One night in late August of 2001, I stood in a dive bar in Jasper, Alberta, surrounded by the friends and coworkers and neighbours who had been my world for 2 years. I was about to change my life, leaving the mountain town, and my job at a high end resort, to move to Ottawa and go back to school.
A song came on that perfectly defined that moment for me, and that has been a favourite ever since. I’ll warn you now, it’s cheesy as heck: “Superstar” by Love, Inc. Remember it? It goes,
“Everything you are today is what you want to be
So don’t be someone else when you be the best so easily
If you try and believe, my baby, you’ll succeed
And your eyes will make you see
You’re a superstar”
Yaaaaaaas. Yes. That is the STUFF, friend.
Everything you are today is what you want to be
I was very, very good at high end hospitality and training. I had risen through the ranks from chambermaid to supervisor/trainer in less than a year. I had worked my butt off and become a leader. I had made a million friends (there’s a high turnover rate in resort staff). I had worked hard and played hard and been fantastic at all of it.
Now I was going to a place where literally not one person knew me or, indeed, had ever heard of me. Nobody in Ottawa gave two figs about how many eight foot long wooden tables I could carry or how perfect my table settings were. None of my university professors were going to give me any extra credit for having trained dozens of new recruits.
But you know what? All that stuff still mattered, and still does today. Because it’s part of how I know that I have the capacity for awesomeness. Everything I was then is what I want to be. Although I was moving on to different and hopefully better things, I myself was already enough. I had what it takes to adapt and excel. That doesn’t go away.
If you try and believe, my baby you’ll succeed
Does this mean I haven’t made any mistakes since then? That nothing bad happened to me? That I haven’t known failure, screwed up, been through times that brought me so low I could barely function? Ha! Nope!
What it does mean is that throughout my highs and lows, I always knew that I could get through it, could withstand it, could come out the other side still standing. I had a basic sense of self worth. A sense that I deserve respect, not least from myself, that I deserve to create the life I want, and that I am capable of it.
I think this is especially important for us to remember as women. I’m actually getting pretty tired of hearing women tell me how uninteresting or otherwise inadequate they are. It’s an epidemic. In a world where we are mansplained and gaslighted and systemically nudged away from confidence and towards hiding our light under a bushel, it is tough to stay rooted in your self worth; a deep belief that you are enough and worthy of good things. But you are.
Does this mean that great things should come without trying? Nope. Believing in your own self worth isn’t the same as arrogant entitlement. Superstars still have to work for the things they want. Deserving great things doesn’t mean having them handed to you on a platter.
And there’s a difference, a subtle but important difference, between being aware that you always have room to grow and learn and thinking you’re not good enough as you are. You can be fabulous and still have room to grow. The room to grow doesn’t make you less fabulous. It’s tricky but true.
Don’t be someone else when you be the best so easily
How does this apply to you? What’s the most badass thing you’ve ever done, the toughest trial you’ve ever survived? What’s your proudest accomplishment?
Remember that kickass person who did that stuff? That’s you. That’s still you. She might be buried under layers of time and baggage, but she’s in there. She’s made it through all the crap life has thrown at her before and she will make it through whatever comes next.
You’ve done it before and you can do it again. If it’s harder this time, that’s not because you’re any less lovely. It’s because circumstances have changed, or you’re carrying some extra stuff. You might need a different approach or some extra help in the different circumstances but one thing you don’t need to change is who you are.
Because who you are is just fine. Great, actually. Reach for the sky and hold your head up high, for tonight and every night….
Sing it with me…
YOU’RE A SUPERSTAR!!!!
If you know someone else who could use reminding of the superstar inside of them, please share this post with them, or with your whole network, why not?