It's Probably Just Me

By Lisa Earle McLeod


Lisa Earle McLeod is a writer and motivational speaker who lectures nationally to corporations, parent groups, and educational organizations. A sought-after speaker, she draws upon her experiences as 15-year marriage veteran and mother of two to deliver a humorous relevant message that inspires and motivates.

Lisa's past life includes stints as a sales person, executive coach, marketing consultant, sales trainer, and PTA officer. Her first book, Forget Perfect, is the result of her years in the seminar business where everyone she met was so busy going through the motions of life, they forgot how to have a life. As she says,

"We've put ourselves last on our own priority lists and we deserve better than that."

Lisa's greatest passion in life is trying to make a difference and improve this crazy world before her two daughters have to face it. She has a degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia.

Lisa and her husband Bob live outside Atlanta, Georgia with their girls, Elizabeth and Alex.

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Essay ©2002 Lisa Earle McLeod/Graphic ©2002 Tulevision Staff Photographer/Lisa' Picture by John & Mary Photograhic Artists. All rights reserved.


Lisa Earle McLeod helps the Tulevision Editor negotiate her way around unrealistic expectations

Ask any woman what she’d like to improve about her life and she’ll probably respond with a laundry list of things she’d thinks she needs to improve about herself. Each and every one of us is convinced somewhere, somebody else out there is managing it “better.” Her life must be bliss, right? We don’t know her, but we’re sure she’s out there. Well, she’s not. And you know why I think the rest of us feel like we don’t measure up?

I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods. The world has us all convinced that being perfect and doing more are the keys to a great life. Somewhere along the line, we bought into the notion that all the happiness and good things in life are reserved for the perfect people and until we become one of them, well then, all our problems are our own damn fault!

Surely any unhappiness we’re experiencing stems from the fact that we aren’t organized, don’t read enough, aren’t good enough mothers, don’t work hard enough, eat too much refined sugar, don’t exhibit good enough listening skills or whatever the hell else was in this month’s Cosmo Quiz.

And then, as if we don’t make things bad enough by comparing ourselves to the most perfect people we can find, there’s an entire industry of books, tapes, and what not out there highlighting every possible aspect of our inadequacies. Combine that with unsolicited advice from strangers and your own relatives (don’t get me going on the whole family thing) and it’s a wonder any of us have the strength to face another day as our oh so unperfect selves.

We could, of course, all be perfect if we could only muster up the energy to complete the list of “shoulds.” Let’s see, where did it start? I should work more, I should work less, I should spend more time with the kids, I should be making a financial contribution, I should be able to get more done since I’m home all day, I should be better organized, I should keep a neater house, I should spend more time with my parents, I should be doing community volunteer work, I really should do better with my family’s diet, I should be thinner, and on and on and on.

Oh, and the should list doesn’t just include things we “should” be doing right now, a lot of us expand it to include all the things we “should” have done in the past. I found out I’m not the only one that likes to go back and beat herself up about how I “should” have done something differently. Woulda, coulda, shoulda, you know the mantra.

The list is a mile long and we’re convinced that true happiness will descend upon us when it’s all checked off.


The perfect thing isn’t the key to happiness; it’s in the way of happiness.

You know what? I’ve talked with real women about when they were the happiest and not a single one ever even mentioned the “perfect thing”. Nowhere did I hear, “I was happier when my house was cleaner, when I worked harder, was more organized, or any other version of doing it nicer, prettier, or better.” So it appears, that in addition to annoying the rest of us, perfection isn’t very memorable in terms of life experiences and doesn’t make the perfectee any happier either.

What did? It wasn’t feeding the hungry or winning the lottery. It was just a few simple things:

Women are the happiest when they know they matter, when they know that what they’re doing with their time counts for something. It doesn’t have to be about changing the world. It doesn’t even have to be fun, easy, or highly paid; it just has to make a difference to someone.

The other times they cite as the happiest are when they’re a part of something, when they’re “connected” to other people. Their fondest memories are about being part of a group that was just as interested and excited about whatever it was as they were.

And lastly, when women talk about the best times of their lives it wasn’t when they were doing everything. It was when could they put all that pressure aside and just enjoy doing one thing for a moment.

We’ve put ourselves last on our own priority lists. And we deserve better than that.


Essay ©2002 Lisa Earle McLeod/Graphic ©2002 Tulevision Staff Photographer/Lisa' Picture by John & Mary Photograhic Artists. All rights reserved.