Over the past 9 1/2 weeks, I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions. It all started with the excitement of beginning the first steps to completing the final hurdle to complete freedom. This soon glided into the endless feeling of being overwhelmed with the amount of information that I needed to consume daily, which then lead to mental exhaustion that made me fly back to feeling overwhelmed. Then a sudden breath-taking drop came with the death of my grandfather, followed by the slow progression back to a level of focus that I needed to be productive and progressing towards being polished.
During many of the unproductive, completely overwhelmed and paralyzed due to exhaustion days, I wanted to throw in the towel, close the books, stop writing essays and stop practicing multiple choice questions, because I clearly was not going to make it to the end of this process better prepared than when I started. I did not see the progress. I felt that I was getting the same types of questions wrong and missing the same issues on the essays. I decided that I would just go back to my old life, my old career, because I was never going to be ready for this daunting exam. I kept telling myself everyday, “You are behind. You will never catch up.” When I needed to rest all I could think was, “I am behind. I can sleep when I pass!” I was angry at myself, at my lack of progress and at the idea of having to tell people that I quit.
Then after going months without seeing my son and days where he wouldn’t talk to me on the phone, we were able to connect with him on the iPad and I saw his precious face. “Hi mommy. Hi daddy. Mommy. Daddy. Daddy. Mommy.” In that moment, all of my stress, anxiety and fear melted away. The only thing that was important was our special gift. His smile, his laugh, his kisses…all of the things that I missed and the exact thing I needed to see to get my mind back in order. After speaking with him and seeing his face, I realized that I cannot quit because I have someone watching my every step; basking in my successes and pushing me through my failures.
My son is my WHY. For some people it is a car, a job or a vacation spot. For others it may be their mother telling them that she is so proud of them or standing next to their father who was sworn in as an attorney at the same place 30 years ago. What your WHY is does not matter, knowing what your WHY is does. If you do not have a WHY, you will give up during a breakdown MOMENT, instead of waiting a MOMENT longer and reaching your breakthrough.
After refocusing on my WHY. I stopped telling myself that I was behind, and instead I told myself that I was where I needed to be. Suddenly a burden lifted from my shoulders and I had renewed energy to make my WHY proud and complete the mission I set off to accomplish. When you reach that moment where you cannot go on anymore, stop focusing on the negative, pessimistic or potentially disastrous outcomes and focus your energy on the positive, optimistic, and successful outcomes that you have worked hard to reach. Focus on your WHY. Keep pushing for your WHY. Never give up because your WHY is waiting for you on the other side.
Your WHY won’t ever let you give up, so don’t give up on your WHY. Why you do this. Why this matters. Why failure is not an option. Why you can. Why. Stay the course. Persevere. Push through the pain. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.