It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write in this journal. Forgive me if I ramble a little, though if you’ve read anything I’ve ever written here you’ll know I’m likely to do just that. Ramble. But hey, it’s my party…
So where was I? Oh yeah, it’s been a while.
There are a lot of different reasons for that, actually. Busyness, focusing on other writings. Laziness. Truth is I’ve sat down a number of times to write something but then I either can’t come up with anything or better yet, I hate what I write and delete it all before moving on to something else. The biggest reason has been self-confidence or rather, a lack of it. Insecurity. Doubt is a word that has plagued me these past few weeks.
And so I was thinking about all of this. I’ve been thinking about a number of little failures or setbacks I’ve encountered over the past few weeks. Months, really. Little things that in themselves aren’t anything significant but combined have kind of bummed me out. I’ve been thinking about them and struggling to understand them individually and understand them collectively, and most importantly I’ve struggled to understand this creeping self doubt.
So there it was. I was sitting at lunch yesterday and I was struck with a notion of why. Not a revelation like a blinding flash of light but more like a slow, cool breeze that touches your skin and then passes almost imperceptibly. I’ve been on a journey to change my life and seek balance and along the way I’ve shared nearly every step.
And let’s be honest. Though I have been working on other writing projects, I haven’t been writing every single day. Which is like, breaking the one rule for writers – Write Every Day. When I began this journey, I was writing every day. When I wasn’t adding to a book or a poem I was journaling. Journaling here, for you. My three readers. I was stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing thoughts and feelings with you that were often scary just to think about, let alone put to paper. Let alone publish for all of the world to read.
But that was the point. That still is the point. To write every day, to share those feelings. To exorcise those demons. Maybe even to exercise them. And then life got in the way, and well, I stopped. I’m not exercising those demons anymore. They’re digging their way into my self-confidence and some days it feels like a full on spiral.
Those are the days when I look in the mirror and think “When did THIS happen?”
Like it jumped up and bit me, that snake of insecurity. Of course, adding the holidays in there didn’t help matters. No – I’m not one to get down during the holidays. Just the opposite, actually. I love them. It’s a great time to get together with loved ones and do what I love most. Eat, drink and talk.
But that darn insecurity. That self-doubt. It started making its way before the holidays. It started just elbowing its way in. Like that cousin who visits that nobody really likes, but he manages to visit when everyone else does so what can you do? You can’t NOT let him sleep on the couch, right? But it would have been a great visit with the other family if it weren’t for him.
Okay, so I’m rambling. I warned you.
But that was my own self-doubt. He came to visit right before the holidays and never left. And what made it worse was the fact that I DO love to eat and drink and talk during the holidays. Who doesn’t? But like many others, that means packing on an extra layer of Greg before it’s all said and done. A five pound layer. Not much, maybe, but when self-doubt is hanging around and making snide remarks at me every time I look in the mirror…well, five pounds is enough.
Oh, yeah. And then I turned 40 in January. But let’s get something straight before I continue. I wasn’t dreading turning 40 in the traditional sense. I don’t in any way feel like I’m getting old or over the hill or anything like that. I don’t subscribe to that. I was dreading it because I didn’t want (nor do I still want) people to make a big deal out of me being 40 – and yet I wanted people to make a big deal out of me being 40. Confused yet? Me too. My wife and I had a nice, quiet day together. A day like any other. It was perfect in the sense that nobody was making a big deal. And it sucked because nobody was making a big deal. Because of my internal struggle with all of that I didn’t really tell anyone I wanted them to make a big deal over me and so they didn’t. It was still an awesome day, but I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Self-Doubt and I’ll be driving your tour bus today…
Today we’ll be seeing a number of little failures that in themselves don’t really mean a whole lot but add up as the tour progresses. Over here we have some professional leads not panning out. Across the street is a little higher number on the scale. Coming up next, a milestone birthday!
I’d been trying to rely on my “Morning Motivation” to pull me through. I’ve been hoping that the words of others could punch through the haze and I’d get that extra dose of OOMPH I needed to persevere. Instead, I’ve seen myself slowly slipping the other direction toward being unproductive. I’ve seen myself heading toward disillusionment and the worst possible thing ever = Quitting.
But yesterday I had that revelation I mentioned. That slow, cool breeze washed over me. I realized that through my journey last year, minor successes had been made. Progress had been made. I’m not close to my goal, but I’m closer. But the thing that changed late last year was that I quit journaling. I stopped sharing myself with you. I stopped getting those leg warmers on and exercising those demons.
Because it’s not enough to hear the motivating words of others in order to persevere through hardship. You have to join the game. You have to participate. I have to participate. I have to share myself. I have to reflect on where I’ve been and be honest with where I want to go. And I have to seek help in getting there. I have to communicate my fears, my hopes, my dreams. I have to step out of my comfort zone and let others know that I’m as fallible as anyone. That little failures ARE a part of my life. But instead of internalizing the grief and despair of those little failures I need to get them out. Root out the negative and make room for the positive. Flood these pages with rhymes and the reasons so that my cup is empty and ready to be filled.
It’s a WE thing. No, not the television channel. You. And me. We. Because success is a team effort. And if you’re reading this, you’re part of my team. And I’m part of your team. We may trade a player or two and we’ll always accept new teammates, but this is it. This is the team. I share myself with you and you help me persevere. And you share yourself with me, and I’ll help you through. Because nobody scales the summits alone. Ever.
And besides, what’s the point of achieving success if there isn’t someone there to help share that with? Or help celebrate? Seriously, when I hit it big (and that WILL be happening) I want you to be able to say “I helped him with that.” Honestly. I want scores and scores of people to honestly take credit for my success. When I hit it big, I’ll even make shirts. You can have one.
Because I’m taking some credit for your success. Honestly. I didn’t see it before, but I did this weekend. I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to have met some AMAZING people the past fourteen months. This weekend I made it clear I’ve been struggling, and those amazing people have communicated to me their support. They have told me stories of how I’ve helped them.
I needed that inspiration. And heck yeah, I’m taking credit for helping! They were strong and smart and persevered themselves. I didn’t do anything for them, but I did help. And I will continue to help in any way I can. I’m asking the same of you.
I need you. I need you to help me succeed. And I know I haven’t been here lately. I haven’t been sharing myself. I know you can’t help me if I don’t share myself with you. So I promise I’ll write more. I’ll go back to journaling, so we can go down this road together. This rocky road, full of adventure.
Thank you for all you’ve done already. The thoughts, the kind words. The inspiration. I’ll need them. That self-doubt has left my couch and gone somewhere else for now, but I think some day he might return. Those little failures, you know? And let me know if he visits you. Together we can keep him on the move.