Can you picture your perfect day? What happens from the moment you wake up to the seconds before you lay your head down? Is that perfect day possible? If not, why do you think you crave that day? If it is possible, are you working toward it?
We all have goals and dreams in life that keep us moving forward or engulf our thoughts as we drive in traffic. But these future aspirations can be motivating or debilitating. Today, the idea of “Living in the present” is preached from every blog post and podcast episode. Learning to enjoy the moment that we are currently in is important because it literally is the only moment we have. We simply don’t live in the past or the future.
At the same time, we are asked to set goals, push ourselves to the limit, and be the best version of ourselves. Can we really live in the moment, be happy with where we are, and yet still work toward a goal? Lauren Fleshman believes we can.
Lauren is a former American Champion in track and field. She is also a long-distance runner, a violinist, an activist, a blogger, a mom, a coach, a businesswoman, and probably a superhero. She has seen extremely high levels of success and at the same time, broken into tears, walked toward finish lines, and dealt with the anxiety of signing athletic contracts. She understands what it’s like to “have it all,” but still feel scared and unhappy.
Today we chatted with Lauren about her career as an athlete, and her stances on social media, equality, and motherhood. We talked about the process of going from the person judging others for their actions to being the person that is judged by others. These life lessons will prepare you for life, both as a runner and as a human. Read along to learn from one of the best.
Perfectionism vs Satisfaction
When Michael Phelps told the world he was dealing with depression, everyone was shocked except for all the people in the world who have dealt with depression, and their loved ones, and other professional athletes, and lots of other people. In fact, it shouldn’t have been very surprising to anyone that a superstar could be depressed.
On the outside, he had everything; a huge contract, popularity, the title of best in the world, great physical health, more gold medals than you can count, and plenty of money. But he wasn’t perfectly satisfied or happy.
The problem with living in the future is that you continually tell yourself, “I’ll be happy when….” This starts at a young age for all of us. I’ll be happy when I get my driver’s license, or when I graduate, or when I land a job, or when I pay off debt, or when I get married, have kids, don’t have kids, win the Olympics, and so on.
But eventually that thing happens. And then we wake up the next day. And then we realize, we are the same person we were yesterday.
When we strive for perfection, whether it’s in our sport or in the cleanliness of our living room, there is a tendency to never be satisfied. When asked about constantly staying busy, chasing success and always wanting to improve, Lauren said, “None of it matters if you aren’t able to enjoy it.”
That’s why successful people “quit early.” What does being the best, being perfect, or being rich do for us if we don’t enjoy it? The answer is, nothing.
So, what can we do about it? Simple. We can quit what we don’t enjoy, or enjoy what we are doing. It is possible to be satisfied with where we are, completely content or happy, and still work hard every day.
Sometimes all it takes is someone to tell you it’s okay to do or feel something before you can do or feel it. Here is your permission. It’s okay for you to feel good about where you are, to ignore those people that say “Never Settle!” and to calmly enjoy the moment while you do your best at the same time.
Whose Opinions Matter to You?
As you decide to be satisfied with who you are, you will hear the opinions or many around you. It would also be wise to decide who you should listen to. Pick a few people who fit that category, and don’t feel bad about ignoring the rest. Lauren suggests having a list of qualifications, and if a certain person doesn’t fit those, don’t put too much thought into their words.
Most of all, listen to those people that love you. If you know they love you, you can trust that what they are saying is meant to help. They may say the wrong thing occasionally, but it will be less about you, than about what they are going through. Remember we are all complex, multi-dimensional humans.
Judge yourself lightly and judge others as if they were you. Very soon you will enjoy the moment you are in.
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Thank you to Lauren, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.