What do you fear? Failure? Public speaking? Putting yourself out there? Relationships? Success? Most of us live with some type of fear and getting past it can seem like such a struggle. But we know that in order to achieve our goals, we have to figure out how to overcome fear and make big things happen.
I suffered from postpartum depression after each of my children. I am lucky to have 2 healthy boys who are now 7 and 4, but I did experience some pretty severe depression after my second child. The depression manifested with nasty thoughts in my head that I wasn’t good enough. My thoughts were consumed with “you are a terrible mom because you can’t even get out of bed.” “You are not enough to raise these boys.” “You are worthless.”
I am usually a very goal oriented person, but during this time it was all I could do to just survive. I was beaten down by thoughts of shame and fear and they held me back big time.
The worst part about having these thoughts is that I let them take a hold of me for way too long. I let them be the dialogue in my head and it held me back for months. On top of this, my second son was 8 months old and we were transitioning from exclusively nursing to formula because my supply was weaning. I was back to work and I just couldn’t keep up with the milk needs that he had. (He is the little guy in the picture)
We tried a traditional formula and we found out he had a severe dairy allergy. After a few more visits to the doctor, we found out he was allergic to eggs and tree nuts as well.
On top of all of the allergies, he wasn’t gaining weight and he was behind with his gross motor skills. At a year old, he still couldn’t sit up on his own and he had just learned how to roll over. The doctors kept a very close eye on him and they set up appointments with specialists. We saw a nutritionist, an allergist, and 2 physical therapists.
They were all fairly certain that he wasn’t growing because of his dietary limitations and he was diagnosed with something called hypotonia. Basically, he didn’t have normal muscle tone and because of this, he couldn’t hit some of the very basic milestones like sitting up, rolling over, crawling and walking at normal stages. Hypotonia can be a symptom of other big problems, but thankfully, after time, he started to develop and grow and he is now normal (praise the Lord!)
He rolled over at a year old, sat up at 15 months, crawled at 18 months and started walking at 22 months. He started talking well before he hit these milestones and I don’t think he has stopped talking since. He is now a normal 4 year old kid who has a huge heart and loves preschool.
During the time that he was struggling to grow, I internalized the fear and shame thinking that it must have been something that I did wrong to have a child that just wasn’t developing normally. I think as moms we tend to blame ourselves for even the circumstances that we can’t control.
After several months of going through this fear and shame, I started to seek ways to move past it. I started to read more than I have ever read in my entire life. Books became my safe haven and hope for a better future. I read books like The Miracle Morning, Nothing to Prove, Daring Greatly and any other personal development books I could find and this helped to pull me out of my depression. I also joined a church group that met every week for 6 weeks and it helped so much being able to talk to women who have shared in the same shame and fear I experienced.
This experience would be life changing for me. I look back now and I realize I needed to take this journey to be whole and be set free of fear and shame. I think that when we are in the midst of struggle, we can’t see to the other side unless we take steps to move past the struggle. For me the steps included community with other women and reading a lot of books to get over negative self talk.
Here is where blogging comes in…
My blogging journey started in 2014. Initially, I started blogging about personal finance, then it morphed into helping moms with organization, time management and meal planning into now helping men and women break through fears and shame so they can live each day with intention. I feel that this is the calling that God has for me, but like anything else, I had to go through the journey of learning how to blog to get where I am today.
So how the heck did I get there?
Long story. Lol.
You are making an impact while you grow
I am going to break it down for you though because I think it is important for your journey too. I think that sometimes we get so set on making an impact that we forget that we are actually making an impact while we grow. You are exactly where you need to be right now, learning exactly what you need to learn to make progress and get to where you want to be. Let that set in, Momma because it is so true.
You can only control one day at a time so do what you can do today to get to where you want to be tomorrow.
Over the past few months, I came to this huge realization in my blogging journey. I wasn’t blogging about what I needed to be blogging about. I let the opinions of others dictate what I should blog about.
Are you doing what you really want to do
It took me 4 years to figure this out. FOUR. LONG. YEARS. In the back of my mind I knew that I wanted to write to empower and motivate men and women, but I let the opinions of others derail what I wanted to do. The big bloggers said that you have to give people actionable advice like “How to’s” and such and to me that meant I had to help people pay off debt or organize their life. That is awesome if that is your passion, but it isn’t mine. I let those opinions get in the way of what I really wanted to write and blog about.
It took me stepping back this summer and really thinking and praying about my blog’s direction to really be able to come back to it and write about the things that I know I was meant to write about- getting past fear, overcoming shame and helping people achieve their goals. That is the stuff that I am truly passionate about.
If you find yourself blogging and it doesn’t feel like you, take some time to think and pray over your blog and have the courage to try something different that feels like you. I will tell you that since I shifted my topics (again) I have had a more engaged audience. I have people who I don’t even know come up to me at the grocery store and tell me they are fans of mine (it is crazy!) and my email list responds back and they thank me for being inspirational. That is the kind of impact I want to make. I want an engaged audience who tells me I am making a difference. Isn’t that why you started blogging? I don’t want to follow what everyone else is doing. I want to be myself. I want to help other people find the courage to take big leaps and do what they want to do while I help build them up along the way.
You are making an impact right where you are. You don’t have to have a following of a million people to make an impact. For me, I want engagement. I want to speak into the lives of others and help them push past a fear that they have had or help them break through a false belief they have had about themselves. If I can impact 1,000 people who can then impact the people in their lives, that’s a win for me.
Concentrate on the impact you can make today and don’t worry about the impact you will make in a year.
Mindset is everything
I am a lover of all things personal development. I found that after having my babies and going through postpartum depression that these books help… a lot! I have adopted a daily routine that I absolutely love and it is everything to me. If you have struggled with achieving your big goals it usually boils down to 2 things- you have trouble focusing on your goals or you let the thoughts in your head get in the way. Girl, I have been there so don’t beat yourself up.
Focus can be found by having some type of planner or to do list that you can look at and organize your life. The mindset thing is a bigger deal. You have to find a ritual that will get your thoughts to be positive. For me, it is waking up at 5AM, exercising, writing in a journal and specifically writing down what I am thankful for and writing out affirmations.
If you aren’t familiar with affirmations, they are positive thoughts that you write down and repeat to yourself or “I am” statements. They declare what you will achieve. These have been extremely powerful for me in breaking free from fear and getting rid of the beliefs of “I can’t do this.”
This time that I spend in the mornings is crucial for me to having the right mindset throughout the day. It helps me focus on what I need to get done and it helps me stay positive and grounded in achieving my goals. If you haven’t set up some time of routine, I highly recommend it.
Identify Your Fears
For women, shame and fear hold us back from achieving our big goals. I know that I have personally struggled with both and here is how I got broke through the fear and shame to make my goals a reality.
I read a ton of books (yes I did mention this already, but it has been so helpful for me). When you read or listen to podcasts that motivate you, you will stay in a positive mindset believing that you can achieve your goals. Also, the books that you read and the podcasts that you listen to will likely have a piece of information that you need to hear to move to the next step in your life. I have found this to be true in my own life so I recommend reading and listening to podcasts as much as possible.
One book I read this year helped set me free from a huge fear that I have; the fear of what others think of me. The book The 7 Decisions by Andy Andrews helped to free me of this fear by one simple sentence- “Those who are critical of my goals and dreams simply do not understand the higher purpose to which I have been called.” This sentence literally freed me from the fear of what people think. The book helped me get past that fear and helped me take action to accomplish some of my other big goals.
That one sentence in that book was the sentence I needed to read to re-brand my blog page, create my first physical product, and post more on social media than I have in months. I was held back because I was too worried about what people would think since this is my third blog re-brand and I haven’t posted on social media in a long time.
The end result- I have strangers on Instagram messaging me and thanking me for helping them accomplish 2 small goals that day. That is totally worth it to me.
Keep reading and learning. You have more wisdom to gain from others.
Limiting Beliefs and Shame
Shame had a hold over me for so long. As I mentioned above, I internalized the health problems that my son was going through thinking that it was because of me that he wasn’t growing. I knew deep down that it had nothing to do with me, but the broken, shame filled me had no control over my thoughts at the time.
Reading books again, helped me heal and take control of my thoughts. You have the ability to take over the thoughts of shame and replace them with affirmations that you will start to believe. Affirmations help you to believe a different story about yourself. Because I dealt with shame for so long, affirmations were the key to me overcoming my shame.
You are capable of the dreams that are in your heart. You are worthy of those dreams. You are smart enough to accomplish those dreams. You are good enough to make them happen. If you have tried and failed in the past, that’s okay. That does not define you. You are not a failure. You simply learned what didn’t work, now go out and try something that will.
Shame makes you believe that since you failed, you are a failure. That simply isn’t true. You don’t fail; instead you make mistakes. You learn from those mistakes and then you succeed. Period. Failure is not an option because failure means you gave up. You don’t give up.
Do you see the difference? You can change the story line in your head into one that will allow you to achieve your goals.
How to move past obstacles right now
I want to share something that has worked for me recently when I am facing a big struggle or obstacle. If you are at a point where things are really hard and you feel completely down, I want you to take some time and reflect on how far you have come. What did you accomplish that gets you closer to your end goal? Where has God shown up for you before as evidence that He will show up again? What have you done today that gets you closer to your goal?
Sometimes when we face struggles and obstacles, we feel like we will never make it to our goal. You are capable of achieving every single goal you have, you just have to believe it.
If you are trying to lose weight, what have you learned about weight loss that has helped you lose 5 pounds? If you are trying to grow your blog into a business, what have you learned so far that is getting you closer to that goal? If you are trying to pay off debt, what have you learned about budgeting to get you closer to paying off your credit card? The point is, if you are even taking one step towards your goal, you are getting closer. Don’t take that for granted. You are still growing even if it seems slow.
Take the time to reflect on how far you have come instead of concentrating on how far you have to go. Let that be your motivation to keep going. You have grown and you will continue to grow if you concentrate on your wins instead of letting the obstacles get in the way.
I have learned that the obstacles we face are in place for a reason. They are there as guidelines to what we need to learn next. The postpartum depression allowed me to read personal development books which allowed me to go on the journey of figuring out how to overcome fear and shame so I could live up to my full potential here. My husband and I own 2 businesses, we hired our first full-time employee this year, hit a big milestone in real estate investing, I re-branded my blog for the third time and created my first physical product. I never would have done that had I not had the depression.
That probably sounds completely crazy, but if I hadn’t gone through that experience, I would still be fearful of what others think of me and I would be held back because of the mistakes that I have made. I would not have found personal development books and I would not have grown in my faith. That journey set me free.
My hope for you is that you allow yourself to learn from your mistakes, celebrate your wins and keep pushing through your fears. You are here to make an impact and if you can get past the fear and negative self talk, girl, you can do big things!