I was on a team call last night for the new coaching business I have started and the speaker played a 5 minute clip of a Tony Robbins talk. It was more of an exercise than a “talk.” He had you close your eyes and think of the weight of all the things you’ve let hold you back. And then he told you to imagine carrying and dragging those things with you to wherever you were going over the next five years. And then the next ten.
I wasn’t flat out bawling, but my eyes were definitely dripping off my chin. I’ve done a lot of crying in my adult life. And I’ve carried a lot of heavy things for a really long time.
I walked into my 18th year with a baby and one on the way, a husband who was like a child and also a career criminal, and no clue what I was doing or what I was going to do. I came from poverty and I had resigned myself to raise my children the same way, even though I told myself I would do everything exactly opposite the way my mom did. I’ve talked about this before and how, even despite my best efforts, I was like my mom in a lot of ways when it came to raising my kids and the kind of parent I was.
I spent a lot of time in bars like my mom did. But I thought I was different because instead of coming home and passing out in the same clothes I wore out layered in scents of coffee, cigarettes and spilled booze, I thought because I showered before passing out, I was somehow not imprinting that “smell” on their little brains and therefore doing a better job at parenting.
As Tony talked, I thought about the weight of not wanting to be like my mom. And the weight of being so much like her. I thought about the time she told me I was selfish for continuing my education and not “putting my kids first” because she thought I should just stay home and be a full time welfare mom. I thought about the day I quit college, 8 classes away from having a bachelor’s degree. I thought about all the times I thought I would go back and never did. I thought about all the other things I’ve quit throughout my life…workouts, books, jobs, relationships.
And I could literally feel the weight of these things pressing on my shoulders and compacting my spine like I was holding a pallet of bricks over my head. And I imagined myself continuing to carry it until I was dragging it behind me like I was at Strongman event.
And something clicked in me.
A realization, if you will.
I don’t have to carry all those things with me anymore. I don’t have to let them push me to the bottom of my ocean until I can’t find where the water breaks.
I can let it all go now. I could have let it all go before, but there are these things called limiting beliefs. I’ve heard the word a lot over the last few years. I knew they applied to me, I just didn’t know how much. Until I started doing the work to try to get them to the surface so I could wash them away.
These are things I have always believed about myself:
The Myth: I’m not a professional. I just work a job until I’m not happy and then I move on.
The Truth: I have helped more than one business owner get their businesses back on track after someone had essentially run them into the ground. Running other people’s businesses is a gift I have.
The Myth: I’m not a leader. Nobody would want to follow me.
The Truth: People tell me all the time, I wish I could do what you do. You are so brave. My ability to live my life unapologetically is a gift that I have.
The Myth: You never finish anything you start, probably because you were too busy parenting.
The Truth: I’m done parenting. I cannot use that as an excuse to quit things anymore. The skills I learned from raising three kids on my own is a gift I now have.
The Myth: You are not meant to be successful.
The Truth: Success is not gauged by how much money I have, but how well I have lived my life and the relationships I have formed over the years. I have the gift of great friends and people who love me. I am already successful.
The Myth: I don’t deserve to make massive amounts of money.
The Truth: Just because I spent my whole adult life so far just getting by, doesn’t mean that I have to always be struggling. I’m allowed to want better for myself and I’m allowed to go get it. Now is the time to use all the gifts I’ve been given.
The Myth: “She can fall in shit and come out smelling like roses.”
The Truth: I can fall in shit and come out smelling like roses because I don’t lay there and roll in it. I figure out how to get out of it and then I do that thing. I have a gift for problem solving and taking responsibility for my own shit.
The truth is, I’ve always tried to be what people expected me to be. And that was a poor single mother who did nothing for herself and gave up everything to make sure her kids had the things they needed even if they didn’t have the things they wanted. The truth is, I did my kids a disservice by not showing them that Mom needs 30 minutes a day to work out because when she doesn’t feel fit she feels unfit to mother. Mom needs 30 minutes a day to read a book about how to be a better human so when darkness overcomes her in winter, she’s better equipped to stay upright and not under the covers. Mom needs to learn how to cook healthy meals so that you don’t grow up thinking that all chicken comes in the same shape and should fit in a dipping cup and that all vegetables come out of a fryer with salt on them. Mom needs to push hard so that you kids never know what it’s like to have to boil water on a stove to bathe your baby.
I never knew that I could have worked a little harder and not struggled as much. That was never taught to me. I never knew that I didn’t have to do what everyone expected of me. What everyone expects of young single moms. To live paycheck to paycheck because that’s “the choice you made when you decided to have kids.” It’s just all such bullshit.
But that was my past. My kids are grown up. And they do know that mom needs 30 minutes a day to work out now. They do know that I need time to read so I’m not consumed with my own thoughts. They do know that healthy meals are necessary. And they know that it’s ok to push hard now so you don’t have to struggle later. And they all take care of themselves that way too.
Now, I’m just trying to continue to teach myself all those things and get out of my own way so I can finally have the life that I should have had all along.
And while it is wildly uncomfortable for me, discomfort is where you find your strength.
I think we should all get a little uncomfortable.