I DON’T DO MEDIOCRE
This article was written for lesocialpost.com by Liudmila Poletaeva. Read more about the author at the end of the article.
I don’t do mediocre, she said. That is how I describe my desire to be the best at what I do.
I am an interpreter. My job is to interpret, what people say in Finnish language into Russian language and backward. It is hard to be the best at it. Do you know why? Because being best at my job is abstract and subjective. In client’s opinion I can be unprofessional, but does it mean that I am? No. It just means that I maybe did not have enough tools or energy to try my best or circumstances were against my best trying. Once I was accused of non-professionalism and undereducation, because in the interpreting process I was asking back many times to repeat what the person just said. In actual case the problem was that I did not hear every word the person was saying and was lost in the translation and was shy to ask more to repeat. Why questioning equals not-knowing?
My physical imperfection cost me my self-confidence and confidence in my professionalism. I am always afraid that there will be some other client which will say after all: she is not good enough, but every time my hour of interpreting is ended I say to myself or out loud to a person I was interpreting – I did my best, I tried. Here I am trying to show you that no matter how hard you try there always will be the judges, complaints, and disapproval, but it does not mean you must adjust. You must listen and apply advices you feel can help you improve your work or whatever you do and had judged for, but never follow blindly what people say.
Being best at what you do has nothing to do with people’s opinion. Being best at what you do has more connection with self-growth and self-education. It is hard, but nobody said it will be easy. So stop judging yourself (if you did) and be better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.
She didn’t want to hear the sound of the past every time she was called by her name, so she changed her name. That is how I felt when I just moved from Russia to Finland. Sometimes I look back at my not so easy experience interacting with different people: in the school, when I was a child (in Russia), in the university where I tried to prove some points (in Finland), with friends, whose attention I was seeking so badly (my whole life), I realised that I actually put too much hope into people. I put them into position, where they are holding my heart, my soul, and my trust.
Isn’t it too much, don’t you think? Isn’t it too heavy to hold? If you do not have so high expectations of what people must do to you, you will never feel betrayed. If you take everybody’s presence in your life as a “present”, you will feel the difference. How can you want from “present” be more sensitive to your feelings? You can not ask that from “present”. You accept “present” as it is, so why don’t you accept that friends can be not forever, that they can be not sensitive to your feelings, that they can hurt you very bad? Maybe because you want better for yourself? But if so, why you keep clinging to something you do not like? Why you are trying to keep something hurting in your life? I do not say that if your friend hurt you badly you must end this friendship right away. No. But I want to have your attention on the subject that you live once and if you compromise your feelings and give a person 100 chances you first are betraying yourself. Do not put your friends before you. Love yourself a little bit more today.
My dear friend asked me am I a perfectionist, to which I said it cannot be true. If you like organize stuff it just means that you want to get rid of the mess, it means that you want to run away from the chaos and take a little bit more control of your environment.
How much control do you have in your daily decisions? I bet, there is a list. You are controlling your going to sleep and your waking up. You are controlling your morning coffees and breakfasts and there are plenty other things you might control. But sometimes can happen you are feeling overwhelmed with something. How much control do you usually feel at that moment? In my experience overwhelming brings along the feeling of “close to zero-control”, when you cannot change a thing and it makes you frustrated. Guess what? I know how it feels. I am not proud of it, but at moments like this I transfer control I cannot apply in a certain area onto something else: I dive deep into organizing my environment and it can start from one accidental splash of water on the floor and ending with complete cleaning the whole apartment. Quite tiring, ha? Well, that is how I try to avoid being sad and that is how I hide behind being busy. I do not let myself to be sad, because from it I can professionally jump into frustration and depression very quickly.
What this life-hack of “cleaning the whole world” gives me nowadays? Consistent feeling that I am tired, the feeling that I am lying to myself, the feeling that I am procrastinating important decisions and postpone the things I must get done. Plus to all of this, I feel guilty for not taking control of my time. I rather spend day cleaning because I know for sure that from this action I will see the results immediately, which gives me one hundred percent joy and satisfaction, also the feeling “I did something good and useful today”. Uncertainty of doing something today on what depends your future life is pressuring. Uncertainty of failing the results of that important action brings a biggest fear. I am afraid to fail, so I postpone the action, which might lead me to failing. Probably that is the most stupid thing I ever done. I fail anyway but with trying I at least have chance to say I did my best. Quick satisfaction from results of distracting from a postponed decision will catch up with your guilt. The guilt will come pretty soon, and it will be stressful. To prevent the fear of uncertainty and failing you must give yourself time to stop. You must give yourself time to breathe, you must give yourself time to think in peace, so you could hear your own thoughts and receive the message from your soul, which is (probably) screaming not loud enough for you to hear. Give yourself a break.
Sometimes we need to give ourselves a slack. Nothing good comes from endless marathon, in which we try to prove ourselves a point or when we try to take control of things that are out of our influence. Transferring control is a temporary solution. We are who we are, and we must give ourselves time to discover our personal strength. Discovering your strength is intimate process in which you first must listen to yourself; and the best problem’s solver is looking at you in the mirror.
I hope that with this text you received a little bit more confidence and the feeling that you are not alone. I know I am not alone in it all, because you have read this text till this point. Lots of love and inspiration to you 😊
Mila is an artist. Painter. Poet. Photographer. Translator. Interpreter. Know more about her by heading over to her blog.