This week, I have struggled. Big time. There have been no disasters, and in the scheme of life, my woes are small. I have a happy marriage, healthy children, a beautiful home, and food on the table. I am grateful for all that I have but I felt like a failure this week. There have been tears, anger, and a feeling like I am treading water or barely staying afloat.
It started when I stood on the scales to weigh myself. Gah! I am participating in the Michelle Bridges 12 week challenge, and I have followed it to the letter. I have worked out every morning, and enjoyed the healthy menu. However, over the last 3 weeks I have only lost 600 grams in total, and last week I didn’t lose any weight. Not even a point of something. I was devastated. The tears flowed, and I stood almost paralyzed looking at the same ugly number on the scales. Then I sighed, jumped off the scales, and went to do my workout for the day. I didn’t enjoy it. I just did it. I cried on and off all day. I fluctuated between rational thought, and very emotional thoughts. It was a long day. The next day, my emotions were a little more stable. The workout was ticked off my to-do list. Again, I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, I swore at the video out of frustration with my lack of coördination. But I did it, and I realized I didn’t need to enjoy it. I just had to do it.
On top of this, my photography business is stagnant. I really want to run a profitable business, and it was a personal goal when we moved to Sydney. I have been busy with the beauty of motherhood project . It is filling my heart with joy, and I have met beautiful Mothers and their children. But the business is not bringing in money. I work hard at my photography. I have won awards, and receive lots of beautiful comments. I have advertised, and marketed, and still my page sits at the bottom of google. I am not achieving this goal that I set myself. I feel like a failure.
As luck would have it, I had a brunch date with my husband on Friday. Over poached eggs and fruit salad, he asked me how I was doing after my bumpy week. We talked my feelings of failure. He gave me lots of encouragement with my weight goals, and said my body shape was changing. He said that it might not be reflected on the scales, but I look healthier in my skin and face. He then said something that made me pause. He reminded me that I was looking at the end goal, and I had not reached this point yet. He said I am working hard to reach my goals, and eventually I will get there. I can give up now, and let these feelings of failure overwhelm me or I can keep trying. He also reminded me that I have moved the goal posts with my photography journey. When I started I wanted to capture emotion filled, graceful, and colourful images. My goal was to see the beauty in the ordinary, and create images that show connection and love. All of which I am achieving, with awards and features on many photography blogs. Somewhere along the way, I have started to measure my success as a photographer by dollars. My frustration about the business side was impacting my creativity, and creating these feelings of failure. Yep, he is a smart man.
In her book “Daring Greatly”, Brene Brown discusses hope. She says that hope isn’t an emotion but a way of thinking. It is a cognitive process that is a “combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities. Hope is Plan B”. I read this line at my children’s swimming lessons yesterday and I nearly cried all over again. I was missing hope, and focusing on “failure”. Clearly, I need to change my focus to hope and a “Plan B”, and let these feelings of failure wash away. I have my goals, and I have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, now all I need is to believe in my own abilities. I am half way up the mountain, and I need to pause to enjoy the view. I have not reached the top yet, but I believe in my ability to be a healthier version of me, and as a successful photographer. I need to be patient, and keep working hard. Something inside tells me to keep going, to keep moving forward. I am not giving up yet. And I hope that if you are dealing with feelings of failure that you create your plan of hope, and keep moving forward.