It kept coming up in my Instagram feed, Abby Wambach’s book Wolfpack, so I put it on my reading list and powered through this week. It’s an easy quick read, targeted to women, reminding us of what we know but forget. And then I ran across the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt a couple days later, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” The combined wisdom triggered something inside me and has stuck around.
Abby’s book – cause yeah, I decided I’m on first name terms with her now – laid out 8 rules for women to follow. Only 8! Easy. What I noticed as I read through them is they challenge the traditional model of women relegated to the sidelines. The model that’s been propagated for centuries at this point. What I wonder is why we have a model to challenge at all? People, men and women are created differently, with different strengths, some of which are overlapping, some of which are complementary. What that doesn’t mean is that women are ‘less than.’ We’re not. In the Bible, women like Esther, Rahab, Hagar, Mary Magdeline. Brave, courageous roles. They navigated their circumstances with grace, in their unique way. Just like strong women throughout history. The created their own path – number one on Abby’s list. It’s easy to sit back and wait for someone else to tell us our path, to give us permission. But it’s our job to paint our own path.
I’ve noticed, though, that sometimes we don’t know what we want to do – or at least that’s what we think. We’ve spent so many years deferring that when it comes to making our own decisions, making up our own mind, it feels counter intuitive. We need to believe in ourselves (thanks for #6 – Abby). We are created uniquely and with God given talents. Imagine what it would be like for you to try and tell someone who desires to be a racecar driver what their life should be like, their path? How could you even? You don’t (or maybe you do) have that passion, those desires and needs. You’d send them down a side path, most likely. It’s not different when we relegate our lives decisions to another person. They’re not sitting in our shoes, don’t have our experiences or desires. They can consult with us, give advice or input, but ultimately, we need to believe in ourselves and get in the game. Take the ball, as Abby wrote, and run with it.
‘Failure means you’re finally IN the game,’ number 4. Boy howdy do I get this one. I’ve read before about the idea of failing forward. Learning from failure and using it to propel you forward. It’s virtually impossible to design a life with no failure. Believe me, I’ve tried. And I’ve failed, over and over again. Instead of being curious about failure, it has the tendency to break us down, to make us question ourselves. But we can use it. Abby talks about the shift from seeing failure as our destruction and instead start using it as fuel. Failure doesn’t mean we’re out of the game, it’s means try again, try something different. It’s inevitable that we’ll fail in life, what we do faced with those circumstances is what defines us.
As I reflected on the reminders in Wolfpack, the idea that took shape in my mind was that we’re not supposed to wait for someone else to tell us what we should be doing or who we are, we need to figure that out ourselves. But we don’t have to do it alone. We have our people. Our pack. End of the day though, there are decisions to make, paths to map out and that’s our job. If we fail, we fail…there’s virtually nothing that you can’t recover from. It might suck for a while, but you will recover. What you won’t recover from is giving away your passions and dreams hoping someone else will tell you what to do with them. It’s not going to happen. Don’t be afraid to try, to ‘get in the game.’
You’re supposed to be here, this moment, remember that truth. Your impact in your own life and on those around you is meaningful. You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing and life like you believe it.