A couple of Saturdays ago, I had a really hard day. This is a bit of a personal story, dear reader, but I hope you read it and remember to keep going when times are tough.
A couple weeks ago I woke up at midnight in a panic. Now, I know there are many entrepreneurs out there that do this all the time. But I am not one of those gals. When I decide to go to bed, my brain goes into vacay mode. If it’s bed time, work melts away. I learned that from my dad. Every night of college, he went to bed at 10pm. Even if he didn’t feel like he was all the way finished with his work. He knew there would still be time to work more tomorrow.
Let me repeat that – there’s always more time tomorrow.
But a couple weeks ago, I made a mistake. And that’s what woke me up. I had totally forgot to prep the technology for a CPR/First Aid class I was facilitating the next day. A day that was a Saturday and a day where I would be totally alone during my set-up time. To make matters worse, I would be setting up in a new space and I had NO IDEA how to set up the technology. This meant: I had no idea where the hook-ups were, there was a good chance the remote to the projector was locked away somewhere secret, AND I had no way of playing the DVD required for the class. Long story short, if I couldn’t figure out the technology there would be no class. And if there was no class, over 60 camp counselors would not be eligible to do their job on the first day of summer camp. Talk about stress.
I sent three text messages at 12:30 that morning, each saying the same thing, “I’m very sorry for the ridiculously late text. But I need help. If you see this before 8am, will you please call me?” In that moment, I knew that I had done everything I could do. Google couldn’t help me, stressing wouldn’t help any further, and I would be useless if I didn’t sleep. In that moment, I had done as much as I could to address my mistake. All I could do is sleep in the hopes that I could wake up very early and tackle my problem head on in the morning.
Luckily, by the time I got to the class’s location, I heard from two of my co-workers who had received my SOS. They talked me through what I needed to know, but the next step was to make everything work in harmony– including the DVD and sound – which is usually a nightmare even in the best of circumstances.
I took a deep breath and decided I needed a moment before moving forward, and so I decided to set up the tables for the students sit at. I was proud of myself, I had realized that I was frustrated and anxious and I knew I didn’t want to give into those feelings. I wanted my mind to be clear before jumping through the next hoop. And as I wheeled my first lunch table into place, a horrible SMACK erupted in my heel. I had just run myself over with a 200-pound table. Pins and needs ran up and down my foot and leg. Alone, I cried out.
Blood filling my shoe, I breathed out heavily. The technology was still not set, and there 9 tables that still needed to be put down. I was already a ball of nerves, but now I was paralyzed with pain. Students would be entering the class in less than 30 minutes. And nothing was ready. All I wanted to do was sit down, cry, and hobble away.
That’s when I realized something. I was in a moment of growth. Growth is pain. And in this moment, my growth was illuminated by real pain. I had a choice: I could give into what I wanted, what was easy, OR I could hobble through and see what I could do. I could exhaust all my options and walk away with knowing that I had done everything I could. In that moment, I wanted to see what I was made of.
Never in my life have I had a moment so clear as this one.
Sure, I have put myself through many physically exhausting tasks – including hiking a 20-mile trail in one day that I did not train for. I have sung in front of big audiences. I have started my own business. I have made friends with strangers. I have done harder things than this. So, what made this moment different than any other?
I chose those other moments. This moment was created out of an absent-minded mistake. It was in this moment that I could show myself what kind of human I wanted to be. A human that doesn’t walk away from mistakes, failures, or tough situations. I knew I was the only person that could fix this situation, and though my emotions were valid, they were going to hinder me from completing my task. So, it was time to hold my hurt gently and move forward, one hobbly step at a time.
And that’s what I did. I got the tables down. I troubleshooted the rest of the technology issues. I asked for a little bit of help from the students who arrived early, and the class happened. Everyone got the certification they needed.
Many hours later, I came home and took my bloody shoe off. My foot swelled instantly, the pain increased, and the day’s events washed over me. I cried for what it felt like an hour. A mix of physical pain and a release of stress took over my body. I couldn’t stop. I kept repeating to myself, “Today was not my best day.”
Finally, my fiancé came home and checked out my foot (he’s a doctor). Once I gave into his help, I propped my foot up, cancelled my evening plans, and turned on “Parks and Rec” for the rest of the night. I had done my best and now it was time to rest.
A couple weeks later, I am still limping and unable to wear shoes other than sandals. But as I reflect on that crazy Saturday, I am proud of myself. That blunt force trauma to my heel was the wakeup call that I had no idea I needed. I kept going even when everything fell apart. I didn’t allow myself to believe that I was incapable.
I am capable. Even when things turn to shit. I can still take small steps forward and be successful. And you can too, my dear reader. You have a choice to keep going, and I hope you do. Keep climbing that mountain of yours. Whether it’s a creative project yet to be realized, a promotion yet received, or just a dumb mistake that you must fix, you can do it. I’m not saying you’ll get to the top unscathed, but you will gain a prouder sense of self that I am sure will help heal any wounds you may encounter.
Keep going. I’m here to help and I’m sure as hell cheering for you. There is rest and peace waiting for you. Keep going.
sending love bombs,