We are always one thought away from a big idea.
I scribbled those words down as quickly as I could and clung to them like a security blanket.
It had been a frustrating 48 hours. I'd ended the Friday before with bad news followed by discouraging news for The Letter Project. I went into the weekend feeling like the week had been a waste, which is the tricky thing about getting this kind of news on a Friday. It can leave you feeling like the entire week was a failure, instead of just a few things went wrong. Bad news on a Tuesday? You've got three days to regroup and begin again. But bad news on a Friday? I worried all weekend. I felt like I hadn't earned my Saturday relaxation (a lie.). I entered Monday hesitant and a little uneasy.
I read blogs that morning, which is never the right way to start my week. I didn't just read them, though. I used them as evidence: See! I told myself. You'll never be this good or successful. I was spiraling.
I felt frustrated with myself. I felt frustrated with God. I felt like He'd led me one direction - turning corners, taking leaps and crossing bridges. And then, just when I wasn't sure where we were anymore, I felt like I'd been left alone in the wilderness. I thought this was where we were going and now I don't know how to get back to where I was before! I perseverated as I tried to figure out what the heck I was supposed to do now.
And then, just as quickly as the darkness had overcome me and I'd felt lost and uncertain, I had an idea. An idea that seemed like it might work. A little bit of hope. I felt that familiar new-idea energy buzz through me and, as I started working on it, I realized:
We are always one step away from a new beginning.
Whenever I coach women who are in painful relationships, the question that always arises is: How did I get here? How did I end up in this place? This isn't me, they tell me. I was never this girl.
They tell me this between tears and in moments of frustration. They say it after their boyfriend has been mean to them. Or after a eye-opening experience made them realize - oh my gosh, I thought I loved him and I don't anymore. And, whenever they ask that question, I can hear them wondering, quietly:
Is it too late to begin again? Am I in too deep?
For any of you out there who are in the thick of it - who are wondering if it's too late to get out of a bad relationship, change career directions, move cities or begin again, I just want to tell you: it's not too late. It's never too late to begin again.
You have so much life ahead of you. Fight for the life you want. Fight for the relationship you want. Don't settle because you feel old (you're not) or because it feels like it's too late (it's not).
The dark parts - when it's like a maze and you're hurting and confused - that's when the grit has to kick in. It's OK to be mad, yes. It's OK to feel frustrated and sad, too. But, remember, you're always one step away from something new.