Originally published in 2018, while walking the Camino de Santiago. Please excuse the grammatical errors.
As a 22 year kid, I was secure and confident. Life so far had been full of success, the attitude of “if its going to happen its up to me” was ingrained into me through my youth. My efforts were mostly always rewarded and I didn’t just feel, I KNEW, I was in control of my destiny….until I didn’t.
When I fell those 4,000 feet that day, and then dealt with my new reality, I lost much more than my fingers and toes. I lost my identification, my confidence, my optimism, and I began to deflect ownership for both my actions and my future. Through all my surgeries and the growing unknown of what was next, simply surrendering was the only way I could see getting through this. I had no control, so why worry about it? Would I lose all my arms? Would the surgeon save me from this infection? Would a girl ever be attracted to me again? I had no control. I began to develop the bad habit of not taking ownership, largely because at the time I had no control.
The next 15 years following my fall were full of mini peaks and major valleys. I had given up my control and knew just to hold on until the storm ended…but the storm never ended. Although out of control in some ways, I thankfully made sure I would never loose hope, and that I would “always get back up”. I would ALWAYS get back up. I would joke with people that I am really good at one thing…that one thing being that I’m truly great at being miserable.
I would wake up every morning for almost 15 years straight, fall too my knees, pray and ask God to please take away my pain. But it never went away. I never found freedom. Finally one day, in a hostel in the middle of Spain, I woke and decided I was going to take back control. I reflected back on what I used to feel like prior to the fall, what my confidence was like back then, and why I always had a smile on my face. It was like I had complete ownership and total control of my future. I could do whatever I’d put my heart into. That day, I decided I would stop blaming others and outside things for my results. I would take my power back.
Almost instantly, I felt freedom and control like I hadn’t felt for so many years. By doing this, I suddenly became responsible for my happiness. Not anything or anyone else. I could suddenly forgive people, who subconsciously (and some consciously) , I had actually been holding a grudge against for some time. I had let people get under my skin and effect my energy, they hijacked “me”.
I had taken my power back and became free from others issues and their actions…almost immediately. Now I could focus on just mine.
From there, I knew I would need some victories as well to seal the deal, to get my confidence back. I knew little victories would add up to bigger ones…And with a winning streak, I knew authentic self-confidence could be regained. First targeted win for me was a big one. I signed up for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across Spain. I knew that if I could accomplish this all alone, a strong foundation would be set for building my new house of confidence. It kicked my ass…but in the end, I prevailed (with some really ugly looking feet by the end. Tough to research, but I think I am the first person to complete with no toes). Putting one foot in front of the other. Over and over.
Ownership gave me back my power. Power gave me control. And control allowed for confidence to be restored.
You can pray and ask from above for more courage and confidence, but you will never get it. Instead, stop feeling sorry for yourself, get off your ass and go find situations where you will be given chances to be courageous and become confident. Take your power back.
Are you in a cubicle still because of your boss or your competitive colleagues? Unfortunately the answer Is likely no. You’re in the cubicle because of you.