It was August, and an idea hit me, like lightning striking a lone tree on a hilltop. I would put on a women’s conference! And I’d do it in two months! After all, as one of my favorite authors, Jim Rohn, said: “The time to act is when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong.”
I gathered a team around me and we set out to bring that idea to life. The “Highly Effective Women’s” conference was set for October and all worked feverishly to make sure it happened.
Chapter nine of my newly completed book, Yes! I Said No! clearly spelled out the steps to “Dream Big; Think Small.” That was me, right? If I wrote it, I’d better practice it! This seminar would be a Joyce Myers, Christine Caine, Beth Moore event, all wrapped in one!
It was the week before the conference when the meltdown happened.
Like hot lava spilling out from an erupting volcano, disturbing thoughts burned my mind, leaving tears and hopelessness in their wake. “Who do you think you are to do this? You are definitely not those famous women you admire; you’re just the Great Pretender.”
You can’t entertain such thoughts without suffering severe side effects and I spent the day wallowing in self-pity and despair. The next day, however, the stern schoolmarm part of me stepped in, saying: “Get a grip, Barbra! You’re going to do this thing!” And I set out to do it, to complete the job. After the “Highly Effective Women’s Conference” was held in October, the participants, the team and I all declared it a success.
Why do I tell you this story? Because I bet I’m not the only one who has dreamed a dream that seemed too big to accomplish, not the only person who has doubted their ability to make it all the way to the goal line. Perhaps you too have heard the echoes of doubters from your past wickedly whispering in your ear, “You never finish what you start, you quitter!” I bet I’m not the only one who has ever felt those qualms of inadequacy; not the only one who has suffered a meltdown.
A few weeks after the conference, I was reflecting on what happened. Why on earth did I experience that day of panic? It had been a while since that happened, even though I remembered other times when such mind-attacks would put me in a depressive funk for weeks or maybe even months.
This truth then hit me – Even though I had had a bad day, I must be further from the volcano of self-doubt, insecurity and lack of confidence in myself. Yes, only one day of feeling discouraged equals progress for me!
When you encounter the inevitable setbacks, discouragement and doubts which beset purpose-driven people, instead of repeating a well-rehearsed mantra such as “well, I can’t do this,” look at the progress you’ve made. All too often we assume an “all or nothing” attitude. We look at things as black or white; success or failure. We need to recognize the shades of gray which represent progress.
I imagine if today you carefully measured the distance from your particular volcano of obstacles, you’d see yourself further down the road than you were years ago, months ago or even weeks ago. Because it’s a fact that if you keep getting up after you fall down, you are going to succeed. If you keep trying, you will learn and grow. And if in the process you have a meltdown, you will discover, as I did, that it wasn’t as bad and didn’t last as long as before. Keep on dreaming those dreams; continue taking action when the idea is hot!
Barbra Russell, MA, LPC