Last Sunday, I spent my evening crafting the most wonderful story for AmyBirks.com. It was witty, insightful and quite inspiring, if I do say so myself. I enjoyed proofreading it and envisioned the collective sighs of relief that you, my dear readers, would experience upon reading it yourselves. "Man, I'm a great coach", I thought. "This story is really going to help people! My readers are going to be clamoring to comment and share and call me for some one-on-one coaching before noon even hits on Inspiration Monday! I can't wait!"
I had just one task left to perfect my masterpiece. All I had to do was add a photo to go along with the story's inspired theme. I clicked the "save" button on my web client to ensure my hours of loving work wouldn't go anywhere while I perused my iPhoto collection looking for the perfect image to capture this latest work of genius.
And just like that, it was gone.
Yes, my web client pulled a Keyser Soze on me.
It sucked me in with it's beautiful interface and easy to use blog tools. It convinced me I could trust it as I typed and toiled away for almost four hours. And then it just took my work and disappeared into the night like it had never existed to begin with. Before the screen went completely blank, I think the error message said something like, "ooops! We're sorry. It looks like an error occurred. : ) Please accept our apologies and start all over again. Oh, and maybe next time you spend four hours writing a story here, you should try copying your work to Word before trusting that our save button will actually work. Because it won't. Dummy."
So, I cried.
I cried a lot, actually, amongst a whole bunch of yelling too. In fact, I think the string of profanities that I uttered in the moments that followed my brain's comprehension of this major malfunction are still lingering somewhere in the atmosphere near Jupitor on a collision course for parts unknown within the outer reaches of the universe. (My apologies, friendly aliens beyond the Milky Way... Please don't vaporize Earth because of my potty mouth.)
But in all seriousness, I was totally devastated that all my hard work had gone completely to waste, and even more-so because now I didn't have a story for my Inspiration Monday! readers to enjoy. I felt like an enormous failure who was letting everyone down.
Not only did I feel like a failure who was letting everyone down by not meeting my Inspiration Monday! commitment, but I then began the oh-so-familiar spiral down the rabbit hole to Pity-ville, deciding that this technical blip which caused me to let everyone down also shined the spotlight on my inability to EVER be a success at ANYTHING in life AGAIN. In the span of about 4.3 seconds, I went from being the best coach ever to being a complete failure in life who was probably going to end up jobless, penniless, and living in a leper colony all alone for the rest of my miserable days.
How the hell did that happen?
- I got thrown for a loop with an unexpected disappointment.
- My mind started racing, thinking about how tired I was, how hard I'd worked and how I DEFINITELY didn't have the energy left to recreate that entire story from scratch in that moment.
- Then it dawned on me that if I didn't recreate it right then and there, there wouldn't be a story available for my readers to enjoy on Inspiration Monday!
- "Fuck. Now I've completely let them down ."
- Identifying that I wasn't meeting my commitments hit on some deep-rooted limiting belief within me that I was somehow a big disappointment in general if I disappointed my readers this one time.
- Feeling shitty about myself about that, on top of the major disappointment I was already knee deep in since I'd lost all that work, put my self-confidence filter on strike. I couldn't overcome the barrage of negative self-talk that came streaming in. The flood gates were officially open for business.
So I wallowed in it for a little while.
I gave myself about ten minutes to feel sorry for myself, so I could release the frustration and disappointment about the situation, before I knew I just couldn't take it anymore and had to get on the train to Happy Town. For those ten minutes, I cried and cursed some more, I slammed a few doors, I pouted and moped up to bed, and then I decided to watch an episode of New Girl on Netflix. Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson always make me laugh and in that moment, that was exactly what I needed. A distraction to take my mind away from my negative, unhelpful, confidence-murdering thoughts.
Let me tell you, I immediately felt better. By simply distracting my mind and taking myself away from the situation that was causing me pain and worry, and focusing on something I knew without a doubt would make me laugh, my self-doubt and certainty about my inevitable impending failure in business and in life completely disolved into nothing more than a distant memory.
Now don't get me wrong, I still get madder than a dancing circus dog dressed in a tutu when I think about losing all that work, but instead of diving headfirst down that rabbit hole, I laugh a little bit at how silly and unrealistic my lack of self-confidence actually was in that moment. Of course I'm still a good coach. Of course I'm still successful. Of course my readers will understand and still love me like I love them. One tiny technical blip doesn't undo all my years of experience, hard-work and previous success with clients. Duh.
And you know what else? Knowing that I could change my mood from devastation to recovery that quickly felt totally empowering. All I had to do was distract myself a little bit and change my mind about how I felt. It's awesome; you should try it.
So, dear readers, I'm sorry I let you down last week. I promise to do my best to not let technology, or exhaustion, or anything else get in the way of my ability to add value to your Monday mornings. I also promise that I won't be so hard on myself in the future because I know it doesn't do either one of us any good. I hope you'll consider distracting yourself the next time you find you're on the fast track to Pity-ville too. There's plenty of Zooey Deschanel to go around.
With love and inspiration (and about 65 ctrl-C's since I started typing this story... and one more just now for good measure),