Two days ago I posted a blog entry which basically said, quit making excuses and show up. It was read and Liked and even shared by a few people. Unfortunately, none of those people are local or have a free hour on Thursday morning because they didn’t show up to my brand new offering, a Poga class in Newtown, CT. In fact, nobody showed up.
I know, awkward. Hmmm, do I just wait another 10 mins? Embarrassing. Gosh, how embarrassing that no one is here, I feel so stupid! Annoying. Dammit, I just wasted the 20 minutes back-and-forth and the time waiting – I could have knocked out my 8 mile run by now! Blaming. I need to be better about advertising. I need to be more focused. I need to be more assertive as a business person. Insecure. What’s wrong with me? How come other people have a mass following who will pay massive amounts of money to take their classes, while my class is so cheap and you get everything your body and soul needs in an hour flat? I’m a loser, a fraud. Angry. I bet everyone is doing stupid laundry or getting a $4 coffee or getting their stupid nails or hair done. They just don’t get it. Self-pity. Yep, it’s just me here. As always. Just like when I started my whole mindfulness study several years ago, I was the only one around me doing it, now mindfulness is the new orange. Just like how I started getting healthier with supplements only available through network marketing, then started selling them, way before anyone I knew was even on Facebook, and now MLM is the key to financial success for so many. Just like now I am thriving in sobriety while most people are devouring any study that will support their daily cocktails. Yep, that’s me, always in a different time zone – a lonely place to be.
So, the above mental acrobatics took place for a few minutes and then suddenly I thought, I am going to take a selfie right now and send it to my Tribe (8 of us spread out all over the country who have never met but are so close that when Bill and I rewrite our will I am putting them in there).
Next, I recorded a 4 minute video for them with some moves I thought they should be doing today, spiced up with some salty language and self-deprecating humor (generally the way my Poga classes go). I sent it and left the studio, to do my 8 mile run. Before I started running, one of the warriors from my Tribe texted back that she was really impressed. She said that if the No Show had happened to her, she would have left in tears and vowed to never teach that class again. I replied to her that I really appreciated her saying that – and that she is comparing her chapter 2 to my chapter 10.
I am lucky enough to have dealt with plenty of rejection. As a serial entrepreneur, a network marketer, a writer, a wife, a mom, and as someone with an insatiable curiosity and a stubborn desire to share what I have learned with anyone who will listen, I am rejected pretty much every day. Usually it’s not in as tangible and public (though today’s scenario is only public because I have chosen to talk about it here) a way as today’s empty classroom was. Usually it’s in the form of knowing of an event I wasn’t invited to; people not showing up to a party or meeting I have organized; friends arriving habitually late to something I organized or helped organize; friends/family rejecting what I have to offer, which I know will help them. Friends not replying to texts, or saying No to every invitation I offer (at which point I stop inviting, out of self-protection). There are big rejections, like when a book I wrote a few years ago was never published because every agent I went to said No Thanks (if they said anything at all) - that book is tabled as I am now writing another one. Of course, I have a whole list of job rejections. Going back even further, I was rejected from every single sorority I rushed. As a kid, I was rejected by pretty much every boy I had a crush on (OK in all fairness, I don’t think they knew I had a crush on them, but still - they wanted the popular girls and that was not me).
Parenting has its own big chapter on rejection. My Rejection Resilience Muscle has gotten so much stronger thanks to my children. Unless there is mac n cheese somewhere on the menu, there will be a rejection notice from at least one kid, about at least one item on the plate. Then there are all those annoying things that we are supposed to say and do if we want to raise our wee beasties to be decent human beings, like teaching them to use silverware and actually chew their food, or use their words instead of shoving their sibling to get what they want. It would be so nice if for once they replied, “Gee, Mami, thank you so much for that advice – I totally get why you’re saying it and I accept your wisdom.” (Actually, if any of my kids said that I would suspect a robot had replaced them so that would not be a good thing).
My kids each experienced hurt in the form of rejection this week. This is another way parenting is a great part of the Rejection Resilience Curriculum. I won’t go into any specifics because I don’t like to tell their stories for them – but the rejection was big enough that each of them went through some version of the thought process I went through this morning with my empty class. Going through it with my kids is harder for me than when I am the one suffering from rejection, because well, if you’re a mom you know – there is nothing worse than knowing someone has caused your child pain. I have to rein in the mama bear that wants to seek revenge and build something up into a much bigger drama than it was. I have to tell the mama bear who wants to fix everything and clear the path for her cubs, to take a seat and just hug and listen. I know, harder than doing an Ironman.
So this morning, feeling like the Big Reject, I mama beared myself. I did one of the things I love the most and I went for a run – my version of a big hug. And as I ran, I thought about rejection. I thought about writing about it – how awkward and shameful that would be. I mean, don’t we all want to look really popular and successful, and like we’ve totally got our shit together? Isn’t that what Fakebook is for? Dare I share with the world at large that hey, I have parties (class, my version of a party) and no one shows up, and here’s the proof? I get scared, and insecure, and angry. I am also a coach, a mentor, I practice mindfulness, I start and lead personal development programs. I speak openly about my family’s experience with suicide and my own decision to get off the boozy elevator and live alcohol free. It is not an OR world, it is an AND world. I can be happy and healthy and well-adjusted AND be insecure, scared, angry. It is not a BEFORE and AFTER, it is a Now AND Now.
So, here you are. I am showing up for you today, by sharing a glimpse into part of my day, which involves rejection. In fact, if you really want to watch the Rejection Parade, check out how many Likes this blog entry gets. (I guarantee you the latest article praising a presidential candidate or, rather, destroying the other one, will get a lot more social media activity because it’s much easier to engage in that sport – Reject the Public Loser – than to tell people how we really feel, or read someone else’s truth and hold up that mirror).
You may not have been in Poga today but I really appreciate your reading this. Thanks for showing up for me. And, more importantly, for you.
Motivational coach, athlete, mom, entrepreneur. I love helping people mindfully reboot their health & joy.