Category Archives: challenges

Friday Flashback: Just a story about a girl who never felt smart enough

I once had an English teacher with an infamous reputation so big and scary most of my classmates dreaded the return to school in the fall. She had red curly hair. A stare so narrow it could cut a person to their knees in seconds. And that thin fine mouth. She’d squeeze it so tight you couldn’t see her lips. We kept hoping every year, she’d retire—but she didn’t.
It was my Junior Year in High school, the last semester, and the class was assigned to groups of three for our end of the year project. A book we’d never read. A paper, a project, and teaching the class a lesson over the book. I was petrified of public speaking at that point. I was so scared of saying the right words I often defeated myself from over thinking. Needless to say, I never thought I’d make it through that project with a decent grade. I stayed up hours, burning the candle at both ends, tired beyond tired. I think my dad carried me up the steps at one point, when I’d fallen asleep in the middle of a late night study group. I’d wake up with dark circles under my eyes the next morning. My feet felt so heavy I swore cement blocks were tied to the bottoms of my shoes.  I had this problem back then. I wanted to be smarter than I thought I was. I worked so hard to make good grades I think I actually made worse grades because of the amount of stress I piled on top of myself. I realized much later, I couldn’t accept me for me.
Some of who we are when we’re young carries over into who we are today, and this week, I remembered all too clearly the fear of failing when so much pressure rides on my shoulders. I let the stress take hold of my mind at many moments this week, causing more mistakes to happen, than if I would have stopped myself and taken a moment to find some peace.  I realize now, I still want everything to be perfect, but I’ve also learned, I will live if it isn’t.  I know now, mistakes happen, and yes, I’ll make them.  And I’ve finally accepted my role as a perfectly imperfect human being. The best news is this, every day ends.  I’ll go home. I’ll crawl into bed. And when I wake up, the sun will shine with the promise of a new day.
So don’t forget, tomorrow is always a new day and you have every opportunity to make your dreams happen all over again.
Hugs!
Erika

Monday Motivation: Staring Challenge in the Face

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you woke up and your day was absolutely flawless? You’re mood was perfect. None of the kids were crying. You didn’t have to iron that shirt. The coffee pot didn’t make a giant mess all over the counter and you got in your car, zoomed off to work and there was no bumper to bumper traffic; in fact everyone just sort of moved out of your way, or your car sprouted hovercraft wheels and you zoomed right over it(totally my dream once while I tapped my fingers on my steering wheel). Maybe when you got to work, you were in that meeting and everyone listened. Everyone agreed your solution was the best. You just became a hero on the spot.

Wow!

I’ve been known to swear at traffic before. I’ve spilled coffee all over my shirt. And ironing? It’s one of the things I don’t like doing because I’ve tended to burn a shirt or two in my past. Even my husband’s shirts and pants. EEK! Meetings? I’ve led them. And once I had a lady start crying in the middle of a meeting, right out of nowhere. She didn’t want to go to work anymore. And this morning, one of my kiddos is down for the count heavy with the flu, eyes watery and nose running, body aches, a moderate fever. Not to mention we’re working on potty training the wee one and that is a HUGE challenge all by itself.

I’m thinking about challenges today. Deadlines. Pressures. How we deal with people we’re around when we feel the heat. How I respond when my little girl, a giant handful, is screaming at the top of her lungs about how she refuses to go on the potty. We sit. We try. And she gets off and goes in her pants two seconds later. So this time, we’re using bubbles as a distraction technique. A great suggestion by a coworker by the way.

I love this Michael Jordan quote. Heck, growing up, I plain loved Michael Jordan. All he had to do was step out on the court and I’d get all giddy. I remember the excitement I felt every time I watched him dunk a ball. Maybe it was his giant smile in all the commercials and his bright eyes that smiled just as big. It could have been Bugs Bunny because I loved cartoons—who knows, but I liked him.

So when he says words like this, it really makes me think. I wonder about the reason why I didn’t succeed in the past. I wonder about the reasons in every challenge why I stopped or got frustrated and why I hate ironing so much. It’s that human thing again. We are on fire the first time. We’re a little shaky the next time. And maybe the third time we try, we end up totally pulling away because it didn’t work. Again.

Failure. Burnt clothes. Angry attitudes. And a warm bed that just might keep me there after the alarm has gone off. Ugh. But it’s all part of the process. Not everyone is going to agree with me, or get out of my way on the road, or want to change their life in order to go potty in the pot because it’s easier for me—sometimes it’s that stupid iron. Oh well. I just have to laugh. I have to shake it off. And I’ll keep trying.