I owe everything to a woman I thought was a fraud.
I’ve watched this well-known woman from afar for years. I didn’t necessarily believe in my gifts, but I didn’t believe in hers either. One day, I realized, if she can do it, I can do it, too.
And those five little words, I can do it, too, can change your life.
I remember the night my dreams started to manifest in the real world. It was last summer. My husband and I were slogging through the 105-degree nighttime air, walking our dog. The cloudy vision of greatness I had in my heart caught in my throat. The words wouldn’t come.
The vision seemed clear in the privacy of my home office, in front of my computer, in the huge stillness of my own head. Yet, when I began to talk about these hopes, the hugeness of them in comparison to the vastness of the world sank my spirit before it even left the ground. My dreams plummeted to no-man’s land like a stone falling through space off the rim of the Grand Canyon, making nary a sound. Nobody heard. Nobody cared.
The words leaving my mouth sounded ridiculous. The loud narrative in my head drowned out the soft-spoken words even before they left my lips. “Who do you think you are?”
As I struggled to explain my hopes to my husband, I realized why nothing was happening. If I couldn’t articulate my dreams to the man I hold most dear in the world, how could I possibly generate momentum in the world?
I couldn’t. I had to trust. I had to dig deeper. And this has been the journey all along.
Every time I’m about to break into the next level of my life, a little voice says, “Who do you think you are?”
It happened when I started to love myself. “Who do you think you are? You’re not skinny enough or pretty enough or successful enough. You’ve had a fucked up childhood and don’t even have many friends. You’ll never be good enough.”
And I looked my makeup-free face in the mirror, eyes overflowing with tears, and repeated, “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
And that day, I believed it. And then I cried some more for how long it took me to realize that my biggest problem in life was not that I had none of these things that I thought I wanted, but that I thought I could hate myself to happiness. No. Love comes first.
And when I started posting yoga pictures on Instagram everyday, that same voice shot me down. “Who do you think you are? You can’t do a handstand. Nobody wants to look at 800 variations of triangle pose. You don’t have a wardrobe full of cute leggings.”
But all I’d ever wanted was to put myself out into the world. I had a voice, I had things to say. I wanted to express myself. So I began posting my crappy pictures taken with my cell phone without even a tripod, and even though I thought all my captions were lame, I posted every day. I showed up.
And now, I’m about to go bigger and try to grow my blog in a massive way to achieve my dreams, and that same voice is creeping up. “Who do you think you are? Just because people on Instagram like what you have to say doesn’t mean anyone else will. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re going to try and fail and then you’ll be depressed and no options will be left.”
And that’s why we don’t put ourselves out into the world. There’s that inspiring quote about how we don’t put ourselves out there because we fear our own brilliance, but I personally don’t think that’s true. Inspiring, but I wish that were my problem.
It’s taken massive courage to put myself out there every day.
To keep going even when it seems like nothing is happening, when all my words, my heart, my hopes, my dreams, feel like that stone tumbling off the rim of the Grand Canyon.
But this is it. This is me. This is who I am. This is what I believe I’m supposed to be doing in the world. And what if the world doesn’t want me?
And then I look at that woman, the woman who I felt was a fraud. I’m not sure if she is. I’m sure she’s a very nice lady. But the lesson she taught me from afar will stay with me forever.
Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re always right. She’s really, really successful. I think I can do that, too.
How do you keep going? Share your tips in the comments below.