Failing Forward

All my life I’ve been comparing myself to the next gal. I was a teen mom who struggled every day to make ends meet. I worked myself senseless. Always working, never making a career. I used excuses like, “my kids need me” and “I can’t work those long hours and take away from the kids.”

I think the real truth is that I have always been scared of success. I have learned over the years that I have this weird God-given talent to put words together into strings that make people feel things. Sometimes I make people laugh. Sometimes I pull at people’s heartstrings. Sometimes it’s poetry that makes people feel less alone. I even wrote a book once. Maybe twice. And I never give myself credit for any of it.

It’s like I’m stuck in this cycle of always being stuck. I say that I want to do things differently. I say that I want things to change. I say that I want to do the things that will make it happen, but when it comes time to actually do, I chicken out.

I’m working on figuring out why that is, but I haven’t quite crossed over that bridge yet. My most recent beating myself up has come from comparing my life to other people’s lives. A year ago, I started working out and using a well known program to work on my health. A month after I started the workouts, I decided that I wanted to be a “coach.” Everything deep down in my soul told me that this was the thing I’ve been waiting for. I LOVE helping people. And even more than that, I LOVE helping people get healthy. Over the last year, I’ve changed drastically in the way that I feel about health and wellness. My attitude has changed. My habits have changed. My mental health has changed. All for the better.

Some things never change though. The little voice in my head that keeps telling me I’m not enough. I’m not good enough. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m not funny enough. I’m not lovable enough. I’m not enough. Period. That voice is as strong as its ever been. And I hate it.

In this group of coaches that I joined to start a business, there are women from all walks of life. Women with little kids, women with middle kids, women with big kids. Single women. Married women. Small women. Big women. Women who have never had to worry about being “fat.” Women who have always had to worry about being “fat.” And I find myself comparing my life to those women.

Lots of the women I compare myself to have built a seven figure business as a wellness coach. They show up every day. They do the work. And they have a following of people who would not only follow them in wellness, but would very likely follow them off the edge of a cliff if it came down to it. And I tell myself that I want that.

But then I choose not to show up every day. I choose to not do the work every day. I pick and choose what to do and usually choose the easy stuff, leaving the hard stuff on the table. And then I wonder why I don’t have the success that comes so easy to them.

And it’s a vicious cycle. It’s also a daily reminder that change is scary. And success can be as scary as failure. I think I fear success so much because I’ve never had it. I’m pretty much an expert at failing and quitting.

Not that it’s something to be proud of, but it is the cold hard truth.

Lately, I’ve been waking up daily and having to remind myself that I don’t need to compare myself to anybody else, because there is only one me. Nobody has walked the exact same road as I have. And I haven’t walked anyone else’s road either. And both are fine.

The differences are what bring us together sometimes. How boring would it be if we surround ourselves with people who have only been through what we’ve been through? It would be hard for us to teach others from the lessons we’ve had to endure and it would be hard for us to learn from others if they only had the same lessons to share.

I guess what I am saying is that I am grateful to have people more successful than me in my circle. I am glad to learn from people who have already done the lessons and have figured out how to make them easier to learn for those to follow. And I’m trying daily not to be the one in my own way on the road to success.

It’s not easy. And as much as I want to pretend that I have my shit together and that I’m a great leader, mostly, I’m not any more put together than the next person, the lessons I use to lead with have mostly come from my own failures, and I’m human. There’s a strong probability that I’m not done failing yet.

So I guess the choice I get to make is am I going to fail forward or am I going to fail backward?

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