There’s this story about a woman who found two eggs. She was walking to the market to sell them thinking what she would do with the money she earned. First she would buy a cow, then she would sell the cow’s milk and with that money she would buy a bull. They would have calves, and soon she’d have a herd to use for both milk and meat. She would build a new house, and her children would have new shoes to go to school.
On her way to the market, she tripped on a rock and dropped the eggs.
I feel like that woman.
In the past few months I have had several opportunities that would’ve been game changing. In all of them, I was a finalist. I made it past the initial deluge of applicants; I was interviewed and wooed, made to feel special, my phone was always ringing, people were going to change their schedule to fit mine. I would be next to Oprah on her tour through Miami, I would be on a stage presenting a story, in a national television commercial, and part of a twelve women Board of Advisors in an initiative put forth by the two largest names in triathlon.
None of it happened. None.
So, would it have been enough to just make some scrambled eggs to share with my family instead of reaching for all these things only to drop the eggs at the end?
What is enough?
Bike Sebring, a twelve-hour race where you try to see how many miles you cover in that time period, is in two weeks. I’m not ready and yesterday was my last chance to get a long ride in. I needed to do at least one hundred miles.
I did eighty. I was on my own, it was windy, I was bored and my mind is not in a good happy place.
Is eighty enough?
When I focus on the negative, the negative grows.
There is drive in me that likes a challenge and thrives on its conquest. Fear of failure keeps me going; for example, that fear would normally help me finish yesterday’s missed twenty miles.
Maybe it’s because of these so-called “rejections” or because I am being beat-up in my cycling advocacy work after yet another drunk driving fatality. I don’t know. But my mind is questioning why I do these things to myself instead of pushing me to complete them. I want to retract, and lay underneath my covers. I want to stay there for a while. I want to hide.
What I do, what award I win or race I complete should not be what makes me enough. People agreeing with me, and liking me shouldn’t be my source of self. I can reach any level of achievement and still talk myself down. Feeling enough has to come from inside. This is just my ego unhappy with the beating it’s taken.
And I’ve learned a long time ago how to deal with it.
Joe described it best. There’s a train of negative thoughts and patterns that runs parallel to one of positive thoughts and patterns in my soul. Neither of them ever stop. I just choose which one to jump on, and rejections or these “failures” usually lead me to dive head first onto the train that leads to nowhere good.
I have to stop the train on its track and say WOAH. Wait a minute there.
It’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many you get up that counts.
To feel “enough” my trick is to make a gratitude list. Nothing lifts your sprits as much as being thankful.
I looked again at the opportunities I was given: Oprah, freaking Oprah! Women For Tri Board of Directors … those were big names selected. And here was little ole me, talking to these organizations as someone who was being considered. Shouldn’t I be honored they noticed me at all?
And then I rode eighty miles, the first twenty five on a computrainer and then round and round on a 3.25 mile loop. The wind was nuts but my body could’ve kept going, it was clearly my mind that wanted to stop because I am wallowing in self-pity. It wasn’t even five years ago that I could barely run a 5k.
Today my gratitude list is long, and so easy to write my typing can’t keep up with the same mind that couldn’t finish 100 miles yesterday: my health, family, Joe, boys, friends, ThumbsUp, all the people I have met. It goes on and on ….
When I focus on the positive, the positive grows.
I need to stop pressuring myself so much but instead put my head down and do the work. All I need to do is the next right thing, and as I move forward things will fall into place, new opportunities will come along and I will once again reach for them.
But I will reach them from a point of feeling confident. Knowing that whether you, or Oprah, or Ironman Triathlon recognize it or not, I am enough. And that will be my biggest victory!
So would scrambled eggs be enough for that women walking to the market with all her dreams in one basket? No it wouldn’t. She knew that. She was right to go to the market with the only two eggs she had. But next time she should focus on the road so she could see the rock that tripped her. Had she been looking down and focused on her next step, she might have made it to the market with her two eggs ready to start the next chapter of her life.