Exactly 14 years ago I sat down across from the woman who would end up being my therapist. Almost before she had a chance to greet me, I desperately asked her:
“How long will it take to feel normal around food? How long until I stop binging and overeating?”
I needed to know what I was in for. I wanted a definitive answer, so I could mentally prepare myself for the hard work ahead.
“Well, it really depends on you,” she answered.
That was NOT the answer I wanted to hear. I was looking for an exact timeframe like: “1 year and 3 months” or “2 years and 5 weeks”.
She never really answered me that day and I’m glad she didn’t. If she had told me it would have taken years, I would have ran out and never looked back.
Our minds always want to know the answers. The mind loves to put everything in a neat little box so it’s pretty and organized 🙂
But life doesn’t often work like that…
What’s interesting is that I asked this same question when I began my business.
“How long will it take to be successful?” I asked my first business coach.
“Well,” she replied. “It really depends on 1,000 different factors!”
Again, not the answer I wanted to hear.
What my mind wanted was something to hang my hat on; some definitive, tangible timeframe, so I could count down the days until I was “successful”.
But the reality is that our journeys are never linear. In food struggles, weight issues, body acceptance, business, relationships or career…there is never a point where we say, “Yep, I’ve arrived and I’m done.”
This was/is the HARDEST concept for me to wrap my mind around at times.
I’ve really learned it so deeply in my own food & body journey.
Yes, I feel normal around food. (*And when I do get back into the food, I know it’s my own red flag to look deeper into what’s going on inside of me.)
I know there’s no “end”. (*I understand fully that we’re always going deeper, gaining new insights, and learning more about ourselves.)
In business, though, there is this part of me that still wants to be “done”. (Which is how I felt about food/weight/body for…oh, about 15 years 🙂 )
I don’t WANT to have to keep expanding, keep marketing, keep trying…I want to get to the place where I don’t have to think about it anymore.
This last enrollment for the Normal Eaters Club was a “failure” in the sense of numbers. I spent a crap ton of money on advertising, hiring help to run my challenge and investing money up front to help me make it back later.
And, overall, I lost a ton of money. Numbers were low. “Sales” didn’t happen.
When it all wrapped up, I felt deeply disappointed. I sat on my couch and cried. I journaled about it to dig deeper into what I was feeling.
That’s where the stark reality came bubbling up: I wanted to be done; to get to the point where everything fit in a shiny little box and I could sit back and just enjoy “success”.
But here’s the truth about food or body or business or anything that we’re involved in in life.
We’re never done.
That’s not meant to be bad news. It’s actually meant to be good news (as I remind myself while writing this post).
“You’re never done, so you can never get it wrong”.
Read that again.
Feel the relief in it. You can NEVER get it wrong.
You will always be eating & living in your body, so you’ll always be deepening that relationship with yourself.
And I will always be having a business of some kind because this is my passion and my calling. So I can never get it wrong. There will always be something new to create, a different project to get involved in, a new way to express teaching this to others.
If we truly believe that we can never get it wrong, it frees up our energy and relieves the pressure we put on ourselves to “make it work now”.
There is no end to get to in this journey. You don’t arrive at some point and say “Yep, that’s that, I’m finished”.
This is the illusion we all buy into: that someday we’ll arrive and be finished.
It seems easier, right? To just do the work and be done?
But if all you’re doing is trying to finish, you miss the “you” you become as you make your way through this journey.
Each component of your life shapes you. And our food/weight issues are no different. Through this, you become a new person. Yep, it’s chaotic, messy and ugly at times. But what emerges on the other side is so incredibly beautiful.
So when you get discouraged, feel like a failure or think you aren’t making ANY progress, read this post. See if you can remind yourself, again and again, that you can never get it wrong.
If you have a “bad” day eating, you end up binging at night, or you eat too much Halloween candy, take a breath, pause and see what you can learn from it. This feedback will help you make a different, more nourishing choice next time 🙂
The good news is that the journey gets easier and easier as you go. Same with anything (career, business, relationships, or food). The hard part is the beginning when there is a HUGE learning curve. But, stick with it and you get better at all the things you once found difficult on this path!
It’s Your Turn Now…
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Does it stress you out? Does it feel like a relief? How would your journey be different if you truly believe you couldn’t get it wrong? Share in the comments below 🙂