When I created Tribal Cycling I had all these amazing ideas, crazy ambitions and wanted to have a massive impact in the cycling community. I wanted to support as many women as I could overcome their fears, empower them with new skills and inspire them to take on new adventures.
But when my personal life as I knew it changed without warning, and I struggled to manage the challenges that life threw at me, I questioned how I could carry the expectations I had created for myself. There have been many moments where I have struggled in the last year and definitely have not been the best version of myself. I have struggled with anxiety and depression, and my physical health has suffered due to stress as well.
I have let down friends, clients and generally not being the best version of myself and definitely not being the person I had set out to be. I’ve struggled with huge amounts of fear, and been very self doubting of what I was actually able to achieve, both personally and professionally.
I have wondered what I am actually capable of in almost every area of my life. I have doubted myself and whether I could run the business I set out to build. If I could actually be the person that supports others when I was struggling to support myself.
I questioned every area of my life and everything I am.
So why I am I sharing this? Because I have learnt that the most amazing humans in the world have ‘messy’ moments. And as women in particular, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be constantly kicking goals and to be perfect at everything, all the time. And when we aren’t we don't like to share whats going on or ask for help. Instead we shame ourselves for not being perfect.
I think we need to own our ‘messy’ with pride and know that it is not a reflection of the person we are. We need to talk more about our ‘messy’ moments so we can normalise imperfection and open up safe spaces for conversations about the harder moments in life. So we can all learn to be there for each other in a real way. We need to be able to talk openly about not coping and mental illness.
The last year has probably been the hardest of my life. But looking back I have been gifted with the greatest lessons as a result. Here are just a few;
Our lowest moments are not a reflection on who we are. How we respond to them is. All of us will have moments in life we are not proud of, but how you choose to move forward, learn from your failure will be greater than never failing in the first place.
Being open about our struggles gives others the space to be open about theirs. I can’t tell you how many times I have reluctantly been open with someone about not coping, and expected judgement, only to be thanked, supported and have them open up about their struggles. It has allowed space for me to help them and them to be there for me.
You learn who your true friends are and aren’t. The last year has surprised me with judgement from people who I thought were my friends. But it has also gifted me with support from unexpected places. And I am so blessed to have friends now that I know won't judge me at my worst moments. Yes they are honest when I need it. But show true love. And can honestly say losing friends hurt, but the gift of the new amazing people in my world far outweighs the hurt. Letting go of friendships has made room for new, extraordinary people to come into my life.
I have learnt to let go of expectations. Expectations of ourselves, how life should look and of others. This is something we all do so much. But by letting go of our expectations, we make room for the beauty that is in our lives right now. We get to connect with the people who are actually right beside us, live the beautiful moments in our day happening around us and we become grateful for the opportunities we do have and grab them with both hands. By letting go of expectations of ourselves, we are give ourselves more love, are freed from the burden we place on ourselves, and actually spend energy on growing rather than beating ourselves up.
Failure is necessary for growth. We put so much pressure on ourselves to never fail, when in fact it is the very thing that we need to do to grow. The greatest lessons, learnings and opportunities for development happen on the other side of a “fall” or failure. So embrace it, dust yourself off, look for the lesson, don't beat yourself up but embrace the opportunity.
So what now? I am excited to be looking forward, using the lessons that I have gained over that the last year and take tribal and the impact we can have for others to new places. I hope I can use my experiences to support others. And I hope I can isnpire others to embrace their ‘messy’