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The Phoenix Attitude Blog

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2019-03-20 Posted By Jenna Reed-Cote

It’s so easy to be your own worst critic.

It’s so easy to believe the negative self-talk.

It’s so easy to listen to other people’s perspective on how you’re doing when they don’t know what’s really going on (even if they have the best intentions).

And if you’re a perfectionist like me, it’s so easy to get ridiculously discouraged when your efforts don’t work out the way you thought or the progress is slower than everyone around you.

So, what do you do? How do you not end up on the couch, cocooned in a blanket, scared to try when it never feels like what you do is good enough?

Well, one word that works for me is “baseline”.

Little by little this word continues to give me my power back in my quest to become the best version of myself. It lets me try new things and gives me the opportunity to get back in the saddle of old decisions that I made to be more healthy - mind, body and spirit - but got discouraged and quit. It gives me the gift of rising from the ashes.


When I try something that I’ve never done before, or know I haven’t excelled at in the past (I HATE doing things I don’t excel at), I remind myself this me - right now - represents my baseline. If I’m committed to trying, no matter how slow my progress is, I will only get stronger from here - this is my baseline.

I use it when I start back at the gym after a hiatus, when I’m recovering from a cold/flu/surgery - you name it! It has become a new mindset, when in the past I would be ready, willing and able to punish myself so I (and everybody else) understood that I was taking my failures and potential for success seriously.

Of course, like any tool you can use to help yourself persevere, it’s up to you to work with it to keep you honest and succeeding. Only you truly know if you are doing the best you can in any given moment - despite the insight others’ believe they have into your life. Sometimes you do have to cut yourself some slack and allow yourself time to regenerate; sometimes you do have to realize the only thing that is keeping you from trying is the fear of failure or the ego beating you up for not being where you think you should be, so why even bother?!

Progress isn’t linear and may require more than your fair share of returns to the start line. Yes, that sucks, especially when comparing yourself to others. But if you use that moment right before you take a deep breath and start again to remind yourself that it only gets better from here and you know you’re giving it all you can in this moment - no matter what people say (or you think people are thinking) - you’re going to get to start celebrating little wins and they’re going to keep getting bigger.

So, when you find yourself paralyzed by the fear of making a decision that you know is going to help you become the best version of yourself because: you know it’s hard, you think it makes you look weak, it’s the 87th time you’ve found yourself at the starting line, or you’re wondering “maybe this is as good as it gets and I should just get used to it,” consider the power of recognizing this as your baseline. If you want to call this your rock bottom and it can’t get worse, you’re willing to put in the work to start climbing up (no matter at what your pace is) AND you’re willing to get over yourself to celebrate the small wins - who cares what others say or think about your journey. Only you know if you’re doing your best, all you have to do is continue to be honest with yourself.

Who knows, maybe you’re not going slower than everybody else, but forging a unique path to new peaks?

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“Overcome the notion that we must be regular... it robs you of the chance to be EXTRAORDINARY ”
Uta Hagen
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