Opportunities – Sometimes, things have to fall apart so they can fall into place

I had some trouble sleeping last night, and as I chased the pillow, I was reminded of something that upset me a few months ago.  Insomnia driven nights are never good times to contemplate failure, but I’m the kind of person that finds it difficult to get it out of my brain once the thought has popped up.

In one of the writing communities I frequent, I was encouraged by a friend to apply to be one of their volunteer writing mentors.  It seemed like a given I would be able to get the position.  In the past,  I had organized several online writing groups, proofread and edited friends’ writing, and even had a weekly, informal, online writing class I had done to help fellow writers improve their work.  The class involved me picking a topic each week, drafting a short lesson, sharing it and then discussing it with my fellow writers.  It was a thing I really looked forward to each week, so I was excited to possibly do it again.

But I didn’t get the gig.  I was told that it was not based on my experience or ability, that outside factors had taken me out of the running.  For some reason, that only made things worse.  I had thought I was a shoe-in, that it was a given that anyone would want my skills and experience.  Though I was rather disappointed about the whole thing, I did my best to suck it up and soldier on.

It was as if the universe knew I needed a bit of validation, as well as a pick-me-up.  Within two weeks, I found out that I had gotten a freelance job I had applied for around the same time as the volunteer gig, a job that would pay me for my time and efforts.  The job entailed working as a mentor to a budding writer, which was very similar to the volunteer position I had not gotten.  It was vindicating and helped to remind me that my skills and hard work were valued.

If I had gotten the volunteer position, I might have ended up taking a step back from the sorts of jobs I want, rather than a step forward.  I might have had less time to work on projects that took me closer to my goals.  While I’m still working on how bummed I felt about not getting that position, I’m also learning the value of realizing sometimes you miss out on one opportunity, so that another more fitting opportunity can swing your way.  

I know that “Sometimes things fall apart so they can fall into place,” shoulds horribly cliche, but in this instance, it was definitely true for me.  Now, I get to continue to work on my skills as an editor and writing mentor, while placing myself even closer to my goals. I think we all have moments where our confidence is shaken, but if we don’t give up, we never know what might be around the corner.  Failure happens to all successful people, sometimes many times, before they finally hit their stride.  So I won’t give up, and I hope you won’t either.

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Know Your Value

Peggy Carter is kind of who I want to be when I grow up.  I have a bookmark of her tacked to my wall, with the quote “I know my value” across the bottom.  Even when nearly everyone around her professionally treated her like a less person, she did not give up on herself.

I am not sure if I was born a competitive person, or if it was later ingrained into my brain. To an extent, the determination and drive that comes with a competitive personality can be a good thing.  There are certainly times that I have achieved more because of my need to feel competitive.

The problem is when you make a lot of things a competition, you don’t always win.  Failure stings a bit harder.  You tend to want to give up if you don’t do your best and beyond, every time you try.  Or if someone just happens to do better than you did.

The problem with this kind of attitude, it’s  a losing game, no matter how many times you think you’ve ‘won.’

In this life, there should really only be one person you are competing against. Yourself.

This is a concept I am definitely still working on.  There are times I have to remember that as long as I did better than past-me did, strived a little harder, did a little more, that I’m winning.

There are also ways to take the competitive nature out of a competition.  In her book “Yes, Please!” Amy Poehler talks about the “Pudding” and how we all want it.  For her, the “pudding” was an Emmy award.  So Amy made a game of it, to take the sting out of not getting that yummy, delicious pudding.  She got all the women who were nominated in her category to do bits and make funny jokes.  She saw them as her friends and teammates, instead of her competitors.

I think this is a great attitude to have, to see those around us as our teammates, rather than adversaries.  If your friend gets their book published?  Cheer them on.  Gets a raise at a job they love?  Be excited for them.  By recognizing the worth in others, rather than tearing them down in a misguided attempt to make yourself feel better, you’ll find that it is a lot easier to recognize your own worth as well.

You have value.  When that little green monster climbs into your brain and tries to compare you to someone else, try to drown out that little voice by saying “They’re doing great!  I’m working hard too.  I’m going to reach my goals too.”  

 

Star Wars: What it meant to me as a lifelong female fan.

I actually wrote this post over on my tumblr, so if you’d like to read it, click the link and head over there.

Warning: SPOILERS.  If you have not seen the film yet, I did try to make my spoilers somewhat vague.  Most of the information is in comparison to the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels, and I tried to avoid the more major spoilers in the film.

If you were a fan of Jaina Solo or a female fan, this might assuage some of the fears you had about the film.  I know I went into it scared I would feel excluded, objectified or over looked, but that was not the case and my post goes into more depth as to why.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, I’ll leave it at this:

It’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan for my girls out there.