Wednesday, April 26, 2017

On Failing Gracefully and Falling Forward

A few years ago, I wrote about my success. More specifically, I wrote about what happens behind the success. You see, folks see when I “make it,” when I get to the next level, and when I have the opportunity to check another goal off of my “Things I Want to Achieve in Life” list.

You guys share in my success. You celebrate with me. You get excited with me. And I must say, all of this is pretty awesome.

But I also share my struggles, my setbacks, and my failings. Because you need to see what goes on behind the scenes. You need to see how many times it was a “no” before it was a “yes”. You need to see how many times I was thisclose to quitting before I had a major breakthrough. You need to see how long I stood still before I leveled up.

And that’s exactly what happened earlier this year. I was recently not chosen for a position/promotion that I feel, scratch that, know, I would do well. When I found out the not-so-good news, I was sad. Disappointed. And kinda stuck. I was in a “Well what am I gonna do now?” mode for quite some time.

I wallowed.

I sulked.

I even withdrew.

But… I didn’t stay there. In that space.

The way this life is set up, we’re expected to feel like failures when we fall down. But whatever happened to taking that failure and learning from it? Whatever happened to failing gracefully and falling… forward?

So that’s what I decided to do. I decided to get up, dust myself off, and strategize my next move. How, exactly, am I going to get from here to there? What do I need to learn? What do I need to unlearn? What do I need to master? What skills and tools do I need to work on in order to be an even stronger candidate the next time?

After a couple email exchanges and video conference calls with the hiring team (that I initiated), I feel like I have solid things to work on moving forward.

I could have easily continued to beat myself up over this failing. But I didn’t. Instead I decided to fail, gracefully. And fall, forward.

Now… the next time I write about this position, it will be to share the success with you. Beat your understanding on that.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Five Things I Learned While Resetting My Life in Therapy

I’m not one for keeping secrets on this space and place. I usually bare it all out there, gracefully, hopefully. When I’m struggling,you’ll know. ‘Cuz I’ll share it.

And so was the case with all the things that happened with Aiden’s other parent resurfacing andthe residual effects of that – dealing with my PTSD, dealing with Aiden’s feelings being played out in real life, and e’erthing in between.

But after months of weekly family therapy sessions, and individual therapy sessions, and monthly visits to the psychiatrist, here we are. Still standing. And Aiden’s doing really, really well. (More on that in a later post.)

Needless to say, I spent time talking. A lot. And reflecting. A lot. And processing. A lot. I took some time to reset. To listen. To learn.

Here are five things I learned from taking some much needed time to reset in therapy:

People grow and change and evolve over time. And that’s quite fine.
“I’m really unhappy with my life right now and, honestly, I feel guilty for even saying that out loud.” That was one of the first things I said to my therapist when I sat down in her office. After a little probing and processing, I discovered that since I worked so hard to create this life, I feel like I should bask in it, appreciate it, and work to sustain it. I mean, I put in the hours. I did the work. I went to grad school. I pushed and pressed and I got my dreams. So I should enjoy it now, right?

For the most part, I do. But I’m at the point in my life where I’m working towards the next step… in my career, with how I’m reaching folks through my blogging, with where I’m choosing to live and raise my babies. The next step… period. I created this life, yes. But now there’s a space between what I’ve created and where I want to go. And that’s okay. I don’t have to feel guilty about that.

It’s time for me to grow. I receive that.

Activate your village
Growing and learning and slaying in life and love and my career is village work. Caring for my babies and raising them up to be thoughtful, kind, curious, and smart and productive members of society is village work. There’s really no way around it. I’ve been through the “Do it all by myself” phase, and real talk: it ain’t where’s it’s at. Just as I can’t get to work on time without first dropping Aiden off at my girl’s house so she can walk him to school, I can’t grow and get from here to there with out activating my village and letting the folks who care love on my babies and me. I’m okay with that because it’s a sign of strength.

It’s okay to show people who you really are.
Before every therapy session, I would always do my hair, put on a nice outfit, and put on some make-up. Why? Because if I was getting ready to bare my soul and be all vulnerable and whatnot, then I could at least look put together going into the session. But that was just the armor that I used to show her how “put together” I was. Even when I felt like I was falling apart. Even when I was falling apart. But, you know what? Being perfect doesn’t stop folks from judging you – it just stops them seeing you. Like, really seeing you and getting to know the real you.

So just as I can bare it all out on this blog while hiding behind my keyboard, I’m learning to do that while standing in front of people. In real life. Because I deserve to have as many authentic relationships as I can take.

There really is a season for everything in life.
I just went through a season of standing still so that I can listen and learn, but because society tells us that something is wrong with us unless we’re always go, go, going somewhere, there were many times where I felt uncomfortable with where I was. But you know what? I was exactly where I was meant to be. Standing still. Listening. Learning. Waiting… until the time was right to make the next move.

And that was (is) quite fine.

Standing still is a pre-requisite to leveling up
After standing still, listening, and learning, it’ll be time to take what you’ve learned and level up. Just like one of my favorite quotes says, “What got you here won’t get you there.” When I first heard it, it hit my like a ton of bricks because there’s so much truth to it. In order to get to a new level, I need a new level of grace and grind, a new level of determination, a new strategy, and a way to press and push and go get my dreams. My new dreams.

I’m excited. It’s time for me to grow. It’s time for me to glow. I receive that.


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