Last week, I shared a story of Amy Pence-Brown, the bikini-clad woman who disrupted an Idaho public market... and millions of lives. Amy's Stand For Self-Love video has now hit 127 million views, earning the title of "one of the most viral videos of all time." When you come from a background of PR - an industry built around the art of getting noticed - these numbers would be considered a huge success. A PR pro's work is deemed a success or failure based on just these kind of numbers (average number of visitors to a media outlet that covered your client, number of tweets or re-tweets, etc).
But what if there was another way to measure success? This is a concept I've warmed up to over the past year. I had become exhausted by my own expectations of success - expectations I built by measuring my life in numbers and titles, then comparing those numbers and titles to my peers. And I Kept. Falling. Short. How had I become such a failure?! (Spoiler Alert: That's the wrong question, my friends. ;-)
These days, I try not to get caught up in the lives/successes of others. Instead, I focus on what I want - what my heart desires. This website, for example, was founded on a secret desire to rock a two-piece in public. I secretly dreamed of this for *years* and it took months of emotional work and healing to achieve this goal. When I finally did rock a two-piece in public (as captured in the images on this site), I was ON TOP OF THE WORLD! I proudly wore it several more times before the summer was over; each time, it actually grieved me to change out of my beautiful bathing suit.
Then, out of nowhere, Amy's video came into my life. The video showed the story of her bold statement, her bona fide performance art - backed by years of expertise in activism/education/art. The video was picked up by media outlets many PR teams only dream of working with. As I read these stories, I got very down on my own bikini reveal. Why hadn't I stood in the middle of Portland with a blindfold? What would it have taken for me to get this kind of attention? The farther I got down the road of comparison, the more nauseous I felt. And then I filmed a video for you all, and felt tremendously better. I was reminded that my bikini reveal, which was structured around MY desire, made me feel like I was floating on air as I was wearing it - and every single time after.
Earlier today, I watched my video with a friend before sharing it here. She admitted that she felt a twinge of jealousy this very morning and I encouraged her to share the details. Her jealousy was related to a vacation her heart has ached for (a trip to the land of her birth), and one of her Facebook friends had just posted about. (Side note: This is why we love/hate social media AmIRite?!) As my friend and I talked through her ache - where it came from, how much she's struggled to realize this dream - I felt her sorrow. Sorrow of trying so damn hard. Not seeing results. Not knowing. Not believing. Considering whether to give up on the dream. These are gnarly emotions you guys – it takes courage to face them. It’s a whole lot easier to let the jealousy take center stage. To ignore the secret longing in your heart (or to give up on it).
But what if you let the desire whisper to you? What if you take it into the sunlight? Bring it to happy hour with your girlfriends. Sign up for that woo-woo internet course you can’t stop thinking about. Before you know it, you’ll start to feel pretty restless in your cocoon. Your wings will begin to poke out. And when the time is just right, you’ll burst into the air, spread your wings, and soar.