Sitting on the couch this morning, snuggled under a blanket with my daughter, laptop on my lap, she was getting upset with me because every time she needed something I was jumping up to get it for her. She’s eight so her legs work just as well as mine and she can easily grab the glass of water she wants, grapes, and tissue for a running nose. In utmost frustration, she looked at me and said, “why do I have to do everything while you just sit there?!”. Imagine my half-smile as I found this to be slightly humorous, yet equally intrigued that she thinks my role in life is to serve her every whim. Knowing this is typical of a kid, I decided this was a great teaching moment. So, I shared two things with her; 1. These are all things that you want or need for yourself, and you are more than capable of getting them, and 2. Your mom is busy writing - I am thinking of writing a second book.
After she realized my role in life is not to satisfy her every whim, I asked her, “do you think I should write another book?” Her angelic response: "No. Well, you should, but it’s going to be hard for you." Interesting. Of course it’s going to be hard, but most things that are worth doing are. Writing a book, yep, I can attest to this and it’s hard. Raising your hand in school when you are shy? That’s hard, and brave. Asking someone to play with you on the playground, to sit with you at lunch or on the school bus? Also hard. Taking a bus downtown to start a new job? Scary and hard. Speaking out against something that you see is wrong? Definitely hard. Sometimes the things most worth doing are the hardest. It’s a lot easier to just sit back, or in the case, get up and grab whatever it is she’s asked for this time. But, I know that won’t serve me in the long run. It also won’t serve her. Her comment made me wonder who has told her she shouldn’t do something because it’s hard. Is it because she has experienced failure already and knows that it’s scary to put yourself out there? Or, is she being conditioned in some way to believe that she shouldn’t do hard things, because, well, they are hard. Some of the hardest things I’ve ever done have also been the most rewarding. Having kids and parenting is no easy road, but being a mom is one of the most profound and meaningful experiences I’ve ever had. Building a business and having faith that you are going to have enough money to pay the bills - and your employees - has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. Yet, I wouldn’t change either of these things as they’ve helped me grow and give of myself in ways that are meaningful beyond belief. Hiding from the hard things in our life keeps us from living up to our fullest potential. It keeps us from blossoming into who we are meant to be. It also keeps us safe from criticism, failure, and disappointment. But, if we never know failure it is unlikely we will ever truly experience success. As Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve failed over and over again. And that is why I succeed.” Learn to celebrate your failures as you do your successes. It might help to remind yourself that your failures are simply the path to greatness. Every time you get back up and do the hard work, you are opening yourself up to your true dharma, or life’s purpose. And, when you are living your dharma, life couldn’t be anymore rewarding and beautiful. How are you failing in your life this week? Can you celebrate your failures as much as you do your success?