Can I just be honest, and put it out there? Real Talk, Real Women…well here you go!
I was struggling. Struggling badly! When approached to be a contributor to this book, I instantly accepted and was humbled by the opportunity. I thought about what a great platform I was being given to share all the motivational energy, perspective and ability I had swirling around inside. But, as I sat down to put pen to paper, I didn’t freeze, I regressed! I wish it was simple writers’ block that plagued me, but something even worse took over….fear. All of a sudden, doubt flooded my mind and I wasn’t sure I had anything to share anymore. I wasn’t sure if anyone would care. I wasn’t sure if I would be as good as the other women contributing to the book.
I was able to punch out a few lines every day and after several weeks was getting close to achieving the minimum word count requested. But I just wasn’t moved by anything I wrote. There was no conviction. More or less, it represented me and my perspective, but it just felt like words on paper. At T-minus 48 hours to the deadline I was seriously contemplating responding that while I appreciate the offer, I just don’t think I’m what this book needs. It was going to kill me to quit, but I’d rather not be in the book, than be substandard in the book. At T-minus 24 hours, I did my weekly track workout and almost hyperventilated because I was crying while running, wondering what am I going to do. How many opportunities would I get in life to be a part of such an amazing group of women? I wanted this so bad, but I just couldn’t come up with anything worthwhile. After an hour and fifteen minutes of running, sprints, lunges and stair climbs I lay spent in the middle of a football field mentally drafting my email response. Then I realized that what I was prepared to say declining this offer, is exactly what I should say in my chapter. The book is called Real Talk, Real Women…well this is pretty real, as far as I’m concerned and is at the heart of my desire to even have a platform.
As I’ve grown in fitness and in life, I’ve learned more about myself in those “weak” moments that in any other time. As I’ve recognized that I CAN push past a difficult moment, learn, grow and thrive as a result, I have come to enjoy pushing myself to my limits. I have learned that feeling weak, doesn’t make you weak. In fact, the opposite is quite often the outcome. You become stronger (physically and mentally), wiser and now have the added value of an experience that no one can take away from you. I feel like I stumbled upon the Holy Grail with this lesson! A lesson that as a wife and mother have seen others and have personally myself, circumvented because I thought I had to for my family. This is obviously not true and is at the foundation of the reason why I put myself out there….the good, the bad, the sweaty ugly and the vulnerably nervous, to hopefully demonstrate the gift you are giving by challenging yourself to take risks and live the life of your dreams. Yes, people are counting on you. But don’t forget that you are one of them.
I have felt that it would be too hard on me and my family to do a variety of things… go back to school to get my MBA, find time to work out to compete, spend money on healthy organic food to cook each night, to earn my PHR and CPT certifications, the list goes on and on. But each of these accomplishments has not only provided me a sense of pride and accomplishment, but they are real life examples of the challenges I want my children to take on. And what a blessing is the benefit of seeing and knowing that they can achieve anything they want to achieve. To my children, I want to say, do as I say AND as I do. Doubt will come and that is ok. Feel the fear and do it anyway. And as a matter of fact, the instant you recognize fear is trying to hold you back, accept that as life’s challenge to you. A test to earn the glory that lives on the other side of fear.
As I lay there on the grass, I gave thought to how I would feel in 10, 20, 30 or 50 years from now, if I didn’t write this chapter. Immediately a sense of grief hit me. My heart hurt and it felt like I was mourning the loss of something. This is often the barometer I use to make big and small decisions in my life. The fact is that those days will come. God willing, I will reach 10, 20, 30 and 50 years from now and look back on my life to that point. What am I going to feel and think? Am I going to get that sense of mourning and loss over not even trying to achieve my goals? Or is my heart going warm at the memories of what appeared insurmountable at the time, now just a sense of pride? Will a smile break across my face recalling the trivial “obstacles” and even legitimate challenges presented that I chose to overcome? Well, I know that if I experience grief now over the thought, I will definitely experience grief over the reality. How unnecessary. Regret has to be one of the most painful feelings to live with, because it means you had a choice and the power over the outcome. I find it hard to truly regret the knowledge that comes with life lessons. However, I do regret what I haven’t been brave enough to try.
Eventually, I got up and brushed myself off…physically and mentally. I walked back to my car with a sense of purpose, reminded that no matter how exhausted I was, I was the only person who could drive me to where I wanted to be. I refused to get a copy of this book and not be in it. I would, of course, applaud and congratulate the other ladies, but I am not a great spectator.
I don’t have what it takes to sit back and watch. I need to be active participants in life, making things happen for myself. This is part of the reason I don’t enjoy watching sports, reality competition or awards shows on TV. For some this is an enjoyable escape from reality. For me it a reminder that there are people out there right now actively pursuing their dreams, and I should be one of them. They are putting in the work while I watch. When someone wins, I am happy for them because it is a demonstration that hard work does pay off, but it is not my win. I didn’t earn it. I long for the celebration that accompanies the satisfaction of achievement from hard work that I put in. The pleasure that comes from accomplishing a goal is unparalleled. Maybe even addictive. To get your fix, you must set a new goal. I’m ok with that!
Well, as I wrap up my contribution to this book, I am at T minus 12 hours before the deadline and happy. I didn’t use a single sentence from my original rough draft or even stay on the topic I had planned to write about.
With the sense of purpose and desire I felt to share this experience of getting over fear and doubt, the words flew onto the page in just over an hour. Which included stopping to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my daughter and using the restroom twice, as I‘m chasing down my daily gallon of water.
It feels miraculous and is yet another example for me of the incredible things that can be done by simply getting out of your own way.