These days, everyone is an Instagram coach or motivational speaker. This world is saturated with people trying to help others in some way. Unfortunately, a lot of them end up saying the same thing – just in different, more creative ways. The latest thing I’ve noticed is them reminding us that “it’s OK to start over.” This saying is nothing new really. It just stuck out to me because this is the exact saying I’ve been telling myself since December 2015.
Prior to that year, I had been beating myself up over the mistakes I’d made in my life and I didn’t think I could (start over).
I remember one night, I was sitting in my bed with my laptop open and my television on – paying way more attention to my TV than the laptop. This had become my new normal – getting off work and going straight to my bed with food and a slew of shows to watch my life away. I was at my wit’s end on what direction I should take with my life. I had been dismissed from my prestigious four-year university four years earlier (2011) and I’d lost my sense of purpose. I was an A student all my life, but in that moment, I felt like a complete failure. For some reason, I got the urge to search degree programs at local colleges, hoping that maybe one of them would spark interest in me enough to actually call an academic adviser. This wasn’t a new “urge” either. I had this sense of urgency at least once a quarter. I even convinced myself to attend community college for a while for child development after I had already gotten my A.A degree in high school. (I was a high achiever.)
This night was different though. I stumbled upon a college who had a smaller location near me. It was after midnight, but something in me just said “submit the application and call later.” So I did.
Before I could remember to reach out to the admissions office the next day, the academic adviser had emailed ME. She assured me that even though my GPA was below what it needed to be, she’d work with me. By the end of the week, I was accepted and enrolled back in school for my bachelor’s degree in strategic communication and a marketing minor. Those feelings of defeat was replaced with thoughts of hope and possibility.
That situation taught me how important it is to know that you can start over and it’s OK to do so. Many times, we don’t want to start over because we’re afraid of what people will say. We hate the thought of people knowing the truth about us – that we “should have been” in one place, but we took a wrong turn. (Never play the “should have, would have” game. Everything happens for a reason. You never know what lessons you’re meant to learn in those wrong turns.)
Honestly though, who cares? You have to live your life for you and go after the things that will help you be better – no matter if you’ve failed before or gave up the first time. We make mistakes but we can be responsible enough for that mistake to start over and get on the right track.
Sometimes, even the thought of starting over is the defeating part. I know what it feels like to not think you’re good enough to accomplish a goal. You failed the first time. You think, “is it even worth trying?”
But you know what? DO IT ANYWAY. That’s the only way you will see the progress in your life that you want to see.
When I was dismissed from the university in 2011, my GPA was below a 2.5. When I graduated college in December 2017, my GPA was a 3.8 and I was awarded my department’s student award – one given to a select student chosen by the professors and department chair. I had exceeded my own expectations. I did things I didn’t even think I was capable of. But no matter how defeated I felt when I started, I walked across the stage that day knowing that I could do it. I am capable. And so are you.
Now that I think about it, maybe all those “urges” I kept getting to look up degree programs was God’s gentle nudge to my spirit to not give up on that goal but go after it. Maybe you too have a little voice in your head nagging at you about something.
Whatever that thing is that you’ve been putting off, holding on to, thinking you can’t go back to, etc., pick it back up again, create a plan to get it done, and get to it!
Let me know in the comments below of something you’ve been considering starting over. What’s been nagging at your heart?