In fifth grade, our school offered an intro-to-music program. Every student had the options of band or study hall. Not one to want idle time and eager to follow in my sisters' footsteps, I opted in to band and out of study hall.
I still remember picturing myself as a talented, dainty flutist in the front row, or even a cool, trendy drummer girl standing in the back with all the boys. However, when the time came for instrument selection, I was assigned the trombone. My mom was pleased, as we already had a beautiful brass trombone stored in our attic that my uncle had once played. It tasted like metal and smelled like pennies and sat in a velvet box, untouched for years.
Lugging the heavy box to school each day and sitting in the back row, assembling the mouth piece and slider to the horn wasn't the sweet, dainty vision I'd had of myself in the band. Also, I was terrible. Not sort of bad. Terrible. Aside from the fact that I am not particularly musically inclined, I also didn't have the patience for sheet music and quickly learned from my friends that in fifth grade "study hall" is synonymous for "make cool signs for your friends."
I'd made a terrible mistake.
After a few weeks, I went home and reported in to my mom while she stood over the stove in the kitchen, stirring chili for dinner: I hated band. I wasn't good at it. I didn't pay attention the first week so I already didn't know what I was doing. I was anxious they were going to call on me for a solo (*ha!). I was going to quit.
I'm sure my mom smiled kindly, thinking, thank you for the feedback. But she told me, politely, that I was not going to quit. We made a commitment to doing band this year. It's only a few times a week. We are going to honor our commitment. And then she said the phrase that my parents would tell all five of us over and over for years to come: Bibers don't quit.
We finish what we start. We honor our commitments. We are reliable. We don't give up in the middle of something.
I still hear those words when I want to quit things. Whether it's a hard project at work or a grueling workout or something emotionally exhausting. Bibers don't quit. I tell myself. We press on.
These words have made me stronger and more motivated. They have taught me that life isn't always meant to be easy or tailor-made for me.
Sometimes, you have to jump over hurdles. When life gets hard, you don't give up. You keep going.
I am so grateful for this lesson and the way it has brought success in my life. I am grateful my parents raised five little fighters who believe the world is their oyster - they just have to keep on keeping on.
But, as I've gotten older, I've begun to understand that sometimes, we have to quit to make room for what really matters. We have to pare down our schedules, take things off our plate and say no.
So, inspired by a recent webinar from Lara Casey and Emily Ley, here's what I'm quitting in 2016:
1. Pride. I want, so badly, to be someone that tells you in July: Hey guys! I have a life coaching business and summer camp and they're going super duper well. I also magically planned a wedding, moved in with Chris, worked a full time job and made time for a manicure.
But, even more than that, I want to be honest in this space. I want to tell you what I'm working on, why it's hard and how the business is really going. I believe we do one another a disservice by acting like our dreams magically fall into place. They take a lot of hard work and balance. And it's important to me that I let go of my pride and tell you this honestly. Building your dreams is a hard process. You sleep less, make mistakes and don't always know what you're doing. But, so far, it's worth it.
Also, I basically never have a perfect manicure. They chip so quickly! How do people do it?
2. Perfection. I vacillate between a struggling-slash-recovering perfectionist. In 2016, I want to let go of a perfectly organized life to make time for more building and creating. I want to believe my worth is not wrapped up in my organized home, dry cleaned clothes and errands run. I want to make time for the things that fill my cup and nourish my soul, like writing, creating and connecting with others.
3. Social media in bed. I am pretty much always looking for a way to get more sleep and the 15 minutes I waste every night as I mindlessly scroll through Instagram and Pinterest could be a real quick solution. I also want to read more books and social media is stealing that time. So, I'm no longer allowing myself to scroll in bed.
4. Comparison. Nothing kills my creativity and zaps my energy like comparing myself to others. I vowed to quit in 2013, but it's a wily beast. This year, I won't get wrapped up in how many Instagram followers someone has and how many people subscribe to my mail mailing list. Instead I'll focus on sharing what I believe and building what I care about. My platform may be smaller than someone else's, but it doesn't make my voice less valuable.
By letting go of these things, I hope to focus on the things that matter and create room for more joy. So, what are those things? I'll tell you Monday!