Day 12: What is Your Proudest Accomplishment?
There was the time I published two books. And the time I was invited to travel with Oprah and her team as she filmed her Lifeclass in NYC and St. Louis. Then there’s the time I was voted a “Woman of Influence” by the Nashville Business Journal and a few months later, named one of the most eligible bachelorettes in Nashville by Nashville Lifestyles magazine. There was the time Forbes magazine compared me to Mark Zuckerberg. There was my first major speaking engagement, when I spoke in front of 10,000 women at the Women of Faith conference in Connecticut with shaking knees. There was the appearance on The 700 Club and being quoted by Ryan Seacrest and getting to interview some of my favorite celebrities like Jordan Knight and Daniel Goddard.
There was the time I became an aunt (twice!) and the time I gave my life to God and the time I was blessed enough to share my story and my heart with half a million precious women across the world every single day. There was the time I walked away from an abusive, damaging relationship and never looked back.
Yes, there is no shortage of accomplishments that I am proud of. In career and in life and in love, there’s a lot that I’ve done that I’m proud of. (There’s also a lot that I’ve done that I’m not so proud of. But that’s just life.) I definitely consider myself a very blessed person. But there’s one thing I’ve done, beyond all the achievements and goals met and dreams realized, that I’m MOST proud of. And that is my battle with anxiety.
Notice I didn’t say “winning my battle with anxiety,” because I haven’t won it. I may never completely, 100% win it. But I also have never stopped fighting it. And I never will.
I am a survivor of panic attacks. I still occasionally deal with them. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know it is NO JOKE. It feels like you’re dying and flying apart and losing your mind all at the same time. It’s quite possibly the worst feeling in the world, because it makes you feel helpless and weak and completely out of control. It’s also a cross I bear that I am a little ashamed of, as I think most anxiety sufferers are. Something about anxiety makes you feel like you’re flawed and damaged and inferior to those who are “normal.” Small, simple tasks to others, such as driving down a busy interstate or hopping on an airplane to go visit a faraway friend become great, big, giant hurdles and potential triggers. It’s truly exhausting. It’s frustrating. And it can really get in the way of the things you hope to accomplish and the person you hope to become. But, like any struggle or obstacle in life, it can also make you stronger…if you let it.
I’m proudest of my battle with anxiety because I don’t let it define me. I live my life and take big scary chances and I refuse to let fear rule the day, because I feel the fear and do it anyway. “Do it scared,” Sherri Shepherd says in her book, Plan D. “That thing that scares you the most, that makes you say ‘I don’t know if I can do it, I’m scared’: RUN toward it, because it’s so amazing on the other side.”
It might take me a little longer than most to get to the other side…and I might get there with heart pounding and hands shaking and knees quaking…but I’ll get there. And THAT is my proudest accomplishment.
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