This week I got some big news: I’m one of three finalists in a writing competition that I entered. I was picked out of a pool of 1400 entries. Part of this involves going to an event in London, where they will announce the winner. They’re putting me up in a hotel. My aunt volunteered to let me use her airline miles. Everything sort of fell into place right away. I’m going to London. This is all cool and exciting news, of course. But after the initial surprise and excitement wore off, my first thought was, “oh crap.” A million nervous thoughts flooded in: “I can’t do this. I’m too afraid of flying. I probably can’t take time off work. I didn’t work hard enough for this. I’m not as good as they think I am. They’ve made a mistake. They probably don’t want me to go there anyway. I don’t deserve this.” Why does succeeding feel so hard sometimes?
It’s easy to imagine success, to fantasize about it – what you’d say, how you’d act, how it would feel – but actually living in it is different. It can be profoundly uncomfy. Succeeding means having to accept praise, having to let yourself be seen, having to crawl out of your little hermit crab shell into a bigger, brighter, scarier world. What if someone notices you’re not as good as everyone else? That you’re just a normal girl who doesn't know how to walk in heels or interact with fancy people and even though you’ve imagined it a thousand times, you don’t know what to say or how to act or what to feel?
It can be easy for me to reflexively shy away from success, from anything new and unknown and unpredictable. But what’s the alternative? Just gauzy imaginings. Just a lot of empty longing. That’s not good enough for me. And it’s not good enough for you. So I’m going to London and I’m going to feel weird and anxious and not worthy. But I’m still going to do it. This week I’m wishing all of you grace and bravery and the knowledge of your worthiness as you navigate all your successes, no matter how small.
Edit: I won! See a write up of the event and competition here.