You know that feeling of clutching panic you get sometimes? Everyone has it.

I was recently talking to a software entrepreneur whose business had cracked $1 million in profit this financial year.

He’s self-funded and the sole owner of the company. To anyone else, that would be hugely impressive — people look at his business and see an empire in the making. They look at him and see a millionaire entrepreneur.

But because he’s right in the thick of it, he told me that all he can see is the pressure and the panic.


It’s tough for him to step back and appraise his own success from anyone else’s point of view. He only sees missed opportunities, a mounting pressure to grow, and the financial burdens and responsibilities of a steadily expanding team.

It’s the same with fitness bloggers, Instagram celebrities, artists, and musicians ... and anyone who makes, builds, writes, or starts anything.

Often, all they can see are the problems and the cracks.

Image via Arcturian/Pixabay.

It’s even the same with me. I’m focused so much on freelancing for start-ups and firms, working in tech marketing, and attempting to start a career as a writer that all I can see are the problems. To me, it often feels like my work is wildly inconsistent, my writing is total crap, my marketing practices are badly thought-out and managed, and my dad was right about my lack of potential.

To anyone else, it might not seem like that. You might see a blog post every day, or an evolving brand, or a speaking engagement and think it’s all running smoothly.

What you can't see: the blind, clutching panic.

You can’t see me reading an article about a new software start-up and suddenly losing all faith in my professional services business, then frantically texting my long-suffering girlfriend about how much of a mistake my entire life is. You can’t see me sitting on the floor in the corner of my work space, struggling with a panic attack.

Whether you’re running a business, writing a blog, or trying to build a freelance creative career, remember this: You may always feel like your life is in total chaos.

You're probably going to feel like the whole thing is held together with duct tape, Band-Aids, and a few well-placed staples.

Everyone's dirty little secret is that they feel this way too. Please believe that. No matter how successful you’ve been, every minor problem or small issue or inconsistency will probably always feel magnified a thousand times ... until it turns into Godzilla and you lie awake at night with a huge mutant lizard rampaging through your head.

It’s because you’re right there in the trenches. You’re slinging shit every day trying to make it work. So to you, every little aspect of your project seems so much bigger, so much more important. Every imperfection almost screams at you.

The hardest part is looking at everyone else.

The other entrepreneurs whose images look so perfect. The writers with Instagram feeds full of tastefully posed photos of manuscripts and whiskey. The “freedom businessmen," sunning it on a beach in Fiji with a laptop and a coconut.

And it looks perfect, doesn’t it? It looks like they’ve got everything under control. Surely, they’re running a smoothly operating, well-oiled machine?

Image via StockSnap/Pixabay.

No way.

Don’t even think that for a moment.

They are operating on the same level of blind, clutching, stressed-out panic as you are. You can’t see it, but it’s there.

I don’t want to depress you or convince you that trying to make it, trying to start something, or trying to build something is too scary to be worthwhile. That’s not true. What I want to say is this:

You can’t hold yourself to a standard that doesn’t exist.

You’re never going to have a business or a project (or a life) that feels as perfect as everyone else’s looks. It’s not possible. Their world is as hellish and tough as yours, even if it doesn’t seem that way from the outside. But this is a good thing.

It means that when you’re panicking, stressing, and feeling overcome with self-doubt, you’re not doing any worse than anyone else. You’re not alone in feeling that way. You’re one of us, and we get it. We’re not all #lovinglife or feeling #blessed. It may seem that way sometimes, but it’s not the case.

Rest assured: You don’t have to be a machine. You don’t have to think positive. You don’t have to “just believe and breathe.” That’s the advice you’ll probably get when you tell people how much is on your plate. I say: Don’t listen to it.

Image via Joschii/Pixabay.

Perfection is a game you can’t win because the rules keep on changing and you’re only playing against yourself.

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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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