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On falling down and getting up again

We all struggle, right? We dream and we doubt, we try and we fail, we go bushwacking and sometimes we fall down right in the middle of the swamp.

Partway through his first year as an entreprenuer, my husband discovered this graph and sent it on to me. He wanted me to see that the peaks and valleys we’d been going through were totally normal. That vacillating between euphoria and “crisis of meaning” is characteristic of life as an entrepreneur.

I looked at that chart and I saw the pattern that any dreamer, any creative person, anyone who is living a life off the beaten path will experience. Sometimes things are good; you’re in the state of flow and possibilities appear to be opening up on every side like magnolia blossoms in May. Other times it feels like you’re the only person in the world who had the audacity and foolishness to write a parenting book when it’s painfully obvious you know nothing at all about effective, positive parenting.

walking beside a forest stream

You know what I’ve learned about falling down in the swamp? Just get up. Get up as quick as you can. Continue walking. You’ll be wet and muddy and uncomfortable for a while, yes. But eventually your pants will dry and you will get home and have the chance to pour the bog water out of your boots.

Just get up? How? Listen to that thought, the one that tells you you’re ugly or horrible or failing or not trying hard enough or it would never work out anyway. Hear that thought and then LET IT GO. You don’t have to force it to go or shove it under the rug. Just let it go like you’d release a heavy bag from your hand. If you notice your mind squirreling away after it again, let it go again. Notice it, and let it go. Again, and again, and again. Keep your eye on where you want to go.

Yes, changes may be necessary. You’ll probably want to learn some new habits. Start small, and change one thing at a time. Even if many, many things are in need of change, work on only one thing at a time. Let the momentum of small, achievable successes sweep you onwards.

This is as much a pep talk for myself as it is a pep talk for everyone else out there. I am humbled by how often I need to relearn the things I think I already know.

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