Throw The Football

Last week I had a dream where I was determined to learn how to play football. I was standing on the field at the start of the game with the ball in my hand, my team behind me waiting, and I froze. I went over to the coach and said “What do I do next?” and he said loudly, so everyone could hear, “That’s a stupid question.” And I said, equally loudly, “There are no stupid questions.” Then he told me what to do and I went back out onto the field. I crouched down, felt myself wobble a bit, and took deep breaths to steady my legs. I yelled “Ready, set, hike!” And I threw the ball between my legs as high as I could. When I turned around, one of my teammates had caught it and was getting tackled by the other team, which in dream-football-world signified a great victory! The crowd went wild! My team stood in two lines across from each other and linked arms, making a human bridge and I jumped into it face first, all of us shouting and cheering in celebration.

I woke up feeling on top of the world. Dream-me was confident and focused and didn’t let anyone dissuade her from figuring out how to do something she wanted to do. She has been my role model lately, because every day in real life I have to figure out how to do something I didn’t previously know how to do, and it’s easy for doubt to creep in (like the voice of the coach, except it’s your own voice.) This week, when I was having one of those What am I doing?? moments, a phrase emerged that helped me reframe it in a more generous and generative way: I am in the process of succeeding.

The process of succeeding doesn’t look like perfection. It doesn’t look like non-stop bliss or celebration or ease. It often looks like doubt or nervousness or anxiety, like not knowing how to get from the place where you are to the place you can imagine. So using this phrase, I am in the process of succeeding, reminds me that succeeding—however you define that word—is a verb. It is an ongoing, ever-evolving action. It encompasses dreaming, planning, collaborating, learning, producing, pivoting, resting, celebrating, and often a little bitching and moaning. So if you ever find yourself in a moment of doubt, feeling like you’re lost or failing, you can gently remind yourself that you, too, are in the process of succeeding. Take a deep breath and throw the football!
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