Reality can be cruel.
Recently it came crashing down on me, and it sucks. Pulled out from underneath me the rug I’ve been standing on and I’m still reeling, unable to find solid footing.
It’s a horrible, scary, fear-filled feeling when you think about how you’ve been trucking along, believing you’re doing the right thing — but all along ignoring that feeling that something was wrong. And when you realize that feeling was right, it hurts.
It feels like I’m feasting on failure and I’m the only one at the table.
Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie. — Oprah
Trusting yourself means trusting your intuition.
I knew there was something amiss, but I shrugged it off as simply not being savvy when it came to building a business, that I’d learn as I go.
I knew I was off-balance, that I was investing my complete worth — my time, energy, passion without remorse — and that on the flip side, there was zero return on investment. (Enter little voice: you’re worth more than nothing.)
But you’re supposed to struggle, I thought. You’re not good enough yet. Get more people in the door by offering them everything you’ve got, they’ll quickly come to see your value and then you’ll be paid your worth. “Get them in the door first” I kept saying. “Over-deliver”, that’s what every mentor says.
I repeatedly compromised my worth and continued to play small, to the point of feeling insignificant. Unheard. But it’s part of the game, it’s how you grow.
I always felt good doing the work — I loved what I was doing. But the time, the effort, and the energy far surpassed what I received in return.
I received an email list full of uninterested people. A click-through rate of .0000001%. I wasn’t building a business, anyone with an ounce of business sense could see that—there was no growth after 5 years. Zero. Maybe a few spurts here and there — when things were given away, completely free, no strings attached.
I’m serving my people, I’m using my talents, I’m giving away my passion for others to enjoy. I stuck to the narrative. Do what you love and the money will come.
Again, it felt right, but something deep inside said I was living small. My passion was ebbing because I wasn’t respecting my worth.
Sometimes that little voice should be screaming in your head, but instead, mine was whispering. A constant whisper that I could easily shoo away.
Eventually, the floodgates can’t hold it back any longer and the facts took me over like a tsunami. This couldn't go on any longer. I was better than this. I was worth more.
When you think it’s all over, that everything you poured your heart into amounts to nothing, it’s a horrible day.
Trusting yourself is not always easy.
The whispers are misunderstood, and the signs aren’t properly interpreted. But when you keep pushing them aside, momentum and force will mount. And one day you’ll be left questioning every single thing you did up to that point. And feel hopeless.
You’ll know, deep in your gut, that you needed to be knocked over because it never felt truly right.
The kicked in the gut feeling, the hopelessness, the fear, the thoughts of loss, the embarrassment all swirl around you, engulf you, and you have to know that you knew it all along — the piper needed to be paid.
It’s time to succumb to what you feared — that what you were doing all along was not what was right for you. You didn’t trust the one person you needed to trust the most. Your self. Your inner being… not to be confused with your inner critic. Your inner critic can bash and degrade, but your inner self whispers and gently tugs at you with intuition. You're worth more.
Once you open up and accept that things have to change, that you’ve been doing it “wrong”, and that it’s more than mending a tear or fixing a loose thread, you can move forward.
It’s mustering up the courage to see real failure front and center, and not quit. It’s trusting that what you’re doing matters, you only need to tweak it, change it, alter the approach, think differently, create alternate solutions and test them out, shed your insecurities and trust your self that you can do this… it was never meant to be a straight line to the end.
Take what worked, no matter how insignificant, and head back to the drawing board. That’s the only way to get through the storm. You can’t avoid it.
That’s how you learn to trust yourself. My gut feels that giving up isn’t the right choice, it’s pulling me back to the whiteboard, back to the beginning, back to why I started in the first place, and how I can serve in a way that feels genuine to me while upholding my worth.
Starting over sucks, but it could be for the best.
Starting back at square one the second time is an entirely different experience. You’re better equipped. You’ve been down the wrong path, and now you know better, you can navigate these waters twice as fast once you feel the current is with you.
You begin by silencing the inner critic. It will always be there, telling you a story to keep you stuck, but it’s just doing its thing and you can choose to override it. Trust yourself to know the difference between something that looks right but feels wrong vs something that looks wrong but feels right — that’s intuition.
Treat “failure” as a stepping stone up the path, not over the edge. That’s what I’m doing when the inner critic sneaks in, usually late at night, when all the demons socialize. I remind myself that I’m not a failure- that’s super important. It’s the manner in which I went after it, the way I didn’t value my worth, that’s the failure, and one I can fix.
Believe in your talents — you have them, you have many. Uncover them, use them, believe in them, be vulnerable in them because you’re not perfect — nor were you created to be perfect. Rely on your talents, tap into their power, they’ll keep you moving forward, or at the very least afloat when you think you’re powerless.
Trusting in your self isn’t easy when you’ve been at it for a long time and you feel like you haven’t made any progress. But it can also be liberating. Don’t be afraid to begin again because this time you’re doing it with a new perspective and a different narrative.
AM Costanzo is a wellness coach, a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and loves to help people feel strong, powerful, and downright fabulous in body and mind!