Everyone thinks striving for greatness is . . . well . . . great. But it isn’t. It is exhausting, tedious work. It’s not glamourous or attractive. It’s showing up every day no matter how you feel and pouring out your heart and soul. It is dealing with failures, and people’s judgements. And still showing up. It is falling flat on your face again and again. And it is getting back up again and again. No matter how much it hurts, no matter how long it has been, and no matter how tough it is. Greatness is choosing to keep going no matter what.
“You don’t shine under the bright lights; the bright lights reveal the work you have done in the dark.”
(from the book Chop Wood, Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf)
This is a lesson that I am in the process of learning. I started my blog two months ago. And for some reason, since I have always been pretty good at writing (you know a long time ago before I had kids) I thought I would instantly have likes and followers. I wasn’t expecting to be an overnight success, but I guess I thought it would be easier than it has been. I would spend an hour or two working on what I thought was a great blog, post it, and then check it every chance I got. I would sigh when I saw that there were no views, no likes, no comments, and no followers. I knew it wasn’t a good habit to get into, but it was hard to stop myself from checking when I was so excited and passionate about this new adventure.
And then came the most painful discovery, when one of my posts got 30 views . . . but only 2 likes. Ugh.
And that little voice in my head starts to say,
“See? You are no good at this. No one likes your work. You never should have gotten your hopes up. You can’t do this. There are already so many people blogging and writing. Why bother?”
It’s like God knew what I was going to go through. He knew I was going to second guess myself and flooded me with books that would encourage me in the exact area I was feeling weak in. It definitely helped me to gain some much-needed perspective and gave me some encouragement to keep going.
I had just finished reading a book by Rachel Hollis called, Girl, Wash Your Face. She does a great job of being real and inspiring you to be your best. She also talked about having to work hard to get a book self-published because every single publisher she submitted it to told her it would never sell. And the reason they told her it would never sell just so happened to end up being the reason so many people loved it. I also read in another book by Lysa Terkeurst, Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl about how many articles she wrote that only her family and friends ever read, and about all the manuscripts from books that never even made it to print. Then I started a book called Chop Wood, Carry Water. The premise of this book is about falling in love with the PROCESS of becoming great. It explains that we must put in the hard work to grow and learn so that we are prepared for success when it does come our way. There is no easy way to get there. It takes hard work and dedication. One of my favorite words of wisdom he gave was “Dream big. Start small. Be ridiculously faithful. Focus on what you can control.” Finally, I also started Rachel Hollis’s follow up to Girl, Wash Your Face called Girl, Stop Apologizing. And it just so happens that one of her chapters is all about the excuse of being terrified of failure followed by a chapter on the excuse that is has been done before.
Because you know what? I have three kids watching me and I want them to see that I never gave up. To see that I kept working, kept trying, and kept persevering. I want them to chase their dreams with the same tenacity and grit, so I have an incredibly important example to set.
And really, why in the world did I think I would just instantly be great at this? Of course, I am not going to be good right away. I am just starting. Writing is just like anything else. I’m not going to be amazing at it right away. It’s going to take hard work, and lots of practice. I am going to fail. And unfortunately, because my blog is public, people will see me fail. But you know what? I will not die. It may hurt but I will get up and try again. I will choose right now not to let my failures keep me from discovering my full potential. I will choose instead to see each one of my failures as an opportunity to learn and grow.
And I also have an audience watching. Even if it’s an online audience. And even if that audience is small. My whole purpose in writing a blog was to have fun and to inspire other women. How can I inspire or encourage anyone if I give up when it gets tough?
And yes, there are lots of people blogging and writing. But just like I can read from many authors and gain wisdom from each of them maybe I do have something to offer. No one has ever lived my life before and no one ever will, so I have a unique perspective. Not only that, but I have always said if I only help one person breathe a little easier that would be the greatest accomplishment.
Practically speaking, I can read books on writing. I can read other blogger’s posts and learn from them. And I can just keep trying. I have a plaque in my house that has Winston Churchill’s quote on it, “Never, Never, Never, NEVER GIVE UP!”
And that’s what I plan to do. So, watch out world, because I am not going anywhere.
Do you have a dream? An idea? A mission? Chase it with all that you have. The world is changed by those who never give up on their dreams. We need more women to pursue their calling in life. You can make a difference. You can do it. It will be hard. There will be moments of heart ache and moments of joy. But in the end, it will all be worth it. Because at the END of the most DIFFICULT trails, we find the GREATEST rewards.