Waitin’ on a sunny day?

Here is an email I received last week:

Dear Debbie:
I just signed up for one of your teas and I am so excited!

I’ve been reading The Spark for two years and I’ve wanted to join you so many times.  But I wasn’t  “on fire” enough about anything, and I’m not a success like the other women who are involved.

Last week I landed a new job, one that you could say I’m “on fire” about, and so I decided to take the leap to get more involved with Women on Fire.

So, I called and talked to this wonderful email sender and asked for permission to share her note with you.  I didn’t want her to feel embarrassed that I called her out in any way.
Because the truth is: I receive emails like hers all of the time.

All. Of. The. Time.

From women who hold back because they don’t believe they are enough yet.
And, their struggle always makes me a little sad.

We ask for and dream of a better life yet often hold off — from getting support, learning something new, connecting with others, struggling through, and even celebrating ourselves — until we believe we are worthy.

In the words of Oprah’s best friend Gayle King: that’s just koo-koo for Cocoa Puffs.

I shudder to remember how many times in my own life I stopped myself from “going for it,” because I waited for the circumstances to be “right” or “perfect.”

I knew four years before I moved from Columbus, Ohio to Boston in 1996 that it was the right move. Still, I waited – mostly alone in my unhappiness — for the sun, stars and moon to line up.

I wrestled forever – a party in my mind — with starting Women on Fire because I didn’t believe that if I invited women to a gathering they would actually show up!

And, my own waiting on a sunny day didn’t stop there.

I once walked into a party at Harvard University where I’d attended graduate school — and walked right back out.

In that moment, I lacked self-confidence, felt that I looked terrible, and I wasn’t up to being a charming and brilliant guest that night.  I needed to “have it all together” to be in that room.  And, I’d flown 800 miles to be there.

In all of these instances, I would have benefitted greatly from other women’s stories and experiences; their comfort and support; and their belief in me to have the dreams in my life.

Is there something right now in your life that you are holding back from doing or being because you think you have to be perfect, have it all together or at least be better off than you are now?

Last week I read excerpts I resonated with in the upcoming book Lean In written by controversial Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in,” she wrote.

“No one gets to the top, if they sit on the sidelines, or if they don’t believe in themselves.

With all respect to Facebook’s #2 executive, I’d change that to say “no one gets to have their life’s dreams, if they sit on the sidelines, or if they don’t believe in themselves.”

That’s why we are here, together now, in this place. We are here for each other in times of unknowing and uncertainty.  In years of struggle and figuring it out. In moments of joy and success and celebration.

Please do not think for one second that your life experience — no matter how successful you think you are or aren’t — will not benefit another woman here.  Do not shrink away because you aren’t yet clear about what you are “on fire” about.

And, there is no “getting ready.”  If you are reading this, you are ready — and perfectly perfect as you are.

When it comes to giving the world what you’ve got to offer, there is no waitin’ on a sunny day.  Your day is here!

What are you going to do next? 🙂