Last Friday morning I was racing around town like a chicken with my head cut off trying to shop for a friend’s birthday present, buy a cup of tea and fill my car up with gas all before a 9 am meeting at work.
Ambitious, I know.
After filling up on tea and gas, I timed my errands perfectly to arrive at the gift store when the doors opened at 8:30 am. Scurrying around the store like a tornado, I picked out a cute present, an acceptable card (why are they all so cheesy?!), a balloon and I raced to the register.
While I was checking out, I had an interesting exchange with the sweet woman, probably in her seventies, running the register:
Cashier: Thanks for coming in. I hope you have a wonderful day.
Me: Well, I know I’m going to be a good friend today (with this gift), so at least there’s that.
Cashier: Oh, honey, I’m sure you’re so much more than that.
Oh, snap. That’s interesting.
Her comment stopped me in my frenzied tracks. While I was proud of my ability to find a gift store open at 8:30 in the morning to demonstrate my love and affection for a dear friend, the cashier was right; I’m more than that.
I’m gift-giving friend, but I’m more than that. I’m a mom, but I’m more than that. I’m an entrepreneur, but I’m more than that. I’m scatterbrained and have a hard time remembering details, but I’m more than that. I let my children inhale an entire jar of Nutella every week, but I’m more than that.
The same is true for you.
You’re so much bigger than the different roles you play in your life. It’s easy to see that this is true, but if you’re anything like me, you forget this important fact every day of your life.
I put so much into my individual roles that it’s not uncommon for me to see myself “only” as that role. It might show up like this thought: “I’ve got to get this birthday present in time, or I’m going to look like a horrible friend!” Or it might sound something like this, “Ugh, I wonder what the other mothers at my son’s school are going to say when I have to skip field day for a work trip?”
The truth is, it’s OK if I can’t make every school function because I’m so much more than a mother.
I’m a sum of my parts, and there are a lot of different moving parts.
If you live a busy life like all the moms I know, it’s easy to narrow the focus of your time, energy and effort to the one thing/task/duty that’s right in front of you. It’s easy to worry that if you make a mistake, it makes you look like you’re doing a bad job.
Maybe this is a new mantra you can try on for size, when something goes really well or really wrong, remind yourself of your whole self by repeating the line, “I’m so much more than this.”
When you forget to send your son’s lunch to school with him kindly remind yourself, “I’m so much more than this.” When you spot the five-foot tall pile of dirty laundry in the corner and choose to ignore it, give yourself some grace by saying, “I’m so much more than this.” And it’s equally important to remind yourself of this mantra when you accomplish great things. When you get a big promotion at work, don’t assume you have to give 100% of yourself to prove you deserve it. Remind yourself, “I’m so much more than this.”
You’re more than your milestones and definitely more than your mistakes.
The principle behind this mantra is why I love wearing this Lokai Bracelet.
The white bead carries water from Mount Everest, the highest point on earth, and reminds you to stay humble even when you’re on top of the world. And the black bead holds mud from The Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, and reminds you to stay hopeful when you’ve hit a low point.
I’ve worn this bracelet for years, but it wasn’t until a friendly lady on a busy morning stopped me in my tracks and made the whole concept make sense to me.
I’m more than my success. I’m more than my mistakes. I’m more than my good days and so much more than my bad days.