Apologies to Beyoncé, but this girl just doesn’t want to run the world. I’m ordinary, and I’m ok with that.
With the news this past weekend of Hillary Clinton officially entering the race for the Presidency; extraordinary women are in the spotlight. And this is great! Anyone who knows my political leanings knows that I’m absolutely thrilled to have her in the race. In fact, I’m still upset that we never really did get that “two-for-the-price-of-one” we were supposed to get with Bill and Hillary in the White House. Maybe this time.
Women are powerful, capable and downright frickin’ awesome! But sometimes, being frickin’ awesome is frickin’ hard.
What’s wrong with being an ordinary woman (or man, for that matter)? Why does society have to add adjectives and superlatives to our monikers? Isn’t just being “me” supposed to be enough? Do I have to be the first at everything? And what’s wrong about second place? Or third or even fourth place?
But we do that all the time. We label people based on what they accomplish, achieve or do. And I’m guilty of it too.
Like you, I belong to awesome women’s groups. Powerful. Life-changing. Badass and bold. Empowering. Fierce. Inspiring words, yes, but also daunting. We emphasize and publicly honor the firsts, the bests, the over-achievers. What happens to us if we just don’t want to achieve or do?
The truth is, I’m not training for a marathon, releasing my 2nd self-help book, saving 100’s of dollars on my grocery bills, maximizing my business’ SEO, building shelters for the homeless, canning my own jellies and raising a free-range composting child with a genius IQ all the while in cute high heels. Does that mean I’m not fulfilling my awesome potential? I’m not being all I can be?
It’s a lot of work to be amazing. Do you know how many hours women like Elizabeth Warren, Serena Williams, Sarah Thomas and Hillary Clinton put into being awesome? Into being the best? Don’t get me wrong – I admire each of them for what they’ve accomplished. The long hours, the studying and training, the personal sacrifices, the dedication. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us aren’t good enough. It simply means we’re normal.
I am ordinary or, dare I say, adequate. I own that. I have a nice house, not huge. I make a nice living, not rich. I make a good Thanksgiving meal, not gourmet (ok, my turkey really is the bomb-diggity). I’m smart, not brilliant. I have a few close friends, not a posse. I have one child, not nineteen. I’m a good leader, not Indira Gandhi. But I am not a failure.
There is great value in being “good enough”. Ordinary. Normal. It’s comfortable. It’s attainable. It’s okay.
Life shouldn’t have to always be about being the best. That’s a high standard and it stresses us out. It stresses our psyche and our bodies. According to a study reported by Medical News Technology (MNT.com) in November 2014, stress reduces blood flow to the heart – by three times for women. Yipes. Now I’m even more stressed out.
We need to let ourselves off the hook. What does ordinary and normal even look like? What if life was Pass/Fail or graded on a curve? We all know about the 80/20 Rule, so clearly some of us – 80% of us – are ordinary! No matter how hard we try, most of us are normal – by definition. And there is nothing shameful or wrong with that.
Let Hillary run the world. I’m good with that. I’m content. I’m normal. Ordinary. Good enough. Adequate. And, most important, happy.