Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pushing My Limits

I've always been afraid to fail. I think everyone has varying degrees of this fear. It's not uncommon, by any means.

Last Sunday at church we spoke about detours. We've all had them in life... You're chugging along going one way and all of a sudden some life event comes along and you're sent spiraling down a different path. Some are chosen and some are not. Some detours you want to be on and some are downright awful.  It was a really good subject for me, as I feel like I've been on a giant detour for the past two years.

We expanded on the topic last week in our Journey group and one of the attendees said something that flipped a switch for me. She said that she was going to college and ended up dropping out and getting married. She knew that she was supposed to be a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom and be the office manager of her husband's business. She knew that was what was going to end up happening, but she wanted that degree. She enrolled back in college and halfway through the semester she was pregnant. She said after a lot of soul searching she realized that she wanted the degree not because she was going to necessarily use it, but because she wanted to have it. There was pride in it. She wanted the degree for the title.

Obviously, not everyone is called to be a stay at home mom. We all know the moms that work who wish they were home and others who stay at home that wish they were working. We know moms that should work who do work and moms that should stay at home who do stay at home. I know many moms that need or want to work and stay at they find a way to do both.

If you've been a long time reader you know that I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom. It's been very hard for me to let that go. After I heard her story though, something nudged in my brain. I just had this light bulb moment that said that I'm not a stay at home mom because of my fear. Staying at home for me would be staying in safety. My fear of failure was a partial motivator in my desire to stay at home. 

Remember, this is just for me. It has nothing to do with any other woman out there or their reasons for doing what they do/don't do.

My epiphany also clarified that my fear of failure was not the only factor. I also have a grand fear of success. Deep down in my introvert soul I have always wanted big things. I've always wanted to be a well known author. I've always wanted to write children's books and fiction novels. I have always wanted to run a small business that grows into a BIG business. I have absolutely always wanted to be in politics. I've dreamed of starting local and moving up the ranks.

But when asked, I always said I wanted to be a stay at home mom. For me it was easier, safer, than explaining that I want big, big things and I'm scared I'll never get them. I'm afraid of failure and I'm afraid of success.

More than that, I worried that the reason that I wanted these things was because I wanted recognition. It was my desire to be noticed. To be well known. To take something small and make it big. To run public office. To achieve any of those things you must be noticed... For someone who goes through life largely unnoticed, saying that these were desires I had made me feel ridiculous.

A more important question would have been - what are my motives behind wanting to achieve those goals?

I always wanted to write children's books because books saved me as a kid. Books kept me company, kept me safe. There were times that things were so bad in my house that I would hide in the back of my closet in my safe place and the books I read would take me far away from my reality. If I wrote only one book and only one kid read it and felt that way, I would consider myself successful.

I love small business. I love seeing the little guy succeed and I believe that you have can have a big business that feels small. That cares about its community and provides more than just goods or services. Big business does not have to feel as corporate as it often does. I want to employ good people, sell or provide quality items and be a benefit to a city and it's people.

We need honesty in politics. We need normal people that have good heads on their shoulders and good business practices in government. We need someone to remind people that the government shouldn't be helping the sick and down-trodden but the PEOPLE should be. We should be rallying up our neighbors that are worse off than ours, not callings for the government to do it. A lot of people make the government care so they don't have too. Not to mention we need ethical people back in government.

My intentions for having these goals are good, but because they put me in the limelight, I felt like it was self-serving to want them. Who says I'm the right person to do any of it? Plus, how could I possibly succeed in any of those areas?

I've held myself back by the things I've decided I can't do without even trying to test my limits. 

Sure, there is the unknown in parenting and child-rearing and running a business or brand can be a baby on its own. Both avenues have uncertainty and scary parts. I'm not discounting that at all. But for me, staying home would be safer that attempting to reach any of those goals and failing OR succeeding.

Last week when I heard her story, I realized that my detour is definitely about growth. I've experienced so much in the past two years and I am so far from any type of comfort zone. I feel so lost and unsure of myself. I enrolled in this program knowing that I only had half of the money to pay for it, but sure that I'd figure it out. Beyond that... just the fact that I enrolled in this program, that I'm striving to move up in school business, that I've decided to pursue being a CBO at a school district - it's SO FAR from anything I thought I could do.

But look at me. I'm doing it.

I've had this war going on inside me for the past two years... Part of me is travelling this path kicking and screaming, with a hefty amount of skepticism, resentfulness and sadness.... but part of me is excited to see where my detour leads me. The part of me that I keep hidden, the part that wants to be successful and make a difference, it's rejoicing... anticipating some fresh air and maybe even a little sunlight.


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