Are you sure you want to succeed? Well, my ambitious and highly motivated compadre, fasten your seatbelt. Here's the truth.
People will dismiss your success.
You will receive passive-aggressive comments thinly veiled with the 'lucky you' subtext.
People will say nasty shit. They will be triggered by you, and many will lack the tools and self-awareness to look at themselves and ask what they can learn from their negative emotions.
Instead, they will verbally vomit their reaction all over you.
You have to stay grounded in your vision. In none woo-woo speak, here's what that means - why you're here, what you're doing in the world and who you're doing it for.
The light that's in you has to be stronger than the light that's on you. Otherwise, the light that's on you will destroy you.
In other words, you have to have your shit together, otherwise you won't bounce back from the nastiness.
If you're wondering why I'm standing on my soapbox here, you're correct in assuming there's a reason. I'm grateful to have been writing for this fine outlet for almost two years. And recently, one of my articles was tweeted out by the lovely folks at HuffPost, exposing my words to more than a quarter of a million people.
I'm not a writer who shies away from the big numbers. The "starving artist" concept is bullshit. A stark contrast to the 15-year-old who kept her writing under lock and key (no, really - I kept it in a locked metal box), I'm proud to say I want my words in front of millions. I strive for my stories to be shared and enjoyed by as many people as possible. I want to provide an escape for readers who need a world to lose themselves in when their day-to-day reality is too much to cope with. It's a joy to provide this and it's not too grandiose to say it's my life's work.
This is what I asked for. And I understand that criticism is part of this work and I accept that fully.
Fortunately, after many many years of self-helpery and more therapy than you can shake a stick at, I have the tools to deal with these recent nasty comments, and I pulled myself back a mere ten minutes after reading this particular brand of internet trolling.
There was a time when it would have fucked me up all day. And I know there will also be a time when comments like this roll off my back and I don't even see them.
But I'm not just a shiny photograph on the internet. I'm a human being, and I feel things. And comments like that do hurt.
I understand it's not personal, but comments suggesting I've had a free ride are simply not based in reality. We all present our best selves to the outside world. I choose not to hit everyone over the head with my past because it's no fun and the last thing I want is for anyone to feel sorry for me. There's a choice between hanging on to my "story" -- aka the bad stuff that went down -- versus living a happy, fulfilling life, and it's not even a question for me. But for the purposes of my argument, here's the truth many of you don't know.
I'm from a town of 4,000 people and the odds have been stacked against me.
I've overcome sexual assault, bullying and addiction. I've battled self worth issues all my life. I've done the work. Life is beautiful now and I'm beyond grateful.
But when I first moved to Vancouver seven years ago, life wasn't so rosy.
Nobody saw me crying on the floor of my one-bedroom apartment because the rent was due in two days and my bank account was in negative.
Nobody saw me propping my free TV up on a box for two months because I couldn't afford a TV stand.
Nobody saw me adding up my grocery total at the register, sweat rolling from my brow as I hoped and prayed it would total less than the $14 balance I had in my chequing account.
I know what it's like to struggle. Nothing has been handed to me and I built my business from the ground up.
There is no elevator to success. You're taking the stairs, my friend, and you're sweating every step of the way.
Today, I'm fortunate to have help in my business. I work with people I used to admire from afar. It's amazing to think my role models became my clients. It's incredible. And I give thanks every single day. It makes me think about the people I look up to and what it's taken them to reach the dizzying heights of success I admire so much. Their 'secret' to success? They have worked their tushes off.
So before you hit submit on that nasty comment, know this.
Don't judge someone's highlight reel until you've seen the blood, sweat and tears it took them to get there.
Don't react to someone's success when you can choose to be inspired by their example.
Because here's the truth behind the glossy photographs:
We all have a story.
And often it's the ugly beginnings that lead to the most beautiful of endings.
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