“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling
I can attest to the aforementioned quote by J.K. Rowling, that rock bottom is a solid foundation like no other.
Having life strip away everything that is unnecessary and leave you with the bare minimum puts you in a place where you can start afresh far better than you can from any other station in life.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t until life humbled me and allowed me to fail time and time again that I ironically gained traction in my journey on the road to success.
With each loss I discovered unnecessary parts of me that I had not realized were present until they were removed from me.
I had toyed with the idea of being an entrepreneur for several years.
But I was always too afraid to take the risk.
I mean what if I failed?
What would people say?
How would I recover?
So I never did it.
I allowed my fear to prevent me from venturing out on my own.
That was until I decided to do it – afraid.
I decided to invest all I had into myself and my business venture.
So I didn’t talk about my plans with anyone unless they were an expert on the subject. Because, I didn’t want to risk people who lived in fear to sow negative thoughts in my mind or talk me out of it. So I did my research, talked to experts in the field, studied the market and I took the risk.
I pulled all my resources together in attempt to start a business of my own and guess what?
– I failed.
The result of my six month business venture was $58.00 in income which was easily overshadowed by overhead costs. Six months of hard work, six months of trying, six months of being told no, six months of putting more in financially then I ever received out and I was blessed with $58.00.
So with relatively no income outside of child support and three teenage kids looking to me for provision I had a decision to make.
I had to determine how I was going to provide in a job market where I was told I was overqualified. So when I was turned down for the positions that I was fully qualified for, I did the only thing I knew to do. I took three low wage paying part-time jobs and I put them together.
With the help of my friends and family, child support and my three part-time jobs I was able to make ends meet. There were times when I would go to bed at night not knowing how I would provide food for my kids the next day but every single day I woke up and God made provision for us.
I can honestly say I know what it is to trust God for provision of my daily bread.
Prior to that time no one could have told me that I had the physical ability to stand on my feet for 12 hour days.
I suffer from chronic pain that makes it hard for me to go about my day.
But there is something about knowing that I am responsible for three kids that made me push through the pain.
And no one could have told me that I could work 16 hours in a day at two different jobs. Moreover, the concept that I would have to run to the bathroom and vomit due to exhaustion was inconceivable prior to me living that reality. But there is something about knowing that your kids need to have food to eat and not knowing any other way that isn’t illegal , immoral or unethical that some how miraculously gives you the strength to stand.
No one could have told me that I would see all of my needs met in ways that seemed to signal that divine intervention had certainly played a hand in taking care of me, but I lived through it. I have seen things occur in my life that definitely boggle my human mind and I can’t settle with viewing them as simply a small thing, when I know that if the money would have come one day later I would have been in a deeper hole.
Things definitely arrived for me just in the nick of time on more than one occasion.
As I was working part-time I would submit application after application and go on interview after interview just to be told, “no”.
I began to question if I was going the wrong way. I wondered if all the nos where life’s way of telling me to give up.
But I don’t think that was it at all.
The failure of my business, the failure to secure a job that would provide adequate pay, the struggle of working three low paying jobs in an attempt to make ends meet, the feeling I got when all I could afford to give my kids for their birthday was a cake, not being able to afford to provide the life my kids were accustomed to when their father and I were married, were the times that shaped and made me into a stronger version of myself.
Due to my knowledge that I have failed and survived before, I have become brave enough to try again.
I’ve leaped only to hit the ground hard and ultimately learn that while it is indeed very hard that it cannot break me.
So I’ve decided to use the lessons of my failures to help me to take the leap of faith to try again.
Because ironically the greatest lesson that my failure taught me is that I cannot fail.
Even when it seems, I’m going the wrong way I will ultimately end up exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Indeed I am my own limit!
Nothing can come between me and my destiny but me!
I recognize that by taking another leap that I could fall even lower than I did the last time, but whether I fall again or soar, I have decided to leap nonetheless.
I can’t say that I despise failure because I love the lessons she teaches me.
Just because I haven’t mastered how to win doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing. I’m still in the game all the way up until the time the final buzzer sounds.
The way I see it is that I still have breath in my body and my dream has yet to come into fruition, so that means it’s my responsibility to keep on going.
Am I afraid? – ABSOLUTELY!
But I’ve decided to do it afraid.
I’m reading books on all types of topics to expand my mind. I’m sitting at the feet of people who have gotten to where I want to go and consider myself blessed just to be able to have direct access to them and for their willingness to give me advice. I’m stealing whatever time I can from the act of being lazy and diverting it to the action of honing my craft.
I have a vision in my head of what I will achieve and like a dog with a bone I’m not willing to let it go.
But there are some things that I will let go of.
I will let go of bad habits so new ones can unfold.
I will let go of negative thoughts so new ones can take hold.
I’m allowing myself to be comfortably uncomfortable trying new things.
And the result is that I’m hearing no’s again but I have the courage to keep asking.
I’m being told close but no cigar, so I’m determined to get closer.
I’m having the phone hung up on me, so I keep dialing.
I’ve ended the day without achieving my daily business goals and I used the sting of that failure to light a fire under me to overachieve for the next day.
I look at my check register and wonder do I have what it takes to make it or will I fail like I did the time before. Then I tell myself that my destiny lies beyond those numbers.
I have to tell myself to stop worrying about the people who are betting against me and to remember that what I think of me is all that matters.
I remind myself that as long as I don’t give up that I will achieve the results that I hope to achieve.
I am taking the lessons of my yesterday and I am applying them to my today.
For I have a choice, I can give this my all or I can not do it at all. There is no half stepping, no partial effort, it’s all or nothing and I want it all.
It is possible that I may fall all the way to the bottom. But we already discussed the benefits of being at the bottom at the top of this blog entry.
If I hit rock bottom I’ll still be breathing and that means I’m still in the game.
Yes, when you’re at the bottom people will judge you, but guess what they’ll judge you no matter what your station is in life.
Also you can’t learn how to truly appreciate what you have until you experience not having.
For almost three years I felt like a hamster on a wheel. I was running at top speed exerting a bunch of energy and I never seemed to get any traction.
And now I stand with the glimmer of hope that this time I can make it. I’m gaining ground and I like it.
It is my firm belief that this time I can achieve my goal but I am going to have to put in the work to earn it.
When it comes to our dreams in life no one is going to give us anything we haven’t worked for.
With that said I am going to keep trying to achieve my dreams and keep reaching for my goals.
I’m investing in me.
Before my failure I thought that obstacles were meant to destroy me.
It wasn’t until someone explained to me that life doesn’t put obstacles before us in the hope that we would fail but to the contrary, it does it in the hopes that we will succeed.
Because, much like a trainer sets up exercises for an athlete to enhance their ability, so does life set up exercises to advance us.
Life gives us hindrances and obstacles with the hopes that we will become stronger.
We need that strength for where we are going.
For that reason I am thankful for kids who ask why we live in an apartment when their friends live in a house.
And I give thanks for the guy who told me he didn’t want to continue seeing me because I was struggling financially.
Not because it made me want more money or because I’m some sort of glutton for punishment, but rather because I knew I was trying my best and from those comments I learned that only I know when I am doing my best and even if those I care about see me as a failure I have to know who I am for myself.
I have grown to value the eye rolls, scoffs, rejection and judgment as much as the love, kindness, support and care that I received from those around me.
I tell this story not as someone who has achieved my dream.
No I’m telling my story in the face of everyone and I’m saying it may not happen this year or even this decade but I have a dream in my heart and if I die before it manifests I want the world to know that I died trying.
Far too many of us become paralyzed by our fear of failure. But I’m here to say I failed and yet I am still in the game. I encourage you to try even if it results in failure because failure is indeed it’s own blessing.
© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.