It didn't work out the way I wanted it to, in fact it went horribly wrong. Couldn't have gone worse! Today as I sat in front of my laptop anxiously waiting for my first webinar to begin, I thought I had done everything right. I promoted it plenty on social media and within my network, got the message out there for everyone to see. I made videos even, something I'm not fully comfortable with, to promote it and posted them on both LinkedIn and Facebook. Eventbrite told me there would be eight wonderful women showing up to talk about immunity to change, when humans resist change because of deeper underlying fears or assumptions they make about what will happen if they change, if their world changes. I was so excited. I have been practicing for days just to make sure the webinar went flawlessly. With 30 minutes to go, I met with my fellow co-leads to finalise logistics and to put us in the best headspace for what we were getting ready to do. We were so excited. With ten minutes to go, we put our intentions out into the world both for ourselves and our participants. Then with three minutes to go, we settled in for an amazing webinar and the beginning of our journey together as founders of a program dedicated to the professional and personal development of women working in STEM careers. This was our starting block. We were just waiting for the gun to go off.
But it never happened. The gun, a.k.a. the bell indicating someone had joined the webinar, never sounded. Not at the official start time, not five minutes after, not 15, not 30. Not one of our eight wonderful women dialed into the webinar. Finally, at 40 minutes into our 60-minute webinar, we called it. We had failed… epically.
Or had we?
It sure did feel like it as the minutes ticked by with no one joining our session. But as we discussed with each other in the solitude of our own making, we found things to celebrate and lessons to learn about what we had done and where we were at. We made a game plan for moving forward and vowed to keep persisting with our plan. We would try again… and again… and again… until we got it right. Then we wished each other an amazing rest of the day and closed the webinar.
However, now, several hours later after dinner and some time to reflect, I find myself sitting on a knife edge. The knife edge between living in the land of my inner leader and living in the land of my saboteur. A saboteur is your inner critic, the voice that completes this sentence, “You’re not _____.” Mine says things like “You’re not a business person. Who are you to start your own business?” “You’re not great at marketing and sales, it’s too right-brained. No wonder this failed.” “You’re a crap coach, you should go back to engineering where you belong.” The list of things my saboteur says is endless, and just when I think I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t believe one of those statements, that b#tch comes up with something new to taunt me on. That is the nature of the saboteur.
My inner leader on the other hand is my inner authority, a visionary who is in command and leads me towards fulfilling my life purpose. He has access to all the wisdom that ever was, has been there and back and seen more than a lifetime of experience. He loves me completely and unconditionally, and no matter what happens, holds me tenderly with gentleness, infinite compassion and heart. He believes in me completely and without question and is fearless and relentless in pursuit of what is the very best for me. He is unshakeable, dedicated and unwavering. And he is always there, I just have to choose to listen.
That is what it is like to stand on that knife edge; I hear both the saboteur and my inner leader and I have to choose. Because it is a choice who you listen to. You are always at choice, always able to choose between living in the land of your saboteur (probably saboteurs—plural—because one is never enough) and living in the land of your inner leader. Now most people would logically say, and I say it all the time, “I choose the land of my inner leader.” Should be a no-brainer, right?
But it isn’t as simple as it may sound. Living in the land of your inner leader is hard-f$cking-work! It’s the land of purpose and drive and ambition. It’s the land of deep self-analysis and constant self-discovery. It’s the land of unending curiosity not only about others, but about yourself, where you are always asking, “What makes me/them do that/react that way/behave like that?” It’s the land where you find both your light and your dark, and you face both whether you want to or not. It’s a place of utter and complete vulnerability not only with yourself, but with everyone because you have to be truly, authentically you. And not everyone will like it.
But the alternative is a land of constant self-doubt, shame, failure and disappointment in yourself. It’s a land of insecurity and false ego and imposter syndrome. It might be easier, in the short term, to give up and to quit and hold the self-limiting belief that “You’re not _______.”, but it leads to a life less lived. And I choose #TheJourneyToMore.
So, sitting here on my knife edge I choose to look at today as a success, even if it’s just a small one. I choose to make this a First Attempt In Learning. I choose to find the gift in no one turning up today. I choose to tap into my grit and keep fighting for this program because I know it’s needed and can make a difference, not only in our participants but in the industry. I choose to harness my disappointment and turn it into fuel for the fire.