You said to me, isn't the expression practice makes perfect? And NO, came shouting out of my mouth. There is no such thing sweet girl. So just know that practice will make you better, end of story. And that's why trying and trying again is so important. It's how you get better, even at hard things. But better never means perfect, sometimes it doesn't even mean your best, it just means better than before.
Because here's the 100% very ugly truth about me...
Did you know that after YEARS of doing yoga, I still look like the strangest person in the room and my form is still off? Did you know it's been over three years and I still can't do a handstand for more than a few seconds? Did you know that I can't do a headstand from a tripod position? Did you know that my balance is hit or miss just depending on the day? Did you know that with every "let's try this" I fall, sometimes right on my face? Did you know that I get repositioned, reset, even after all these years? But did you also know that when the instructor asks the room to try, I always do. I always at least try and then I work and work on it. Did you also know that I come home and quietly find space and time to keep working so that I get better.
Or, did you know that even though I have been running since I was 8, my feet flare out when I run and I look like a mad woman? That people know it's me without even having to see my face? That strangers come up to me in bars and ask if I run on their road because I am that memorable, my run is that memorable. Oh, and did I mention how incredibly slow I am while I run and how much I get passed by everyone? How right before and right after every half marathon, I cry. Nerves get in my head, I don't want to actually do it, how much it hurts, and how much I have to talk myself into it? Do you remember finding me on a curb, head between my legs, crying and hurting and unable to talk for a while? How every year, while getting ready to train, I actually dread it? But year after year, there I am, back at it, trying again and trying to hit my time again. Because when I turned 38 I hit my best run, my best time. I got better. And at 39 I got worse by at least 2 minutes but that doesn't mean I won't show up at 40.
Remember how I told you that I learned to swim when I was 37...weeks before my first triathlon? Well, did I also tell you that the classes were my version of torture? They were at 8pm at night, in the freezing cold pool, I was the worst at it, I didn't have goggles at first, I looked like a drowning rat, it was all horrible. The teacher was so annoyed with me, I couldn't get it, and she was actually worried about my tri. She didn't know if I was going to make it in the open water. And, at my first race, I did make it out of the water, just to meet the bike with a flat tire and had to race over 3 miles carrying my bike on my back. Everything hurt when I was done, and the next year, I did it again and this time, I was the last person to finish on the bike. The last person to finish the bike. And the next year I did it again and then again, I have done four and I'm not done. The training at times is one and a half hours a day, I am exhausted, I am worried, the water is in the low 60s and that walk in, the feeling of sinking myself into that water is the most terrifying part of my life. But in my fourth one, I got better. My swim was my strongest, I made it all the way up the hill on my bike, and every time, I finish. Now, once a week, I hit the pool to prove to myself that I can. And just this month, I am swimming 1,000 yards and I am always passed, always the slowest in the water, but I am getting better.
I work for an agency that I believe in as much as I do you and this spring will be 19 years. You would think after 19 years in one place I would be perfect, I would get it all right all of the time but absolutely not. I make so many mistakes, daily mistakes. But now they are lessons and they are how I learn and how I get better.
In starting my own company, the fear drapes over me like the heaviest weight, but I still show up. I still go on and I have learned to be me with every interaction, every communication because that is how I get better. Staying true to who I am and trying and trying something in a different way, and messing up and learning from it and finding a potential solution and seeing if that worked and then going from there. Better, I am getting better.
Better takes time, it takes so much damn patience, it takes commitment, it takes want. Nothing will ever be perfect, you will never stop learning, you will always have to work at it, especially if you love it. Better is what you strive for, it's what your goals have to be because anything else is not obtainable or not worth it.