, blaming others for my feelings, gluten (LOL), trying to be someone else, gossip and fake relationships, sharing only the “highlights” on social media, making excuses for laziness, and buying shit I don’t need.

In 2019 I am saying YES to: Hobbies (whether or not they turn into a business), volunteering, positivity, loving my people well, reflection, writing, growth, listening to my body, social media detoxing, pushing myself, time with family, honoring who I am, self care (and self love), trying new things, saving money, spending time outdoors, creative projects, honoring and celebrating my marriage, and celebrating people, occasions, and progress.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing some of the themes and goals that were built out of the reflection and prep work process with my PowerSheets. I am hopeful that this will not only bring me a sense of accountability, but will also strengthen my passion for progress over perfection.

Upcoming Posts: Me, Home, Community, Career, Creativity, and Marriage

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TBT | One in the Crowd |

“Standing in a dark, crowded room you can feel the anticipation from the crowd. People are filing in, slowly staking claim on their spot on the floor. You watch the room fill in around you, as the lights go down and suddenly this room full of strangers are instantly connected as  the atmosphere in the room is directed toward the stage. Your favorite musician has taken the stage.


Usually, I am not one to enjoy a concert experience. Crowds make me anxious, the words “General Admission” just make me think of sweaty crowds of people spilling beer, and most of the time the music doesn’t sound nearly as good as it does on the record. There is one exception to this, for me. I will travel far distances to be in the crowd at an Andrew McMahon show. His music has been a huge part of the last ten years of my life.

It started with one song, showcased on my favorite television show and a trip to the music store, back in the days we had music stores. I bought the Jack’s Mannequin Everything in Transit album and it remained in my car’s CD player for the majority of the life of that car. I knew all of the words to every song and felt a connect to the music that I had never felt before. When I realized they would be in Detroit for a concert that winter, I immediately bought tickets for my sister and I for Christmas. Little did I know, she had the same idea. Thankfully my mother managed to make sure only one of us purchased the tickets.

Waiting in line on that freezing February evening, in downtown Detroit, saying I was annoyed would be an understatement. We were in line blocks away from the venue surrounded by screaming teenyboppers. It was the first concert I had been to in a venue that primarily had general admission, no chairs or tables, just a room full of bodies. We found an elevated spot to call our own and waited, for what seemed like hours, for Jack’s Mannequin to take the stage. The crowd erupted once Andrew walked to his place behind the piano and before I knew it I was in for the most impressive show of my life. You can tell, by the way Andrew performs that he loves what he does, he has fun, he jumps, dances, and practically beams from behind his mic. I was hooked.

I didn’t realize at the time but, later my connection to this man and his music would only strengthen as I learned about his battle with leukemia. In his early 20s, Andrew was diagnosed with leukemia and ultimately underwent a bone marrow transplant. Before a few months ago, I had no idea what that meant and couldn’t relate to the year his life was put on hold.

Since that first show I have seen Andrew McMahon perform three other times, once just this last weekend in Grand Rapids. My sister and I drove the 143 miles on a Thursday evening to pack in with the rest of crowd to see Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness perform, and for a couple of hours we were all transformed to an alternate universe, listening, singing, dancing, and laughing.

The week before we left, I found myself sitting at home browsing the list of documentaries available on Netflix. I came across “Dear Jack” the film about Andrew’s battle with leukemia. I spent the majority of the following hour crying as I watched this musician that I adored go through this fight I knew inevitably would be something I’d watch my husband go through. I was thankful for the opportunity to see it, but also terrified. Everything became very real, very quickly.

It was oddly comforting to see that the man who made my favorite music knew about this world and used his experiences to push forward in his art. It wasn’t a coincidence that I found myself, new concert t-shirt in hand, standing in a room full of people listening to his story all over again. Eleven years post transplant and I was one of the many in the crowd, cheering him on. As usual, there was a table in the back of the venue taking registration for bone marrow donors. With tears forming behind my eyes, listening to the music of my favorite musician, I joined my sister at the table and officially became a member of the bone marrow donor registry.

I turned back toward the stage just in time to hear his final song, one of my favorites and savored the moment. The moment my love for music became a little bit more.”

This post was originally posted in July 2016, to read more about The Dear Jack Foundation, go to my Product + Causes page.

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