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The Real Business of “I Am Not Good Enough”

I work full-time.  For years, I was an attorney.  Then I had a short 4-6 month stint where I wasn’t an attorney. But then I was again. Now? Yes. Attorney title has returned. Whatever.  But I can say that I’m busy.  As we all are, I know.

Work is busy, yes. But I have been mainly in the business of PMP. [This PMP, not PIMP, for the record.]

PMP stands for the business of PILING MY PLATE.  

And I have been piling my plate in the metaphorical AND real sense (oinky oinky) for years.  PMP is this frenzied state where I fill every corner of my life with something to do, something to accomplish, some new project, person, life, article, or whatever… Just PMP full of all sorts of shenanigans. All sorts.

Over the last thirty days of trying to clean up my life and continuing on, I have realized that PMP is my primary side business.  I am an entrepreneur —not of Swim Bike Momish things—-but of filling my life with so much stuff that I can’t see straight.


I had it on my calendar…but no, I did not sign up.

[Case in point: I wanted to do Ironman Chattnooga. Bad.
I also kinda want to have another baby – but not as badly as I want to do another Ironman.
Last chance baby! Last chance Ironman!
Priorities!? Oh, lawdy.

Needless to say, focusing on clean eating and health has really made me sit down (Sit down?! What? I’m allowed to SIT DOWN? Hallelujah!)….

I has made me think…. and slow down.


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I am forever trying to do too much.  Always some big goal, some crazy stretch of the goals… and sometimes, for all the wrong reasons.

What will that person think about me?  What will the SBMs think if I don’t sign up for this race? 

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” – Wayne Dyer

Interestingly, a revolutionary pair of conversations have brought these findings to hardcore white, flashing light.

First, the Expert.  Of course.  His conversation was less of a philosophical debate, and more of a directive. Like from the Boss. And I don’t mean Springsteen.

As in, “You are going to calm down and not create any havoc in your life for the next year.” Oh, okay.  I understand.  He’s tired of fifteen years of my constant PMP. Got it.

Next, was the Coach Monster.  I called him to discuss my reasons for wanting to sign up for Ironman Chattanooga — all of the reasons, which I mentioned, he confirmed my deep-down fear as not being the right reasons for a second Ironman.  But rather my continued case of PMP.

In fact, I said something like, “Maybe I can convince [the Expert] to let me do Chattanooga if I….”

To which, Monster mentioned something like, “What are you trying to do? Blow your marriage apart?”

Oh. Of course not. Right?  Riiiiiight?

Those two conversations snapped me out of it. And snapped me into the realization that I am in a constant state of self-induced, PMP stress.

Where does PMP come from?  Well, I think I have finally figured it out.

PMP is the subsidiary of its parent company:  The Real Business of “I Am Not Good Enough.”

Motivational Monday2 - Swim Bike Mom - Meredith Atwood

For all these years, I have not (in my own mind) been good enough to have peace.  I have not deserved to rest. To sit down, relax and stop acting crazy. To stop eating like a rebel.  To savor life. I have not been worthy of any sort of real life consistency, enjoyment or success.

And because I have internally believed this, as much as I believe that the sun will set this evening, I never have taken time to enjoy any of the good things. Never really appreciate and enjoy.  Don’t get me wrong… I am grateful.  I know I am blessed.  I recognize these things.


These monkeys know how to relax!

I mean, that I don’t take the time to savor the good, to reflect, and to just be.  I just push on, PMP full of more things to do, more goals to reach.  More instances to beat myself up when I fail, or go manic when I think I am on a good streak.

Speaking of manic…. this post…. ah-hem. Okay.


I am not only spending an additional 30 days working on my physical health, but I am going to take the time to untangle some of the psychological messes I have made in my own brain matter…

Therefore, perhaps the most ridiculous posts in the three years of blogging are heading your way!

So, I encourage you to look at what’s going on in your life… and join me in the journey… let’s get down to the root of our real life “businesses.”  Are we in the “right” business?  Or are we working in some shady business of “I Am Not Good Enough”?


  • Anneli

    September 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Meredith, I think you’ll have TONS of people commenting on the fact that you have a unique ability to speak for so many of us. Also, not sure if you read Jenny Lawson/The Bloggess, but I’ll bet you do – her blog post today rings strikingly similar to this at the heart of it. Perhaps the root of the issues is not the same, but at the end of the day, so many of us don’t feel worthy of being totally happy unless we are grinding ourselves down to little nubs. I love this post – reminded me to take a deep breath and realize that only I can unclutter………………Thanks—–

  • Miranda

    September 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Oh I am guilty. Guilty guilty guilty. This made my cry. I didn’t commit to the Whole30 part of your 8 to great challenge, but I’ll join you in this one….

  • Carie

    September 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Quit trying to subliminally gear your posts towards me! I’m onto you, you can’t fool me and I’m not falling for it any longer! Nice try, but really my life is great and fine and I know one of these days ill figure out I’m good enough, but maybe until I do I’ll just keep following you and maybe I’ll be lucky and you will figure it out for me, kinda like your my virtual therapist that I don’t have to pay! I swear you slipped my name into this post for only me to see, nice try sister because I see through anything! I’m psychic or maybe its more like paranoid so I don’t miss a thing! When should we schedule out next session? Soon I hope! As always, in Always Sunny 114 in Arifreakinzona today! Carie

  • Mo

    September 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    So I have been going thru this whole “what the hell am I doing” phase all week. I work 3-4 days a week as an OR nurse, I have 7 year old twins that I feel I neglect too often, but they really love playing with each other, my husband works 4 days a week but 11a-11p and we never see each other so I feel like a single mom 4 nights a week, I’m going to school to become a Nurse Practioner (MSN-FNP) and it will take me 3 years part-time with tons of homework, I’m constantly training for some sort of tri, and then when tri season ends I play womens ice hockey. I’m crazy, I know. AM I good enough??? Some days I really think not. I feel like a bad mom, an awful wife, and am really hard on myself. I don’t know how to balance it all and was ready to have mental breakdown the other day screaming to my hubby, “I just need to quit school”, or why can’t you work day shift, or I don’t have enough time for anything. I think I need to work thru some of this “stuff” in my head. HOw important is all of this in my life? What do I do, where do I go, how do I balance my life?????? Well, I know it’s not going to happen over night, but I need to find “me” soon! I’m drowning! (and I guess my endorphin high is definitely gone now). ;(

  • Stacy

    September 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    This was me for many, many years. And then, last year, I got breast cancer. I learned what was important to me and what to let go of that was weighing me down emotionally. I am glad that I figured out I am good enough and that my happiness is more important than my work or what other people think of me. I just wish it didn’t take a cancer scare to understand that.

  • Jennifer

    September 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Ironically, as I was studying for the PMP Certification (true dat – Project Management Professional) keeping me away from my family for 2 months straight after working full-time, I told myself if I passed the exam, I would immediately sign up for my next HIM…

    I passed the exam and then realized I needed to just have a summer where I didn’t have some crazy goal…so I did. And I am good enough, smart enough and indeed people do like me….not because I am a certified PMP or because I race or because I am a mom of two beautiful girls. I am fabulous just as I am – and I can sit with that.

    You have inspired so, so many women with your honesty and trials…sit with it. Sit with your accomplishments and breathe.

  • Debbie

    September 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks for this post. I had to make the mature decision to put tri training on hold for this fall. I’m also a wife, mom, working nurse and am in my last semester of my nurse practitioner program. I need all my focus on school. 160 clinical hours, a capstone research paper, and a few small assignments. And studying for exit exams.
    However, I know that training keeps me same and helps me balance the stress. So I’m running 4 days a week and doing a 13.1 in October and a 5k in November. It’s hard to set priorities. But it’s very important. I achieved my goal this summer of becoming a triathlete. I did 3 sprint tris and loved each one. But now it’s back to the books for 3.5 more months.

  • Kristen

    September 5, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    You are reading my mind. I have my PhD, for freakin’ goodness sake. Yet I have completed the application to go back and get my nurse practitioner certificate, while I’m in a Master’s of Public Health program. I’m going to be Director of the University’s nursing program in less than 12 months, have an Olympic tri in 16 days, and am volunteering at IMFL in November so that I have dibs on a 2014 slot. I have a metric century bike ride in October and my longest ride to date is 18.6 miles. A half marathon in December, and my longest run-walk to date has been a 10K. Meanwhile, I’m focusing on the future and what I want to do instead of doing what I need to do NOW – grade multiple assignments, work on what I need to teach next week, get some manuscripts out for publication that have been waiting for over a year, and start a meaningful research trajectory (plan studies and get approval to actually do them) so that I can get tenure. Ugh. PMP to the extreme! I’m so glad that I’m not the only one suffering from this PMP. I’ll take the next 30 days (not doing the challenge since I’ve had gastric bypass & my coach has me on a pretty excellent nutrition plan) to straighten myself out mentally as well. Please keep blogging and posting about how you’re doing; I need all the encouragement I can get because I’m starting to freak myself out! My husband has been freaked out a while, LOL!

  • Beth

    September 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Oh, I too am guilty of this. My mantra seems to be “What more can I do?!” Like you, I wanted to do another big race this year, but in the last couple days, I realized I can’t possibly train for it well because of huge stuff going on at work, I just started a master’s program, I co-lead a Bible study, I have three elderly special-needs pets, and oh yeah, there’s that marriage thing, too. Thanks for sharing this. We can relate! And Bravo!

  • Mary

    September 5, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    My best friend and I have done 2 HIM together over the last 2 summers. We both came to the realization that we need more balance in our lives and our last race of the season we dropped from Olympic to sprint and had a BLAST. I think next year will be the year of the sprint. I want to bring the fun back into racing, and stop making it a job. Good luck in your quest to find balance too!

  • Laura Roeseler

    September 5, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Meredith, this post is exactly what I needed to read tonight. I almost didn’t turn on my computer tonight because I felt so overwhelmed, but I knew I needed to do a blog post. I always check your blog either before or after I do my own post and your post tonight spoke to me. I cut back on a pretty big commitment of mine recently, only to fill it up with volunteering to be head room parent at my oldest’s school and then tonight, we had an informational meeting about scouts. My son really wants to participate, but the sheer number of meetings and commitments that it entails is enough to make my head spin. It did me in. Thank you for this post and for the push I need to evaluate all that is going on in my life!

  • Ed C.

    September 6, 2013 at 12:42 am

    I am guilty as well. I feel i have failed at so many things that triatlon is my way of proving to myself that I am good enough. Thanks for the post.

  • Cynthia @ You Signed Up For What?!

    September 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Great post and good soul searching! I love the description of “PMP”, I totally pile it on. But right now I’m in a GOOD, balanced phase of it since I’m training for my first sprint tri. I promised myself I wouldn’t train for a marathon or anything longer than a 2-ish hour race until my kids are older, so the sprint tri has been the perfect goal – similar in length to a half marathon and something I’ve had as a “do by the time I’m 40”. In some areas I’m thriving and in others I feel too piled on. A lot to think about, for sure!

  • Rene' D.

    September 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Well said! I TOTALLY know what you mean about PMP and how we women seem to pile on many things until we’re going nuts. I find that I end up piling more on to prove that I can do it. I think it has to do with not feeling like people truly LOVE and appreciate me as a person. I sometimes think this has to do with my pride getting in the way too. In my case, I have many different talents that I like to use. The issue is that when I start to compare myself to others, “grass is greener on the other side”, then I end up having issues where I’m looking for more to fill my plate instead of just letting it go. Now that I have 3 kids and am a busy stay-at-home mom who teaches Aqua Zumba, water aerobics, private violin lessons, sings for weddings at church, takes voice lessons, and sings in a community choir I think I have enough going on right now. My children help to fulfill my life and keep me grounded because it’s all for them in the end. Thanks for your post Meredith! Sure spoke to me. 🙂

  • Colleen Kingery

    September 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I’ve read this whole blog and of course the thing that I’m going to comment on is your “I want another baby”. Girl… come watch mine anytime you want. 🙂 That’s all.

    I miss your face and your super awesome way of telling stories. You, me and Yoda… lunch or dinner soon? Please?


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