Kids can be very cruel. My overweight, shy, geeky 4th grade self didn't appreciate the clever wordplay of this nickname. Instead, it only forced me to retreat further into my inner world and comfort myself the only way I knew how: with food.
I've struggled with weight all my life. By high school, I was 6 feet tall and pushing 230 pounds. By college, when I discovered all-you-can-eat dining plans and - yes - alcohol, I ballooned up to 305 pounds. I was obese. Out of shape. And absolutely miserable with myself.
After school, I worked my ass off (literally) for five years, first by dieting then by exercising and ultimately long distance running, proudly reaching the unheard-of weight of 185 pounds on my 30th birthday. I hadn't been that light since middle school. And boy, was I proud. I made it. I did it. I would never be overweight again.
Then: kids. And a career. And sleepless nights, temper tantrums, sports. Stress triggered those old demons of my youth, and I found comfort once again in food. And the weight came back. Now I'm 41, staring down at a scale and seeing 230s again. Damn. Like alcoholism, this disease is never truly cured, it just goes into remission.
So now I'm back at it again, trying to claw my way back to a respectable weight, dieting and running again, hoping, wishing, striving that I can succeed again. But it's a tough, uphill battle. I'm not sure I'll win it this time.
Ok, I hear you asking: what does this have to do with anything? Why am I bringing up a personal story in my professional blog? The answer is simple. We all struggle. The moment you think successful people are perfect, that they have no challenges or demons, the instant you lift them to mythical status, you secretly sabotage your own drive to success.
Why is believing the myth of perfection a problem? Because you're not perfect. You have challenges. You have demons. And you begin to doubt yourself. How could you achieve great things with such baggage? But I tell you this. I've sat in rooms with CEOs, founders, and partners in some of the largest law firms in the world. They're all human. They're, surprisingly, pretty normal. And they struggle. They struggle like I do, whether it's managing their weight, letting their kids down missing that important game or school event, trying to rekindle romance with their spouse in the midst of a crazy busy life. The list goes on and on.
So before you put yourself down, or be too hard on yourself, remember: people succeed despite all this, not because they lack flaws.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Hungry: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin by Allen Zadoff
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant