There are days (ok, weeks and months) that I get stuck in my own head. I feel like I'm running around inside my brain trying to put a million pieces together without true success. I'm told it's a Mom thing, a woman thing, a lack of focus. You get the idea.
I go to sleep with undone tasks swirling in my head mixed in with random ideas and hollow promises to do better tomorrow. The next morning, the list is still waiting and I have no desire to really tackle it, which later turns into guilt for not being a better human.
I'll finally get fed up enough with the internal clutter and chatter. I'll put myself on a strict schedule, diet, or fitness thing. For a while, I'll do well (my record is three months!) and then it all collapses like the house of cards it is and the cycle starts over.
Take my latest round of weight loss. I went for it and lost 20 pound and was so proud of myself. Then I decided that I got this and could go off my plan. You can guess how that worked out.
Then I jumped in with both feet into my own company.... in 2020. Not exactly the greatest year to start a business, but I'm still here.
I have a picture in my head of the person I want to be. She's healthy, happy, and enjoys her life. She certainly doesn't look at donuts and chicken strips with longing and has stamina to keep up with her kids. Her business is doing well because she is rocking it like the confident boss lady she is.
Then, I look in the mirror. She's not there. Why? Why is it so hard to push towards all the good thing I want for myself and so easy to slip into the guilt and shame that I'm not? I could throw out a million reasons why this year was so hard; many of which were out of my control. I mean, who else forgot to plan a global pandemic into their year on January 1st?
But then I sit with that little voice inside that has always been brutally honest. The one past the excuses, frustrations and reasonings. The truth that we know is there, but ignore if it's not what we want to hear.
I'm afraid to succeed.
How stupid is that? That can't be right. I ignored it for months. I told myself that I just need to start over again and that maybe it will stick this next time. Forget that I didn't believe my own hollow words. I wasn't ready to admit such a fear. Everyone wants to succeed. It makes no sense to fear it.
Eventually though, things we try to push down come bubbling back up to the surface. So today, I'm looking in the mirror and having an honest conversation with myself.
I have areas in my life I'm comfortable failing in. It's familiar. I know how to do it and I know which excuses to use so that it's not really my fault. But deep down, I know it is. Yes there were things that may have been outside of my control, but I did nothing with what was. I have plenty of tools, support and knowledge to make what I can control work toward the outcome I want. I'm just scared to death.
I'm scared that if I do succeed I will find a way to mess it up again and it will be a lot farther to fall. I'm a pro at starting over, and over, and over. Reaching the top of the mountain? That one, not so much.
It's risky, but it sounds so exhilarating. So what is it that I'm missing for my mountain climb?
I need to change my "why". Losing weight because I feel shameful about my body isn't a good enough reason. Running a business because I'm afraid I'll end up in a job I hate again isn't a good enough reason. Not taking the time to prioritize my schedule because I'm afraid I won't execute it well isn't a good enough reason.
I need a reason full of life and hope to move forward. Fearing to succeed because of the possibility of failure hasn't gotten me anywhere. There's no joy in it. I need to learn to make and exchange sacrifices for what brings passion to my soul. There must be an intent for making healthy choices. Something greater than guilt or shame. Something greater than the fear of falling.
I've been thrown out of the saddle half a dozen times. It's not a great feeling. Honestly, this last time really sucked, but I keep getting back in the saddle. Why? Because I know what it feels like when the horse and I are in sync. It's one of the most amazing feelings I've ever had while riding and it takes a lot of work to reach. In those few moments, it's like dancing with a partner that can read your mind. The moves are effortless and the feeling is absolutely thrilling. When you come down from cloud 9 you know you will work and keep pushing forward just to have another ride like that. Just to experience that connection and have a chance to dance again. It's pure joy.
That's what I choose. Joy. I chose my health for the joy of doing what I love. I choose to put my heart and soul into this company because helping women conquer their own mountains gives me joy. I chose to organize my day because having time for people I love gives me joy.
I choose joy and with joy comes freedom. Not the do-whatever-you-want-whenever-you-want kind of freedom. This freedom comes with some sacrifices, but the view at the top of the mountain is all the more sweeter for it.
To all the other women with similar struggles, I hope you'll join me and discover what brings you joy and the sacrifices worth giving up to embrace it. I'm probably going to still struggle with my own failings, but if I keep my eyes focused on the top of the mountain instead of looking down at what could go wrong, I know I'll succeed. And when I get to the top, I'm going to shout with a heart full of joy.