I enjoy my life. And I enjoy my business. I’ve enjoyed every project and adventure I’ve ever taken myself on, and I very rarely feel regret. And I’m fortunate for that.
But I’ve come to realize that I do feel what other people describe as feeling regret… that sinking feeling of just going ‘ugh I wish I could CHANGE that, why the heck did I DO that, what was I thinking, GOD I’VE RUINED EVERYTHING.’ Or something along those lines.
I just don’t consider it regret.
I consider it the ‘question’ feeling.
The question feeling, for me, is that feeling you get when circumstances told you you might have made a mistake, turned down the wrong path, or, let’s be frank, fucked it all up.
The question feeling comes up when your great aunt asked you if you’ve considered returning to a ‘real job’ (never mind, that your business is doing well and she never asked about what your business was up to lately anyway.)
The question feeling comes up when you DON’T have a great month, when you and your partner are on the rocks, when money is tight, when the bickering turns into that ‘You ALWAYS do this’ feeling and ‘I KNEW this would happen’ feeling on repeat.
The question feeling comes up when three ‘sure thing’ clients in a row change their minds, and when your health sneaks up on you as well as the bills and the busyness, and when you spend half the night staring at the ceiling wondering if sleep will ever come for you.
I think it’s natural, normal even, to have the question feeling no matter what stage of business you’re in.
I think the idea that we’ll get to a place where everything is ‘finally working’ and we can ‘calm down now’ is ridiculous.
(Not to mention how are you ever going to know you arrived to the place of it’s finally working if you keep sitting in that feeling (and creating more of the feeling) of ‘GAH nothing’s working! You won’t even recognize what success feels like when it happens!)
To all intents and purposes, I’m living a pretty dream life…
I have a business I love that does well. I get to connect with amazing clients, readers, and colleagues every single day.
I have a partner who I adore, family and friends that support and love me more than I even realize sometimes.
I get to have my dream schedule – sometimes sleeping till noon and working till 8 and sometimes waking up at 6am just to watch a movie and more.
I have gotten to spend the entire summer house hunting, snuggled up in a new city and a wonderful hotel space where everyone has done MORE than I could imagine to make us feel welcome here.
I woke up just the other night with what I remember Jessica Fletcher describing as the ‘Night of the Wolf’. (I know she was quoting someone, but I can’t remember who.)
That thought that takes over, often late at night, where you are absolutely convinced that you’ve failed, that you’re failing, that you haven’t done enough, and that you AREN’T enough.
The thoughts that say ‘you’ll never make it’, ‘you’ve made a big mistake’, and ‘you should try harder’ or worse ‘you should stop trying at all.’
Never mind that I’m in the middle of an amazing launch that’s doing better than anything I’ve ever done.
Never mind that my perfect dream home is already on it’s way to me with its lease.
Never mind that I was snuggled up happily with my man.
It felt like, in that moment, that all of the other things, all of the future goals and even all of the present ones.. I felt this overwhelming doubt.
And in that moment it seemed utterly true.
That I had failed, that I was failing, that I hadn’t done enough. That I wasn’t enough.
But see here’s the thing.
I started this story by pointing out to you all the reasons that I KNOW that’s not true. But it doesn’t matter. The brain plays tricks on us in that Darkest Night, in that question feeling.
And no matter how many good things there are and how much hope and even certainty that you’re doing amazingly and that you ARE amazing are present, you just can’t see them.
When we imagine our future, and we imagine how it will feel when we reach success and everything that we’re working for today, we imagine not having that darkest night.
And we forget, that that darkest night hits NO MATTER who and NO MATTER when.
You could have $0 in your bank account right now or $10,000 or $100,000.
You’ll get the darkest night and it will feel just as real as the person in their darkest night, question feeling moment who has $1,000,000 in their bank account.
You could have your dream job, your dream business, or you could be starting from scratch, not knowing which way is up.
And you’ll get the darkest night and question feeling just as much as the person who is the movie star with a waitlist of contracts of their dream roles.
The point of ‘success’ isn’t to get to the ‘final arrival’ place where you recognize your blessings all the time, where you’re living every moment without regret, or the question feeling, or when you can easily list all the reasons you’re living your dream life, that you’re finally where you imagined you’d be.
The point of success is to learn to recognize the Night of the Wolf, the question feeling, the darkest night, for what they are.
But a question..
Is it true that you’ve failed, that you’re failing, that you’re not doing enough, that you’re not enough?
Or is it true that you’re doing your best, that you’re opening and getting curious every day, that you’re designing and living life on your terms, and that exactly enough in everything that you are and everything that you do?
Night of the Wolf comes, no matter your level.
You choose whether it rules the night and becomes a regret… or simply a question to be answered from all the empowered enoughness that you are.
To your dreams, and your realities,