Friday, September 6, 2013

A Word of Encouragement - An Editorial

I really want to help you with your anxiety, the fear you have of failure, and the sadness you embrace when you don't quite meet your greatest goals. I feel the angst in so many lives that are part of my world, so I write this generically.

Each of you have special gifts. Your talents are yours. You can do something tremendous, something no one else can do, and you're the only one who can tell us what that is sometimes. I see it in you. I ask you to take a deep breath and look at yourself in the mirror and recognize that amazing man or woman you're looking at as someone who's gifts and creativity and spirit and heart is a valuable person. You don't need someone else to tell you this. You are the author of your destiny and you are the only one who can tell you that you have value.

I understand the passionate desire to win. I know competition. I think it's healthy to compete at times because it makes all of us better at whatever it is we love to do. I also understand how frustrated or truly sad you might get when you do not come in first place. The thing is, there is only ever 1 first place in any event.

When you pour your heart into something like a contest, and give it all you have, and you can look in the mirror and see that you've done everything in your power to make this thing work, then there is no way you've let yourself down or anyone else. We can only ever give 100%. I know sometimes I have a strong point of view and invest a great deal of energy and my 100% really influences my world. At other times, I'm weaker, dealing with health issues, and my 100% is miniscule. If you're driven, zealous, and pour everything you have into something, it's admirable and something in which you should feel pride.

I think of the young people who grow up with a dream to be an Olympic champion and then I realize that there is only one gold medal per sport, and there are literally millions of young people who want that single gold medal. Only one will win it and everyone else will fall short. From my vantage point, I would celebrate the victory they had in their life to be dedicated, to be passionate, and to work towards a dream. I would see that though a gold medal around their throat would be a symbol of ultra perfection, the lack of it would not mean failure. I celebrate their tenacity. I personally think it would be nuts to get up every morning at 3:45 a.m. to skate before classes, then come home from classes and go skate another 4 hours, do home work and drop in to bed. This is what thousands of skaters do to reach their goal. And every year, the pool of people who compete in their sport changes. New competitors age into the sport. It's a process of evolution that happens constantly.

I admire you who have poured your heart into creating a name for yourself, building a career for yourself, and making your 'self' be the brand you sell well. I think highly of your determination and the number of classes you've attended, and how you've studied journals and watched fashion shows, and invested everything you could, your 100%, into your dream of making it big. If you're enjoying the journey, maybe it's easier to deal with the hard reality that even your 100% might not be enough this year, and might not earn you the gold medal. You might not even get selected to travel with the team. If you're not enjoying the journey anymore, I encourage you to really analyze this and acknowledge that whatever goal you've set has become like a virus in your system, stealing your joy, turning you into a person whom you do not recognize. While I admire you for your determination, I worry for you when I see such overwhelming sadness and disappointment when you don't make the cut, get on the team, travel on the bus and win the gold medal.

I know there are many of you who've set out to complete a certain challenge. Some of you have been working towards that goal for years now. Not weeks or months, but years. Years. I also know that some of you have seen new faces, new kids on the block, skipping ahead of you in line. It feels unfair. I think it might be how the star ballerina in troupe of dancers might feel when forced to deal with a new upstart appear on the scene, a younger, prettier, lithe version of herself, someone she might have been 5 years ago or 10. Now she knows that the days are short. She will be replaced. It hurts. You've wanted to achieve this goal so badly. You've spent money. You've spent time. You've done everything everyone suggested you do and you still didn't place, and you know that there's no chance this year for you to win that gold medal.

If your sadness begins to overwhelm you, creating real world illness from the anxiety you experience in this process, please figure out how to take a half step back. Whether it's a gold medal or a 1st place award on a painting you've submitted that you really really crave, NOT getting those really can't be the end of the world. On a psychological note, depression is anger turned inwards. Please stop putting yourself through this rigorous process if you're not feeling a sense of balance. The contests will be here when you have found your balance and are ready to return. The people may change. The names may change. The opportunities may shift slightly. But at heart, the basics remain the same, year after year.

Tomorrow is the last live audition for this year's Miss Virtual World 2014. Some of you have wanted to earn a place in the MVW group for 4 years now. You never had your photo chosen? You've never been asked to the live audition? You've never had a chance to represent a country? You've never made the top 12? These things do not define you. The most genuine beauty shines when life is tough, not what we expected, and we can still smile. Take a deep breath and give your 100%. You're in good company. Men and women from all around the world seek the same exact goal, and they too are afraid. They too feel a deep sense of loss when they didn't get the top spot. I encourage you though; embrace the good in this experience. If you aren't in this year's final group after tomorrow comes and goes, then you're ready to spend the next year ahead of us trying more, learning more so your 100% next year is much greater than the 100% you knew how to give this year.
Give yourself permission to accept the best you can offer exactly as it is. It's your very best. If you have left all you had to offer on the table, and given every part of your heart and spirit to this goal, you have not failed. Remind yourself that there is only 1 winner. There are only a few slots each year set aside for competitors who represent various countries. Everyone else must wait for a new year, and a new chance.

Blessings and hope to you all. I encourage you from the depth of my soul to find the joy in the experience regardless the outcome. Lean on friends you trust and know love you no matter what and share your tears. Every emotion you feel is normal, natural, warranted. No one can take that emotion from you or make you feel badly for feeling it. Once you've had your moment, a good cry, a long talk with someone who cares, and you've vented your frustration, dry your eyes, smile and decide what's next.

You will only ever have your 100% to offer. If you're doing that, then you're an amazing person, brave to put yourself out there like that, vulnerable, willing to face the fact you might not be chosen. Good luck in your experience tomorrow. One lady from South Carolina wishes the best for each of you. 

1 comment:

  1. Well said Caryn! Dealing with disappointment is difficult if not devastating for many people. I hope your words reach those that need to hear this message today. Thank you.