Superhero Syndrome

Spiderman 3 was big at the box office this summer, and we all know how well his life is working, as he tries to juggle love, work, revenge, commitment, family and saving the world. If this resembles your own life, maybe you’re suffering from Superhero Syndrome. The symptoms? Trying to finish every item on a LONG to-do list, reading every e-mail, answering every telephone call, and staying “on-call” to all the various people in our lives. Yet, no matter how much we accomplish or how hard we work, it never seems to be enough – our clients, our boss, our co-workers, our family, our friends, all those people depend on us not to let them down. And sometimes it seems like we’re falling farther and farther behind.

If we stop for a moment and honestly examine our lives, we’ll see that we are indeed accomplished, dedicated, creative beings who are making positive changes in our world on a daily basis. Maybe things aren’t perfect, and progress isn’t coming as fast as we’d like, but we need to cut ourselves some slack. We need to be kind and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done instead of beating ourselves up.

We need to treat ourselves with all the empathy, love and understanding that we lavish on everyone else. We need to be able to walk away at the end of the workday energized and ready for what’s next rather than drained and ready to collapse on the couch with the TV remote. Here are some suggestions to get your day in line and bring back joy and energy to your life.

1. Start your day with intention. Pick out a maximum of three tasks that are the most important to complete. It’s easy to get side-tracked by putting easier, less-important tasks on your to-do list, making it longer and longer. Putting your best effort and intention on meeting your top priorities will give you a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

2. Take your lunch break. Eat a healthy meal, go for a walk, or mediate. Too many of us eat a hurried lunch at our desk – I’m often guilty of that. Don’t shortchange yourself — refueling and relaxing are important for stamina and creativity.

3. End your day with positives. Before settling in for the night, take a few minutes to review your day. Think of two things you wish would have turned out differently, acknowledge that you did the best you could at the time, and then firmly set them aside. Then, think of five things you did that were positive and take the time to savor each one of these accomplishments. Remind yourself that no one person can be and do everything, and give yourself a pat on the back for what you do accomplish.

4. Stop listening to the voice in your head. The one that says, “I’m not good enough.” You are good enough – if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be in your current job getting it done. When you hear that voice, stop and reframe the comment into something positive. Make a decision – right now, today – to never disrespect yourself again.

5. Stand up to your fears. Anxiety often comes from fear of failure or fear that you don’t deserve “something”. Whether its money, success, a relationship or something else, we sometimes fear the exact thing we think we want. Spend some time examining what is really fueling your anxiety and confront the fears that arise.

Many of us hold our lives to a standard higher than we have for other people. We need to learn to give ourselves a break. The next time you start dumping on yourself for something, shut it off and reflect on how you would respond to a friend with the same issue. Then give yourself the same love and tolerance your friend would expect from you. Superheroes only exist in books and movies. This is real life and you’re human – but you can go on to accomplish great things if you just get out of your own way!