I'm Done Looking Like I Have It All Together

Launching a website for women over 50 taught her to embrace do-overs and avoid perfection.

by Susan Tolles • More.com Member { View Profile }

Quite often, someone gives me a great compliment. “I admire you so much. You just have it all together.” Well, let me set the record straight: I don’t have it all together. What you see on the outside is the result of a lot of hard work, learning and growing over the past two years. When I began this journey I was a driven perfectionist who wanted to change the world for women over 50. What I know now has made me a much better person. Here are the lessons my journey has provided:

Perfect is the enemy of great. If you wait around until you have something in perfect shape, you might never get it out to the people who need it most. I now know that it is much more important to be real, imperfect and meaningful than to compare myself to other websites that have investment money and support staffs behind them.

Embrace do-overs. When you make a mistake, admit it and try again. The entire series of videos that I shot with Leslie Roan had terrible audio. I hired someone to fix it, but you can’t make a diamond out of a piece of limestone. Two years ago I would have fallen apart over this. This time, I just asked Leslie if she would do them with me again, and she very graciously said “Of course!” The world doesn’t end over something as insignificant as video quality.

Don’t push yourself.I have been overworked and overwhelmed on more than a few occasions. Yes, I preach about that very thing all the time, how we are not supposed to let our lives get out of control. But I constantly have to remind myself “Who else knows that you are behind schedule? And who really cares? Take a break!”

Don’t be afraid. I never would have made it this far if I’d been afraid to take a few risks. “Dream big and step out on faith” has been my motto since the beginning of my journey, and I hope to inspire others to do the same. You have most everything you need inside you, so don’t worry! If you fall down, just get up and keep going.
Be proud of who you are, and who you are becoming.I am a 55-year-old woman with no training in what she is doing now. What I have accomplished is pretty extraordinary if I may say so myself (I shudder to say that out loud). I dig in, learn the things that are vital to my business, ask for help when needed and allow myself to be creative as my vision for the future gets better all the time. It is hard for me to say it, but I really have done some powerful things over the past few years.

Changing the world isn’t necessary—changing a few lives is profound. Making a difference in the life of just one woman a week is my definition of success. I don’t have to change the world to leave a legacy.

As I’m sitting here writing this, a song has come on Pandora, “Just One” by Brandon Heath. Here is the refrain:

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