I'm Terrified of Success
That's a terrible thought isn't it? Everyone wants success. It's like top 5 on 98% of the human race's dream list and 100% of the space on our vision boards. Still, I'm terrified of it. Not necessarily in the paralyzed-by-fear way, but more of an analysis paralysis.
My first job out of undergrad was a teacher and ironically it was the one profession I publicly disavowed on numerous occasions growing up. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to teach. Not because it wasn't a noble profession, but because even I could see teachers didn't get the credit or support they deserved. Why would I ever want to sign up to be the underdog?
Still, all those well-crafted email blasts and campaigns about changing lives got to me. (Blast!) So after college I staved off corporate America for the just and valiant path--education.
So there I was, fresh out of college taking everyone's charge to change the world literally... and I absolutely loved it. It was just the challenge and reward I needed to feel connected to change, empowered to make a difference and see my impact almost instantaneously. I'd hit the millennial lotto.
My first year exceeded my (and probably everyone in my school's) expectations. There was no way statistically I should have seen the gains in my classroom that I did and I definitely wasn't supposed to have the type of respect and trust from my students and peers by standards of a first year teacher (with 0 yrs of classroom experience), but I did. It took lots of 10-13 hr work days and a lot of support from my school leadership/veteran teachers, but I can confidently say I rocked it.
Let's pause here: Sometimes it feels strange to share these types of wins without coming off as prideful so I have to share the real reason behind my success. Yup, you guessed it-- the Good Lord. And not only was it success in the classroom, but it was a personal lesson that I was taught without a doubt: Trust God blindly.
Trust God blindly.
After my first year, I took the summer to reflect on how awesome God showed himself in my first year in the classroom. I also used it to catch up on some serious self care that I'd been neglecting throughout the year and actually enjoyed my summer off. I was hoping the travel and visits with family and friends would be enough to take me through the next school year, but God had other plans...
When school started back that fall and thing started to ramp back up, my body rebelled viciously. The jump back into those high levels of stress caused both physical and mental revolt and-- in being transparent-- my whole body shut down and I lost. I tried for the rest of the school year to try to get it back in order with little success and ultimately resigned two months before summer break.
Now I know some of you will say, "But you were so close!" "Couldn't you have pushed through?" And the answer is yes. I could have, but by not 'sticking to it' I was actually listening to God's aspirations for me and not my own. I know this for a fact because within 5 days of resigned, I had another job offer at an amazing non profit AND a few months later (while working at that amazing non profit) I got my acceptance letter into fully-funded MBA and internship program from a company I work for today.
See, while my body and mind may have rebelled, my spirit had other plans. I was able to do a lot of soul searching during my "down time" (and by "down time" I mean during the time I felt my lowest) and I learned one of the biggest lessons of my life- do what God-- not good-- tells you to do!
Although I had good, if not the best intentions for going into education and I experienced success while at it, it wasn't God's plan for me to stay there.
The point is, it was meant for me to fail at my first job. God had to push me out and show me that His thoughts are not my thoughts. That the very career I ruled out in corporate America, was the very path He intended for me to take... and I'm so thankful for it.
Looking back on it I think I was terrified of success. Terrified of the added pressure to beat my last gain or always be on your p's and q's, bu these hesitations paled in comparison to why I was really terrified of success-- the increased risk of failure.
Like most of us, when we feel at our highest we sometimes are secretly waiting for the other shoe to drop. To which I say, throw that shoe down, put your foot in it and start running because valleys lead to summits and your "failure" may very well be how God leads you to your success.
Happy failing! ;)