I am a perpetual waiter. Because I seek perfection when it comes to my personal goals, I often don't allow myself to enjoy the moment at hand. I remember my favorite times of year being the summer in between middle school and high school as well as between high school and college. I used to set goals when it came to my personal appearance and would work all summer at achieving them. I would work out all summer and wouldn't let myself buy new clothes until right before the first day of school.
I waited because I wanted to have the satisfaction of my friends being surprised by how much I had changed over the summer. The satisfaction always wore off after the first two weeks of classes, after all of my new clothes had been worn and my fresh relaxer started to frizz up. While the attention was great, it was short lived and not worth dressing down the entire summer.
When I decided to go natural my freshman year, I went through a similar struggle of feeling like I had to wait. Because I decided to big chop, I felt like I couldn't really enjoy the experience until I was able to have long hair. I avoided going out with friends and wore hats whenever I could. As soon as my hair got long enough for protective styling, I twisted my hair up and said that I wouldn't wear my hair in a twist out or 'fro until it was shoulder length. Once my hair reached shoulder length, my new goal became collar bone length and then bra-strap length.
With every new mental goal, I felt like I had to wait until I reached a certain level to enjoy myself. I never allowed myself to enjoy the process.
When reflecting on my life, I noticed a stark contrast in the way we both lived our lives. There was so much that I had wanted to accomplish in life that I wouldn't allow myself to achieve because I was waiting on a certain benchmark or measure of success.
My level of self-esteem is sickening at times. It knows exactly how to paralyze me and prevent me from growing forward.
When I first started Quirky, Brown Love, I pressured myself to hit certain benchmarks rapidly, all of which were based on measurable success. I did whatever I could to increase my blog traffic and social media followers and didn't let myself enjoy the moment went I hit my goal. As soon as I hit my goal, I was on to the next because I had set up these crazy goals in my head that prevented me from realizing how successful my work was becoming. Looking back now, I realize that I have accomplished some amazing things; however in the moment, I was always waiting to celebrate the next better thing. As cool as it was that I was invited to New York Fashion Week this past season, it became a blur because the whole time I was focused on what my next achievement would be.
I was waiting to celebrate until I "made it" which is a goal that in actuality is unattainable. With the mindset that I had, I would never allow myself to see that I had "made it".
Now I'm not going to lie to you and say that I have a completely changed mindset. I still have benchmarks in my head for both my personal life as well as my business life. I've learned, however, to still live in the meantime and push myself to see if I can reach my goals before that imaginary benchmark.
Acts as simple as wearing my hair outside of protective styles even though my hair isn't waist length have given me confidence to enjoy my days and nights a little more. Pitching brands for business contracts now instead of waiting to reach my crazy social media goals have allowed me to expand my brand and even hire people, something that I didn't see happening for another year or so.
I've also learned a little better how to decipher which goals actually require a little bit of waiting by actually allowing myself to reflect on and answer the question of what I am waiting for. As long as it is mentally healthy, I believe that not all goals need to be acted on immediately. Fear, however, is not a valid reason for waiting, in my opinion.
The next time you are asked "what are you waiting for" don't just answering saying that you don't know. Reflect and answer the question thoroughly.
So not to sound corny or super deep, but someone has to ask the question. What are you waiting for?