Right now I feel anticipation of what the new year may hold, what lies ahead. I am motivated and hopeful.
As the mother of three children who are now seven, six, and two, it has been a years-long journey of interrupted sleep. I do not do well with interrupted sleep. I like my sleep uninterrupted. But now that our youngest is two, we are entering the sweet stage of (usually) sleeping through the night. The more sleep I get, the more I begin to see small slivers of hope that I might reclaim some part of the old me. The me I was before I was a mom. The me who had time to dream, do, and create non-mom things. I want to take hold of this new-found hope and energy, and bottle it. I want to sip from it daily to keep me motivated so that I don’t slip back into comfortable excuses that I’m too tired or too busy.
For years I have had a secret desire to write, but many things have held me back. One of my biggest perceived obstacles is that I have no formal training in writing. I spent my college years getting engineering and business degrees so I could be self-sufficient and successful. I never considered studying and doing something that I loved. I never realized that the definition of success could mean doing something that you loved. It wasn’t that I was suppressing my secret longing to do something different. Rather, I never really considered what it is that I might enjoy, let alone love, doing.
It’s just now, in my forties, that I’m taking the time to figure that out and make some changes. Yet I have a lot of fear. It’s held me back for years. Fear that I might not have talent, fear that I might not have anything worth saying, and fear that I might offend someone along the way. But the worldwide response to the terrorist attacks against Charlie Hebdo in Paris has given me encouragement that most of the world values expression of many kinds. I refuse to let fear win. As Jon Acuff’s book title says, I want to Punch Fear in the Face. I don’t want to be living in this same cloud of fear ten, twenty, or thirty years down the road. I want to seize the life I have been given and be brave and courageous enough to try new things. I want to fail rather than to never try at all.
So it resounded with me when I heard this TED talk from researcher Angela Duckworth. She had done years of research to determine the greatest predictor of success in life. Was it high IQ? Good looks? Abundant resources? Family connections? Nope. It was grit—the passion, perseverance, and stamina to see your dreams become reality.
What I’ve come to realize is that the only thing holding me back is myself. I am extremely fortunate to have an education, resources that allow me to stay at home with my kids, and many loving, supportive, and encouraging friends. There is no better platform from which to expand my horizons. So I commit to press onward, try new things, expect mistakes and setbacks, and hope in the transformation that will take place along the way.
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” Mary Anne Radmacher
What resolutions are you making this year? What fears are holding you back from doing what you love? What area of your life might benefit from having more grit?