Each of us has the job of knowing ourselves. I always thought I did that job quite well. In fact, in knowing myself, I knew I did pretty much any job quite well. That’s me. My tombstone will say Here Lies Linda. She was Capable.
For most of my adult life, and maybe longer, I could handle things. I could solve problems. People depended on me. I stepped up. I always stepped up.
But for the past few years, I haven’t been able to get out of my own way. I had some problems I couldn’t seem to solve despite my best efforts. And then a poison seeped into my bloodstream, one that didn’t quite kill me but crippled me with self-doubt. My capability – and my cope-ability – were broken.
Self-doubt is an evil force. It whispers lies. You think there is no remedy. Even worse, you think you don’t deserve one.
Back in 2013, I talked to my counselor. “Everything is crushing down. How do I do a root-cause-analysis? How do I know what is cause and what is effect? How do I triage the problems to focus on the right one first?”
“Linda,” she said. “You can’t approach this with some logical, cut-and-dry formula. You are standing on a path that is strewn with rocks. You just need to start moving rocks.”
She said once I started moving rocks, I would eventually be able to see the way forward on my path.
Some of you might read this and think I’m talking about my marriage. Or my job. Or maybe something else altogether. You’d be wrong. Or maybe you’d be right. I’m talking about all of it. I’m talking about how I got paralyzed by self-doubt on a path littered with rocks.
Here’s the thing about moving rocks: it’s hard work. You start off feeling like you can’t clear that path and the truth is, you really can’t. Not alone.
But this is your path and you are responsible for the work of moving these rocks. You can’t ask others to move them. What you learn once you roll up your sleeves and start is this: when you’re standing there, scared and exhausted, crying, muscles quivering with fatigue, your people will show up. They’ll just show up. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t ask them to come or tell them you needed them. You might not have even known you needed them. Regardless, they will show up. They will be there for you, for whatever you need.
They will stay there with you, by you, while you clear that path, one rock at a time. They will help you by doing things you didn’t even know you needed them to do.
And you will be blown away by the kindness you are shown.
Then one day, you’ll wake up and think “I’m better. I am strong. I can solve problems. I can do what needs doing. I can cope. I am the person I was meant to be.”
Here Stands Linda, She is Capable.
I’m walking a smoother path these days and I am grateful down to the core of my being for the immense kindness and support I have received along the way, from family, from friends, and from people in the workplace. For your words, for your actions, for your understanding, for your patience.