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When a baby begins to take his first steps, he often falls many times. However, if you ever watch a baby attempting these first steps, you will see that he does not seem to stop and think about his fall. He does not see it as a failure. He is not embarrassed that he fell. He does not criticize himself nor does he compare himself to others in the room. He is simply in the moment. After he falls, he pauses briefly and collects himself. Then he turns his attention back to what motivated him to move forward in the first place. He pushes or pulls himself back up to standing, and then he tries to take another step. He has a goal in sight, and he knows the only way to get to that goal is to move towards it. How do others react around this baby while he is in this learning stage? They support him. They do not laugh each time he falls. In fact, the baby is often encouraged to get up right away and start again. And what happens along the way as he takes another step? Each one is celebrated. The people around the baby delight in every one of his small accomplishments. The baby sees the happy smiles, and in turn, smiles as well. It is a joyous process even though it is full of stumbling and falls. As a result of this process and all his attempts, the baby will eventually gain enough experience to walk on his own.

Now fast forward to an adult trying to take those first difficult steps towards something. Maybe someone is trying to adopt a new healthy habit such as exercising a few times a week, learning to meditate, or eliminating junk food from his diet. Maybe the person is trying to overcome a fear, a limiting belief, or an addiction. The person takes a few steps forward toward his goal, but then something causes him to have a bad day and he gets off track. When this happens, the adult acts very differently than the baby would.

Too often, when an adult meets an obstacle and stumbles, he is embarrassed or ashamed. He may criticize himself because he believes that he has failed. During those difficult moments, the adult might be unkind to himself. He might talk to himself in ways that he would never talk to a friend or a loved one. He may contemplate giving up because he thinks that his goal is unattainable.

We all experience challenges in life. So why do we not give ourselves more grace when we stumble a bit? Why are we so quick to give up on ourselves and the goals we want to achieve? What if we had done that when we were young? We would have never learned to walk. We would have stopped after those first few falls and thought that all was simply impossible. But we did not. We kept going forward. We did not let our thoughts and fears stop us.

As adults, we need to remember that not much has changed since those days when we took our first steps with regards to what we are capable of. We have always had the ability to get back up after we fall. At some points in our lives, we have all stumbled, but we learned how to pause and then continue forward. These abilities and this inner strength are already present within each of us. We simply need to remember the prior obstacles that we faced and how we eventually learned to overcome them. We need to remember how in those same difficult moments, we thought we might never be able to achieve our goals. Most importantly, we need to remind ourselves how we called upon hard work, courage, vulnerability, strength, and persistence to overcome those challenges. How did we feel when we were finally successful after reaching our goal?

We need to remember that forming new habits and ways of thinking is difficult. Change is difficult. This is what makes it essential for us to celebrate each of our small accomplishments along the way towards our goal. In addition, we need to acknowledge how brave we are for even starting our journey.

Stumbling in life is normal and inevitable, and each of these stumbles in life is a lesson for us. They teach us about ourselves, and they show us how strong and resilient we really are. At the end of the day, we need to recognize that each time we stumble, we are simply practicing how to get back up and move forward again.


Everyone experiences challenges in our lives. Illness, divorce, financial issues, death of loved ones, past traumas, addictions, heartaches, the list goes on…. All of these can take an extreme toll on your body, your mind, and your heart. But these events, these conditions, these challenging times are not what define you.

They are only pieces of your story. You do not have to permit them to create your final chapter.

You are the one who has the chance to tell your story in any way that you want. When you tell your story, you do not have to leave out the parts about your challenges. That would be like telling an incomplete story without important details. However, those details are not the main part of your story. They are just added information to help others more fully understand how you came to be you.

In the end, if you allow your challenge to become the focus of your story, it will eventually sound the same as many others since we all face similar challenges. Instead, try setting your story apart by focusing on you: how you reacted when faced with the challenge, the steps that you took to overcome it, the healing you have done to get where you are today. This is a much more interesting story because no one else has this same story to tell.

Your challenges are not your story. You are your story.


Why is it so hard for some of us to ask for help? Why do we feel the need to do it all by ourselves? It often seems that we don’t want others to think that we can’t handle things on our own. We are afraid that it is a sign of weakness. In fact, the opposite is true. Asking for help is one of the bravest things that we can do.

My experience with chronic illness led me to do what I hated most… admit that I could not do everything on my own. When my physical limitations prevented me from accomplishing something, it was inevitable that I would give in to my gut feeling that told me I needed some assistance. These limitations are what finally forced me to reach out and ask others for help.

Will the other people think anything less of you because you needed some help? Not likely. Will you be labeled as a weak person? Even less likely. So why do some of us wait so long to ask for help? We should not have to wait until we are ill, overwhelmed, stressed, etc. before we reach out. When we are young or new to something, most of us are taught that it is ok to ask for help.

- If you don’t understand something, ask the teacher. - If you can’t reach something on a high shelf, ask someone to get it for you. - If you’re new to a school and don’t know where your classroom is, ask someone to show you. - If you’re new to a job and don’t know company procedures, ask your co-workers what to do. Why is it ok to ask for help in all these situations, but many of us feel that it is not ok to ask for help with our personal issues?

When we are faced with problems in our lives that seem to be overwhelming, whether they be physical, mental, or emotional, we need to be brave and admit that we cannot do it all by ourselves. Asking for help from friends, family, doctors, therapists, coaches, and others for support is not weak. In fact, it is extremely healthy.

If it seems unnatural for you to reach out and ask for help, it doesn’t mean that you’re doing something wrong. It simply means that you haven’t practiced this skill enough. Give yourself permission to practice it. I promise, no one is keeping track. Not only will you feel less overwhelmed and be able to accomplish more, but you will also likely make deeper connections with those around you. Most people inherently like to be helpful because it adds to their sense of purpose, and it makes them feel good.

And so, I am asking for your help. The next time that you need support in any way, would you please be an example for others? Show them that it’s ok to be brave and ask for help. “We don’t have to do it all alone. We were never meant to.” – Brene Brown

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