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How 2015 Was a Failure for Me

This is the time of year when people put together their New Year's resolutions and are so committed in the first few weeks of January to seeing them out. Me? I decided to skip my typical type of goals that I’ve done in the past.

Here's the reason why…

Living with diabetes I’ve gotten used to people saying, “good job” or “bad job” when it came to my health or the other litmus of tests that come with a broken down pancreas. But the truth is no matter how hard I’ve tried over the years…I never seem to get an A in everything. Other times I’ve worked really hard and those lab numbers never showed my hard work and persistence to reaching that target goal.

At a book signing in Sartell, MN for World Diabetes Day.

When I reflect back to January 2015 I had made a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish in the year. Early on in the year I found myself already failing at several of those that I had set for myself. A relationship that meant the world to me ended. The book that I had quit my lucrative day job for and had taken a job waitressing just so that I could write it…failed. Within 17 hours someone who I loved very much decided we needed to part ways and then I was sitting at work when I received an email saying that my book publisher was severing the contract because my books sales had been lackluster. Devastation, sadness, incompetence, disappointment, and chalking up another personal and professional failure for myself are the thoughts that raced through my mind. My dear friends and family rallied around me and reminded me of who I was and whose I was, even in these dark moments.

God has an interesting way of working things out. Soon after I was invited to Washington, D.C. to rally a group of people who would be marching Capitol Hill to advocate for diabetes. I arrived feeling standoffish, fearing vulnerability, and not knowing what I would say to this very accomplished audience knowing of my recent track record. As I was thinking of what to say I remembered a part of my book where I wrote, 

"We do each other a disservice when we edit our life story into an impossible string of successes. Perfectionism is not a strength, and vulnerability is not a weakness."

I spoke of the most painful moments of living with diabetes, why I felt so committed to this cause, and of the young, tenacious self that handed in her notice, sold her house, and waited tables to try to pay the bills while I would write late at night putting together ideas for this book. It was in moments like that on that stage in D.C. when I’m reminded where my focus is supposed to be. Where I feel like the very best version of myself, the most alive, and my most authentic self. 

The person who had introduced me came up to me after. He said, "I read your book last week after someone sent me a copy. It was an inspiring story and I would like to order 3,200 copies to send to our diabetes sales force." Wait...what!?! The first printing of my book was 1,500 and I couldn't even sell those in a 16 month period. Now because of this single person who I had just met, my book would be given a new life because it would have to go to a second print to fulfill his order.  

My parents, two brothers, and myself at Christmas this year.

Living with a chronic, incurable illness taught me a very important lesson early in my life; you will certainly get knocked down, but you must pick yourself back up. I had wasted time being ashamed of something I had very little control of. So just like my pancreas quitting in 1999, others had decided to quit on me. So what? Life was out there and it was time to get back to it.

My goal for 2016? That there will be no goals. Instead...

  • I'll lead my life in a way that will make those that I love and who love me proud. 
  • I'll make the daily, conscious decision to not hand over the microphone to others who haven’t earned the right to speak loudly into my soul.
  • I'll tirelessly work to be the very best version of myself that God created me to be.
  • To keep fighting for a cure for diabetes.
  • Never give up. 

 

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