I am one of those people who wants to do everything myself. I have an idea and a one track way of getting that locomotive to the next station. I’m not a know-it-all by any means. It’s just easier to do things myself rather than try to explain what I’m looking for and invariably be disappointed when that train derails. This may make me sound like a textbook control freak but, honestly, I like things done correctly… in an orderly fashion, on time and on budget! I come by it honestly. My Mother is the same way and my sister doesn’t fall too far from the perfectionist tree either. In fact, growing up, I recall her obsession with ironing her sheets before making her bed. Striving for this high level of perfectionism served me well for years but lately I’ve been second guessing myself. Maybe it’s because I have too much on my plate and I’m realizing I can’t do it all or maybe I’ve discovered there is something more menacing lurking in my personal tactics. I realize now that this “do it myself behavior” is nothing but a result of fear… fear of failure. Fear of what I might come face to face with if I stopped doing and listened for just a moment.
In the last year, I’ve had two back surgeries with the possibility of a third one lingering on the horizon. I wasn’t at all surprised when my doctor told me I have degenerative bone and disk disease – actually it’s a genetic gift from my Mother’s side of the family, something I’ve feared for years. Simple things like grabbing a gallon of milk from the refrigerator can throw my back out of commission for days. It’s hard to function as a control freak when you are laid up in bed. Then, as if out of nowhere, a voice in my head spoke loudly and clearly, “Ask for help!” For the first time in years, my eyes and ears opened to the people surrounding me and clarity rushed in like a raging river in spring. I realized I was trying so hard to control and hold on to so many things that I didn’t have the energy to enjoy the parts of my life that I love. And you know what else? People come to life and really go after it when I take a step back and give them space and encouragement. It’s a tough pill to swallow but, letting go of things I’m not meant to hold on to has allowed me to enjoy the things I was truly meant to do.
I no longer run the locomotive. In fact, I now realize there are many tracks leading to the station and others are quite capable of getting their
train in on time. It’s hard to describe the confidence that comes with letting go and finding joy in being a small piece of a big puzzle… and really, that’s all I need!
This issue of SignatureMT showcases a handful of confident people forging paths of passion, while some look back admiringly at the paths they have forged, all of course, surrounded by people of encouragement, strength and integrity. Enjoy this summer season and may you too find the confidence to explore the things you are most passionate about.