This Is My Mantra Right Now.
Unpopular opinion: I couldn’t be happier to say goodbye to January. See ya later mate. Off ya pop.
I find Januarys (yes, all of them) hard. I’m always plagued with Imposter Syndrome during this month. For those unfamiliar, Imposter Syndrome is that unshakable feeling that you’re about to be exposed for not being as talented or wonderful as everybody thinks you are. That you are, in fact, undeserving of your success no matter how great or small. For me, it’s usually the fear that I’m not worthy of this audience I’m amassing. And in January in particular (when the previous year is still within reach and the year ahead seems so long and wide and uncertain) it’s a lot of: What if I do nothing of relevance this year. What if I can’t write anymore. What if everyone stops reading The Twenties Club. What if I manifest nothing. What if people just stop emailing me completely and I don’t receive another email ever again for the rest of my life.
Don’t worry, it’s not as sinister as it sounds – by February I’m usually swimming! Or at least have my toes in the water. But this January, as those familiar thoughts crept in, I decided I needed a mantra that I could apply to my life in the next few weeks and months, that would steward me in the right direction – away from self-doubt and full speed ahead towards clarity. And I landed on this:
Heart over ego.
If you read almost any self-help book written in the last ten years you’ll read that humans make decisions from one of two places: love or fear. But, for our generation at least, I think a more accurate observation would be that we make decisions to satisfy either our heart or our ego. I had an opportunity come my way for The Twenties Club two weeks ago and on paper it looked incredible: lucrative for the business, great exposure for me and the blog, reaching a huge audience etc etc. But, for whatever reason, my gut kept saying “Let it go”. Have you ever had that happen? Something good comes along and you think I’d be an idiot to turn this down, it ticks all the boxes, I should say yes, but your gut is saying the opposite? And you’re so confused because this really shiny, attractive thing is sitting in front of you just waiting! for! you! to! grab! it! But you can’t? I think it’s our ego that makes us impulsive, and it’s our heart that talks us down.
Let’s apply it to our wellbeing for a second. Health decisions are almost always made from a place of ego. And that’s because none of us want to play the long game when it comes to our health. No one wants to start a new habit today that they have to wait 12 months or longer to witness any changes. It’s the reason trends like celery juice will always gain more traction than the latest research on sleep: the benefits of drinking celery juice every morning can be reaped with a week. It make take six months before you notice the physical benefits of getting eight hours of sleep every night. Are you drinking celery juice because everyone else is doing it and it promises to clear up your acne in seven days? Or are you drinking it because that’s truly how you want to start your day each morning and that’s what feels good?
I was talking about this new mantra of mine with a girlfriend last week (I call her my “spiritual superhero”) and she said we should be asking ourselves, “How can we re-write our script so that our decisions serve us better, feel better, and are more aligned with our truest self?” And I think the answer (at least partially) is to remove ego. I ultimately said no to the opportunity for The Twenties Club; my heart knew it didn’t align with the values of my brand and it didn’t make sense in the greater scheme of what I’m trying to build with this platform.
But make no mistake: choosing your heart over your ego is not a recommendation to avoid taking risks. In fact, quite the opposite. There is nothing more risky than choosing to play the long game, where success isn’t immediately, instantly obvious to those around you. But just think how rewarding it will be, to look back at the small seed you planted today, and marvel at the fruits you harvest from that tree, six, twelve or even eighteen months from now.