Back in early August, the September issue of ELLE magazine hit the news stands. This was the first issue with my new monthly column as ELLE’s Fitness Editor in it. I posted the above pic on my Instagram, noting that I was the teenager who stock piled ELLE magazine and dreamed of working for them one day. And finally, at age 35, this is where I find myself. Sometimes the dream takes 20 years. So how can you stay focused, committed and keep hope alive all that time?
Someone referenced that Instagram post in an interview recently and asked if I ever thought of giving up.
I thought about giving up when virtually no one read this blog for the first two years of its existence. I thought about giving up when I applied to work at every magazine going and got rejection letters from every last one of them. I thought about giving up when I was a terrible waitress. I thought about giving up when I was an even worse travel agent. I thought about giving up when it seemed like everyone around me was succeeding and I was stuck. I thought about giving up in a million other scenarios where I felt I just wasn’t progressing.
But I never, not once, thought I wouldn’t make it.
Something in me just wouldn’t quit. The ‘A-Ha’ moment came when I realised the dream isn’t always going to come packaged the way you imagined it. Furthermore, you’re not entitled to it just ’cause you dreamed it. You still have to work, you still have to get good at your ‘thing’.
Be like water, as Bruce Lee said. You’ve gotta be fluid. You can’t have dreamt up this ultimate goal and the way in which you’ll get there, then just stick rigidly to that. Life will throw you all kinds of curve balls. You’ve got to be willing to duck and move. You’ve got to stay open and allow for change and growth. You can’t be so sold on your idea that it’s either that or nothing.
When I realised that, and started going with the flow, all of a sudden, the Universe gave me a little smirk when I did something right, then a smile when I seemed to understand it more, then a pat on the back when I worked harder for it, then a ‘go get ’em tiger!’ in the form of my ELLE column.
You’ve gotta realise the road blocks are there for a reason. Figuring out how to navigate around them is adding something essential to your journey, whether you realise it or not in that moment. At times, it’s gonna seem like you’re taking one helluva detour. You might even realise that ‘the dream’ has actually morphed into something else entirely. And that’s cool too. Just be open to it.
So, did I think about it? Yeah. But actually giving up? Nah. Quitting just ain’t in my vocabulary, I guess.