At the end of last summer, I almost quit my business. Just up and quit. I came off of an emotionally draining season where I bit off way more than one person can chew. After hosting two workshops, putting my heart into an online program, and finally getting over a month-long sickness, I felt I finally had time to breathe. And then I received that email. The email that crushed me more than I ever thought words strung together on a computer screen could. It was from someone who purchased my online program and wasn’t happy with the product. Which I get, not every program is for every person. However, it wasn’t that she just didn’t like the program, or even that she attacked the program and the content. She attacked me. She put words to fears that I have had for years. I felt exposed, like a fraud, and a complete failure.
I immediately called my husband in tears. In fact, he might have even come home because I was so upset. Here I was, in the process of hiring my first employee, and I received this huge blow. Should I be a boss? Should I even be running a business? How can I? I’m not good enough, worthy enough, or wise enough. For the next two weeks I went into a dark place. I couldn’t get out of bed some mornings, the thought of working made me feel sick to my stomach, and I told my husband that I wanted to quit.
Her words had power over me. She had the ability to infuse doubt, crush my spirits, and stop my business with just a few sentences. One morning over breakfast, one I’m sure I didn’t eat because of my anxious state, my husband said, “Why does this one person, who lives halfway across the world, have so much power over you?”
Because I allowed her to. I let her words dictate my worth. I let her opinions guide the direction of my business and life. I gave her the power. I allowed it.
I quickly realized that my identity had been so bound up in what other people thought about me. So much so, that I let them decide how worthy I was of success and joy. If they decided they wanted to take it away from me, I let them. Each day was an emotional rollercoaster because my whole day could be made or ruined from one email, phone call or text. I either felt like I was on top of the world, or in the pits.
But I didn’t want to live my life that way. I didn’t want to be tossed to and fro based on how others viewed me. I wanted my identity to be rooted in a firm and strong foundation – in truth. These things that she said about me, the fears she put words to, were just that – fears. And while we are all frauds and failures in a way, those things aren’t my identity.
Right when I hit my lowest low, I hired my first team member. In a lot of ways, it forced me to continue on, and it may be the only reason I didn’t throw in the towel. Over the past 8 months, I’ve done a lot of healing and soul searching. Now, I feel more confident in who I am and the work I do than ever before.
So, what do you do when you receive that email? When someone cuts you to your core? When you feel like a failure and fraud? When you give people permission to determine your worth?
Remind yourself of truth.
You are so uniquely created. You are complex and full of gifts, dreams, strengths, weaknesses, and passions that are all your own. You don’t have to wait for others to declare who you are and what you’re worth because your intrinsic value is impenetrable. You are strong, gifted, worthy, and graceful.
Surround yourself with people who can remind you, too.
You can’t do this alone, friend. Sometimes you are so deep in your emotions, in your hurt, that you can’t pull yourself out. You need people who love you and know you – like know all of you, good and bad – to speak truth over you. They won’t let you quit because they see you in a way that you can’t see you right now.
Keep working, creating, and dreaming –
… whether or not you have that deep, sick feeling in your stomach. Keep going. Don’t let them rob you of your message and work! The world desperately needs what you are creating. You are filling someone’s need, bringing someone joy, making someone’s life easier. Think about that someone and then keep going.
Don’t let people take what isn’t there’s to take. Their words can’t determine who you are. Don’t let the fear of gaining acceptance or approval from others crush you. You are valuable, worthy, and uniquely created and your story, life, and message is so important.