Success for a Hot Mess

Ever called yourself a hot mess? Let me guess - you’ve walked into a room and forgotten why you’re there. You’ve locked your keys in your car more times than you can count. You’ve experienced that panicked feeling when you ask yourself, “Did I unplug the iron?!” And whenever you need that one, specific thing, it’s nowhere to be found. You’re sure you saw it somewhere...on the counter...or maybe in the laundry room...or was it in the back of the dresser drawer….?

Total honesty: scenarios like these (and worse) have plagued me for my entire life. I’ve been an hour from home and on my way to the airport and realized I left my wallet on the counter. In high school, I once called my mom, absolutely freaking out that my car wouldn’t start and I was going to be late for dance class. She drove to the school and found me sitting in THE WRONG CAR - yes, someone else’s car that happened to be the same model as mine - trying to start it with my car keys. I’ve gone to the gym before work and forgotten all of my clothes for the day. I’ve prepared a full day’s worth of meals to take with me, then left it all on the kitchen table to go bad. I am not exaggerating when I say the stories are countless, and many of them have had much more dire consequences than the ones I’ve shared.

With all of these screw-ups has come an overwhelming amount of self-loathing and self-deprecation. “Why am I like this?” “How could I let this happen?” “What is wrong with me, that I could forget something like this?” I spent many years in a cycle of negative self-talk, beating myself up over it, and apologizing to my loved ones for “who I am” - forgetful, scatterbrained, a cause of inconvenience. It’s been a confusing and conflicting character flaw to work through, because on the flip side, I am also a high achiever. When I start to get comfortable with someone new, and I open up about the "hot mess" side of myself, they’re usually surprised. “Really?? It just seems like you have it all together!” Fooled ya! I have always worked extremely hard and spread myself thin to achieve what I want in life. I pride myself in settings goals and succeeding in tackling them. I’ve held leadership positions since childhood, and have a passion for guiding others toward their own dreams. So how could I feel this deep, innate desire for success, but still fall short in my day to day life through all of these stupid mistakes?

Some very specific mindset shifts have saved me from spiraling into despair over my shortcomings. In reflecting on the last five years or so, I’ve realized that even though I’ve spent my fair share of time berating myself over my flaws, I’ve also consistently come back to focusing on my strengths. As I made the transition into adulthood, I started to tune into my inner voice - what I now know to be my muse. I found that when I allowed that voice to spew negative, self-deprecating talk, it exacerbated the consequences of my slip-ups and forgetfulness. That negative voice would cause more frantic energy, more anxiety, more anger, and ultimately, it would result in me making another mistake; all of my focus would be on how much I had already messed up, instead of how to move forward in the present moment. So throughout my own journey to know and shape my muse, I found some concrete ways to conquer my biggest flaws. I hope these tools can help you too, hot mess musa.

1. Acknowledge and accept your shortcomings, then stop apologizing for them.

Yes, the power of the mind is immeasurable, and it is possible to train yourself to function on a different frequency than what might be in your makeup or your habits. BUT - many of our seemingly “negative” characteristics also bring color, flair, and spice to our personalities. I might be forgetful and spacey sometimes, but that part of me is also why I am great at letting go, living it up, relaxing, and feeling comfortable in my own skin. I’m not worried about sticking to a rigid plan 100% of the time. This can get me into trouble sometimes, but there is no need to squash this part of my personality. Instead, it’s important that we acknowledge and accept that we are imperfect, that we will make mistakes, and that we shouldn’t constantly be apologizing for who we are. A few years back, I challenged myself to reduce my use of the words “I’m sorry” to only those situations that truly merited an apology. Instead, if I made a mistake, I redirected my energy to providing a solution. For example, if I was running behind on a project, I would say something like, “Thank you for being patient with me on this. Here’s how I’m going to fix it…” Admitting that you’re not perfect, but showing up and rising above those imperfections will train you to see beyond your own flaws. You’ll discover that you have way more power over them than you ever believed before. And you’ll be ready to implement the next two tips!

2. Visualize yourself functioning at your peak level of performance, even in the most mundane activities. 

Take a quick scroll through our Instagram page and you’ll see, we believe in the power of visualization. We’ve lived it, we’ve coached it, and we’ve seen the results firsthand. Many people are intimidated by the idea of this practice - they too-often associate it with meditation, making the assumption that in order to visualize, you have to hole up in a quiet, calm room, eliminate all distraction, and achieve a transcendent state of peace and clarity. Sure, that’s part of traditional meditation, but visualization is entirely different. Visualization is using your mind’s eye to see yourself living out a specific scenario, which prepares you to live it in your reality. I use visualization every single day, even in the most mundane scenarios, to help me stay focused and on top of my responsibilities. While I’m getting ready in the morning, I think about what I have going on in the day to come. I walk myself through the hours, seeing myself accomplishing all of the things that go into my day, from important meetings to simple tasks on my to-do list. Once my day is rolling, my mind goes a mile a minute and in a million different directions at once, so it’s way too easy to forget about a little task that can throw off my whole day if it doesn’t get done. Visualizing myself living with positivity and productivity helps me turn that into my reality. Full disclosure? I still forget things from time to time. In those scenarios, I go back to tip #1! And of course, I could go on for hours about using visualization for the bigger “stuff of life”. Right now I’m using it to prepare for delivering my first baby. I have no fear and no delusions about childbirth. I’m ready - I’m ready to feel NOT ready when I arrive at the hospital, I’m ready for my entire vision to change, I’m ready to feel scared at times, but I’m also ready to overcome these situations if they happen. I credit this to my visualization practice. I’ve already seen myself owning childbirth. All I have to do now is bring that vision to life. You can do this with any big event in life.

3. Put systems in place to prop you up in the areas where your flaws threaten to pull you down.

Here’s where I come down off of the “U-RAH-RAH, LOVE WHO YOU ARE!” pedestal and get real with you about those darn "Type B", hot mess flaws. If you want to be a high achiever, you’re going to have to work for it. You can’t forget things, miss deadlines, show up late, procrastinate on the daily, and expect to achieve the success you desire in your soul. Some of these things might be a part of you and bring that color and spice to your life that I mentioned before, but you have goals that are bigger than your comfort zone - so get ready to leave it. You owe it to yourself to be unchained from the restrictions and consequences of that flaw. Tap into your alter-ego and ask yourself, “What would someone completely different than me do?” Then pick a sliver of that, and implement it in your daily life. Pick something that’s attainable and works with the flow of your personality. A great example from my own life is home organization. Back in the day, I was a mess. Queen of Clutter. A “tornado”, as my mother would call me. I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it in adult life. It jams up creative flow, induces stress when you can’t find what you need, causes you to forget or lose more of the things you’ve worked hard to obtain, and pushes you into that place of negative self-talk. So I have implemented systems in my home that I don’t compromise. I know I’m not a Type A, hyper-organized person. Solutions for someone like that would not be sustainable for me, so I didn’t go over the top with color-coded closets or elaborate drawer organizers. I simply defined specific spaces for specific storage and uses, and I stick to it. Certain cabinets are only meant for certain things. I have specific bins for hair, makeup, cleaning supplies, etc. They’re not beautiful, Pinterest-worthy hacks. They’re just simple, functional strategies that get the job done and keep me from throwing my whatever, wherever. 

All in all, there are two beautiful things I want to see all of our musas achieve. One, accept and love who you are and give yourself credit for how far you’ve come. Two, take ownership over your opportunities to grow and never let your flaws hold you back from truly living your muse, your truth, your highest expression of self. You’re flawed, but you’re also colorful and spicy! Don’t compromise who you are to fit into a mold that someone else created, but understand that doing the work to shift your mindset and habits will bring you greater peace, more creative flow, and ultimately, the success of your wildest dreams. See who you’re mean to be and become her!

Shannon Pike
Founder & COO, Moderna Muse

Checking out, letting go, and embracing my spice in Marfa, Texas!

Checking out, letting go, and embracing my spice in Marfa, Texas!