Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Posts tagged ‘failure’

When Your Vibration is in the Cellar: Baby Steps Are Key

When Life Kicks You to the Curb

https://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/8156999698/in/photolist-dqNKPQ-8xXrZz-a2tqF7-ecib3q-aR5rxR-23UMduh-aWLsg4-aQ6X3p-dTTc5c-dcyQ5m-b1FLUp-drS8ZF-bsmN5R-nNhBzE-6ssEeg-9jEcfZ-aVXtzx-j6LK2o-aNpZyT-dCTfD3-dvswdt-b3pgdi-dtXu4B-6LJawW-8CFHEg-8aL7Jf-hDdmuC-anA578-cPoDxo-9qmjuQ-dtXueV-qsdJSm-dqq1i2-2cGG4pp-dqq1sP-hp14Hw-cbnjHE-7bv7xs-chavXC-7uLgNT-8E3GL9-ar7X3y-aai6ME-nt1LXG-gZvg1N-S1DgTf-8kUop7-6532HD-exeWcJ-di6ynQThe last month has been trying on pretty much every level; mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially. You name it, and I’ve taken a hit directly or indirectly. I’ve shed buckets of tears, though primarily in the privacy of my own home with the cats my only comfort.

That isn’t to say friends haven’t reached out, because they have—in huge and unanticipated ways. Some tell me I’ve been there for them, yet I can’t see it from my vantage point, any more than I’ve recognized, when a man was interested (not that it’s happened lately anyway. I travel in a world that tends to be weighted in favor of men).

The Games People Play

It makes me wonder where else I’ve had tunnel vision, oblivious to what’s right in front of my face. I suspect my long, unsatisfying foray into the Corporate world is one. I never learned to play the games, and found myself cast as the unwitting bad guy, or even buffoon on far too many occasions. Granted, some of that was because I didn’t allow myself to connect with co-workers or staff. But most of it was because I never learned the rules for office politics. Frankly, I never wanted to. I don’t like politics in general, and have always believed they don’t belong in an office.

It seems a bit ironic really. People go to work for a company, contributing to the company’s success, yet believe they need to go to extremes to assure their own success. How much personal success can you really claim when the ultimate recipient is owners or stockholders. You get what they’re willing to give you, and nothing more.

The Rocky, Peril-Infused Road to Success

Yes, the road to personal success is difficult and fraught with peril more often than not. In the end, both https://www.flickr.com/photos/nhoulihan/4038592452/in/photolist-79SQQm-TfUffd-pgu9hJ-qfYXYE-pDVWDB-6UQgZM-KFog6C-TFYhqd-29TMHM-fP6i28-j73ZT5-atsnGd-C4HxXs-5eRdT5-YoKVff-24PBcMS-28G1ckh-AqrzL-haocsM-o1RCfj-4iigfF-6hbQxG-TCfZem-qVx4n8-U63bC7-dCTxQg-amkKyF-eiY1qF-Ct5hqm-hSGXpV-BcaCh-8c2bVB-27RWaS2-eQjYy1-cJWTgw-ehKQWJ-AJSt63-ay4RXc-cxa1zW-UFe9Vq-aC3EP1-pkL1fr-ehKSrs-qxMMJj-bvMGyV-VG1fkR-ay4Sgv-aDNaMx-aE1tNY-h7171rthe successes and failures are your own. You get to keep the lessons for the failures without having someone else’s castigation added to the mix. When you fall on your face, it’s only you who has to get up, dust yourself off, look at what didn’t work, and try again with the new insight you’ve gained.

At the moment, I feel like I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, but I have no one to blame but myself. I’ve succeeded at a few things, though, and am proud of those successes. Those, too are on me alone.

From the failures I’ve learned to reach out and ask for help because I don’t know everything about everything. There are areas where my experience and talent is decidedly lacking. Those areas give me the opportunity to network and develop new relationships.

The successes teach me what I have to offer to others; where I can offer to help them with their own gaps in experience. But most of all, they teach me more about connecting.

Creeping Slowly Out of My Hermit’s Hut

https://www.flickr.com/photos/binnyva/14856573264/in/photolist-oCPPCU-8f1nit-kNH87E-8rNdoG-6KCefX-9Bgqr6-Yi8x7C-XC2S6P-56Q2W-Vh4pvh-32EGJ7-M1eaS-ptvU3v-9Awj7L-wKmp31-8AvCj7-7bqtC-a5fJwH-kNFH9k-9G6tXM-24uVDRG-dDd9qu-Kwohct-Urtf8U-YDnn4J-6omdkQ-Dsesvd-puLasy-24vk2io-ktRkX-bbbDnP-pGjrym-4BEGNG-5jHBoS-5uRazj-9G9pbW-HcTbbD-a5ixA3-289TB1G-a5fHdv-i6HTk-4nHJbV-92qx88-smAuU2-WRJBho-7fLn3G-QENbeM-XS7dj9-kdP5rm-7f3qBEI’ve used the excuse: “I’m a writer and an introvert. I’m better off working alone” far too many times. I recognize it’s an excuse to be a hermit. Even more, I’m learning I don’t want to be a hermit all the time. I want to be around people and be part of a community. I want to let people see that I succeed sometimes and fail others, just like them. Besides, being a perpetual hermit is extremely unhealthy. Far too many psychopaths live in that world. I’d rather not be looked at through the same glass as someone whose moral compass hasn’t pointed to true North in a very long time, if ever.

I’ve learned to recognize when my sunny disposition has gone astray. Signs like negativity, judgemental-ism, excessive self-criticism, and even lousy eating habits show me clearly when my mood has taken a trip to the dark side. The years I spent wallowing in self-pity, angry at the world, and in an undiagnosed state of depression come back to haunt me. Yet they also scare me into making changes, reaching out to friends, or getting out of the house whether I want to or not.

Changing Perspective

So far this week, I’ve gone to the gym after first talking myself out of going, spent an evening dancing Created with Canvaafter trying to convince myself I shouldn’t share my sad state with others, and reached a saturation point with Hallmark movies. The last one, alone has pushed me a little ways out of my funk to get a few things done I’d been avoiding for ages. I’d convinced myself once again that I wasn’t worthy, lacked the necessary experience, and didn’t want to do those things anyway.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of perspective. We look at the things we accomplish as nothing special. We convince ourselves out accomplishments are no better than anyone else’s. We deny our part in making the world a better place. Or we minimize our contributions by treating them as commonplace acts performed by everyone.

Showing Up

There’s a time and a place to call “bullshit” on ourselves. I found mine when a friend knocked on my door on a cold, rainy night with a container of split pea soup. Her simple act reminded me how much my own simple acts mean to others. I realized it isn’t so much the what as it is the doing in the first place. Showing up is often the greatest gift of all, both for the giver and the receiver.

Over the years, I learned the climb from abject depression to joy is a long one, and isn’t accomplished in gigantic leaps while yanking on your bootstraps. It’s accomplished one step at a time, and often one backwards for every two forward. It’s easier to take 100 baby steps than it is sometimes to take one giant leap. In the time we gear ourselves up to take that giant leap, we could have already been there by putting one foot in front of the other, testing the ground with each step, and asking for help over the tougher spots.

Raising My Vibration A Baby Step at a Time

I may be in a bad place personally, financially, even professionally at the moment. I’m trying to get out of it, but my vibration is in the toilet. With each baby step I take; each proffered hand I accept, I leave the darkness a little further behind. The darkness is no longer the friend it once deceived me into believing. Instead, I reach towards the sunshine, the light of friendship, love, caring, and sharing.

The friends who show they care in so many ways are making the baby steps bigger by reinforcing the ground I walk on. I still have a long way to go, but knowing I don’t have to go there alone keeps me putting one foot in front of the other a lot more easily and readily these days.

A Heart Filled With Gratitude Vibrates on a Higher Level

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who have made the effort to get to know the real me.
  2. I am grateful for changes in perspective.
  3. I am grateful for baby steps.
  4. I am grateful for clear, sunny days when the wind finally dies down.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; emotional, spiritual, mental, health, connection, inspiration, love, motivation, opportunities, challenges, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward.

Fear of Exposure: Do We Avoid Success Because We’re Afraid We Can’t Deliver?

Repetitive Failure is a Pattern That Can Be Broken

Whenever I find myself stuck at some point in my life, I tend to take a step back and try to figure out what is blocking my forward progress. In other words, I sift through what held me back in a similar fashion before.

At this point, with a career move that is clearly not going as I’d envisioned, I’ve spent considerable time dredging through my mental file cabinets for answers. Answers because no matter how dire my circumstances became, I always found a way out of them. Perhaps the direction I found wasn’t optimal but it always got me moving forward again.

What I’ve dredged up this time, however,  is a deep and hoary mess. It seems I’m hindered by something from my childhood, a time when I first started believing I wasn’t good enough. Of course I didn’t come up with the idea all by myself. The truth is I consistently disappointed my mom. I didn’t have musical talent like my sister. I was socially awkward like so many introverts so her dream of having a popular child to live through was quashed. I was slightly overweight, though to hear her tell it, I was morbidly obese. Eventually I just stopped trying to please her.

Though I was accepted by the two local universities I applied to, I just managed to get by and it wasn’t until years later that I finally earned my bachelors degree in a field far different from where I started.

Fast forward to today. I’ve spent the last 4 years and most of my financial resources trying to create a new career path doing what I love, but I seem to just be shooting myself in the foot. Now, I feel I’m being forced to fall back on what I knew and fell into all those years ago.

Rooting Out the Troublemakers With Vulnerability

So what’s the underlying problem, you might ask?

Despite over a million words I’ve written in the last few years both online and for my own writing projects, I haven’t been published anywhere that’s considered a reputable source. Not only to myself but to the world in general, I’m still a disappointment; a fraud. I haven’t stopped living down to the expectations I set when I gave up on ever making my mom proud.

I know on a conscious level that it’s all crap; that I’m smart and talented and insightful. But that inner voice, despite my best efforts is stopping me in my tracks. Whenever I try to grow past my limitations it calls me out for the fraud it still needs me to be. The question is, how do I put that nasty, destructive, hypercritical, and above all, wrong voice to rest for good and actually start living up to my potential rather than down to my old, outdated expectations?

I believe the most important part, albeit the hardest is to let my vulnerability show. I’m used to making it on my own, taking care of myself, and being strong. But I’m learning (through my writing, of course) that being strong is a concept I’ve misunderstood most of my life. It isn’t about doing everything yourself and holding the world at arm’s length. It’s not about wearing a facade that says everything is hunky dory when it isn’t anything of the sort.

Misconceptions About Strength

Being strong is a willingness to ask for help. It’s not being afraid to let people see that you can’t do it all by yourself. And it’s definitely not crawling deep into your cave, and pulling the door closed behind you when fear is crushing you and tears are too close to the surface for comfort.

Strength lies instead in sharing your fears and accepting comfort. It’s in letting people help you find a way out of your latest abyss. Most of all, it’s being willing to admit that you are not an island in and of yourself and that not only can you give comfort and support, but you can receive it as well.

This was one of my most difficult lessons. I always saw my dad as the strong one and my mom as the weak one. But as I’ve written my million or so words, I’ve had many epiphanies. The most surprising was the realization that the strong one in my parents’ relationship was actually the one who seemed the weakest. Mom may have worn a lot of masks, but she also knew how to ask for help from her friends, at least on certain levels. She did, on occasion let people see her vulnerable side. To my knowledge, Dad kept his well-hidden about 98% of the time.

Being Strong and Fearless As I Was Meant to Be

Admittedly, I’m still learning this lesson. Last night, my friend Kristal told me to be strong, and I said I didn’t feel strong at all. But she’s right. In letting her and other friends see me when I’m losing control instead of hiding until I can keep my false front in place, I’m exhibiting the strength I’m finally realizing. And where better to learn it than from a fellow dancer. We’re at our best when we put everything we have out on the floor. I guess this is true of most creatives; singers, writers, artists—we do our best work when we’re transparent and let all the crazy, messy emotions come out in our art.

I feel right now like I have a long way to go to climb out of the hole which is mostly of my own creation and a lot more tears to shed in the process. But I am also embracing this new version of strength which is so much more fulfilling than the version I used to embrace.

Finding Gratitude in the Everyday

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned which taught me a much better definition of strength.
  2. I am grateful for the friends I’ve made since I broke the hard shell in which I’ve been encased and merely existing for decades.
  3. I am grateful for the tears which flow so easily right now. They are cleansing and cathartic, even if a bit embarrassing.
  4. I am grateful for my dance friends who have taught and given me so much more than I can ever repay. (and this is all friends who dance, not just the ones I dance with. Something about dancers; they understand the unspoken and give so much!)
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, words, inspiration, motivation, agitation, upheaval, strength, growth, success, freedom, well-paying clients, imagination, dreams, love, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Today I share an extremely open and emotional post from An Upturned Soul

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

3 Years: Taking Stock

Looking Back: What I Planned vs. Where I Actually Am

In less than a week it will be 3 years since I quit my accounting job to be a writer. Though I’ve earned a bit of money, it hasn’t been nearly enough to stop my financial resources from bleeding out at a frightening rate. And most of the earnings have been made by doing what I left; accounting work.

So what went wrong?

For starters, I’ve let fear coupled with laziness and overlaid with procrastination halt my progress. Though I’ve started several projects,, both in writing and self-improvement, my follow-through is lacking. I have 3 unfinished novels, the self-help/memoir I began in 2009 awaiting completion and the children’s book I started 25 years ago, also begging for attention. I’ve published one short story on a blog hop. And that’s it. That’s all I have to show for 3 years of supposed writing efforts. The trouble is, too much of that 3 years has been spent doing anything but writing or pitching or preparing to publish.

Facing Some Difficult Choices

So where do I go from here? I realized this morning that I have but a few months left before I either have to start selling my stock, or get a real job again, which will be challenging simply because I’ve aged another 3 years and am, for the most part, an undesirable new employee in an environment full of new graduates and fresh ideas.

I’m forced to take a good, hard look at myself, my motivation, and the likelihood I’ll actually achieve those lofty goals I set when I was 10.

Can I achieve those goals? I’d have to say yes.

Do I have what it takes to actually go after them so I can achieve them? On this one, I’m uncertain.

Am I willing to give them up right now? This one gets a definite no. I am not ready to give up, but I’m going to have to commit to acting like a writer each and every day. I have to commit to writing that outline, to perfecting that pitch, to throwing my work under the bus wheels of my critique group, and really listen to what they have to say. Most of all, I have to accept the fact that there will be rejections, and thicken my skin some more.

Keeping it all in Perspective

Nothing I hear or see is personal. I know that on a conscious level, but will future rejections, or worse, being ignored, shake or even shatter my resolve?

Only if I allow it, I know that. But what makes me believe I’m strong enough to keep from being overcome? What makes me think I’m strong enough, when an entire nation was just overrun by greed, bigotry, corruption, and hate?

Do I even still believe I deserve to succeed?

I’ve been telling myself for awhile that there’s enough to go around; enough for everyone. And yet, publishers reject at least 99 out of 100 manuscripts. They probably don’t even read thousands more. I’m having huge doubts about being able to stand out from the crowd these days. I’m allowing myself to give up before I’ve even tried because I’m feeling average; ordinary; unremarkable.

Time to Sink or Swim, Fish or Cut Bait

3 years is a long time to tread water, and at the rate I’m going, it won’t be long before I start to sink. Yet, I know I’m the only one who can truly prevent that, either by becoming a stronger swimmer or by building a boat.

Boards are my words, the tools, my imagination and persistence. Both have been at a low ebb lately. In fact, for the entire month of November, I wrote very little. For the first time, I started NaNo and failed to follow through after the first couple of days, the first couple of thousand words.

Friends: My Lighthouse in the Storm

I’m questioning whether sticking with my critique group is in my best interests, when in reality, I’m doubting my value to the group far more. light-of-love-and-joy

In my moment of deep despair, a friend sent me a Facebook message which couldn’t have come at a better time. It only proves something I often forget. Love and inspiration will always be there for me when I need it most. I simply have to open my heart and my mind and accept the gifts.

I see that encouragement like this which always comes at the right time is what has kept me going for the last 3 years. If I give up, not only do I let myself down, but also so many who have offered love, support, and encouragement while I’ve struggled to find my path. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve changed directions once too often already, but I still have time to get myself back on track. I still have time and resources to keep from failing myself.

Starting Over: A Little Wiser and a Whole Lot Humbler

So today, I start outlining Forgotten Victims so I’ll have an outline ready when I narrow down my prospective publishers. Today, I start to organize the years of random thoughts and feelings, the advice I give others who’ve lost a family member to suicide.

Today is my new beginning.

Above All, Remembering to be Grateful

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for friends who know just when to encourage and just when to kick my butt.
  2. I am grateful for my writing which never fails to help me sort things out.
  3. I am grateful for the last 3 years. I’ve found myself, lost myself and found myself again, but have learned that I still have a lot to discover.
  4. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my struggles and help others with theirs.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, self-sufficiency, opportunity, hope, dreams, faith, peace, harmony, philanthropy, success, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo credit: Dawn Huczek via Flickr

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