By: Peggy Willms
(5 min read)
Writing your own book can be a lonely process, whereas writing a multi-author book can bring a quick, gratifying fix to an extroverted, quality-time love language, left-brainer (the doer) with a kinesthetic learning style person. Who just got her fix? Me.
In the last 18 months, I’ve been obsessed with cultivating a movement of connection and understanding through storytelling. It has flipped my professional and personal life on its head.
As a leader in the health and wellness industry for 34 years, I can use that experience and education differently. Gone are the days of slaving 80 hours a week in the corporate world trying to convince company owners and leadership to give a crap about their employees’ health. I would rather collapse into bed after working 80 hours to change and save the world. Grandiose? Perhaps. However, creating a platform for people to share their personal stories with the world is much more gratifying than begging leadership to listen to the people who are the root source of their bottom line. Instead, I am dedicating my time to something that will make a real difference: giving a voice to those seeking to improve the world. That, in my opinion, is much more rewarding than trying to convince those in power to listen.
It has been a climb.
Historically, I have walked the “Do the Right Thing” path. My integrity and value system keep me in line. But I do have a reputation for pushing the envelope a bit or stepping outside the box, just like a fifteen-year-old testing their parents by coming home an hour after curfew.
We must understand how it feels to wear other people’s shoes. What can we all do differently…more efficiently…more sympathetically? Listening to others’ pain points and perspectives means listening to their stories. I recently realized this is precisely what being a health, wellness, and life coach is. The infrastructure of my existence has been built on listening, sharing, and shape-shifting. It is and will remain my legacy.
It has been a climb.
Along the way of self-discovery, there is a natural tendency to push, want more, and level up while neglecting where we started the trek up the mountain. Most of the push to do more comes from our mentors, parents, or teachers. I play the same game. Living in the moment is not something I do well. Have I improved over the years? Yes. Do I have a tattoo that says, “Live in the Moment?” Yes. But do I still struggle to recognize how far I have come? Yes.
But I can sure coach others to do so, “Take a pause, relish in your success. Simmer in the moment. Celebrate.”
I just co-authored a second book with multiple contributing authors. In just nine months, I have been published in three books and freelance edited and formatted books for three other authors during the same timeframe. I will publish the first of a children’s series with my oldest son in just a few months. I am simultaneously working on a third book of my All Things Wellness series. I have the framework for 12 children’s wellness books and am beginning another writing project with another co-author while freelancing on two upcoming books for others.
Are there several “I” statements? Yup! Am I bragging or complaining? No. But the backstory lends itself to the point I wrote this blog today. It is about “me” pushing myself to climb. From the moment I pack my gear bag to the moment I scream, “I made it,” I make my own decisions.
Even when I navigate the challenging terrain to the peak of one project, I am already planning or executing side hustles. It is like someone saving money for years and finally going on their lifelong dream cruise; however, they are consumed in the cabin planning a trip to the Netherlands. I know it might sound ridiculous, but I am sick and tired of thinking I am crazy.
I know my busyness and desire to excel. Acknowledging my accomplishments has been a work in progress, and I have improved immensely.
But there is always another climb.
I hope you may recognize some of my behaviors in yourself or have a gentler understanding of someone you know who may be just like me.
I have been sorting out my jumbled thoughts and emotional peaks and valleys for the last two days. I recognize the issues; they are not new. My old programs and patterns are trying to take me out of the moments of celebration and launch me into other To-Dos on my list. I become very defensive when someone doesn’t see my progress over the years to enjoy the moments more and execute self-care. I realize they are trying to be supportive, but it can come across as if self-destructive tendencies blind me. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I am well aware of every time my adrenal glands throw me off the cliff of exhaustion. I am well aware that when my inflammation is so pronounced, it is difficult to stand up straight. This is caused by a lack of nutrients, decreased movement, and hours of sitting on my laptop. My red flags are increased migraines, reduced food consumption, and disrupted sleep. It is more than evident to me when I do not leave my office chair for dozens of hours at a time. It is difficult for many people to understand that it takes me more energy to slow down than speed up.
Accepting my behaviors and thoughts as assets instead of liabilities has taken time. People have tried to change me for decades, slow me down, and snuff out my drive and passion. At times, I have worked diligently to comply with their rules. It has been excruciating to do so.
Just this past week, I fulfilled a dream of becoming a bestselling author in multiple categories. Now what? Become a ten-time bestselling author? On the day of the launch, I got out of bed every hour to refresh Amazon’s New Release Bestseller list. With each click, the fireworks of excitement escalated. It was climbing higher and higher, breaking the Top 100, then the Top 10, and ultimately to #3.
But what did I do the next day? I organized my desk and shifted gears to focus on two other projects. Suddenly, a deep breath arrived. Recognizing my success, why I do what I do, and accepting that I am not broken. I stepped outside, sat in my lounge chair, acknowledged the progress of five new birds’ nests, and watched the gentle breeze dance on the lake.
I realized I had climbed another “mountain,” and I was sitting on top—doing nothing but breathing and processing.
Helping others is my fuel. My heart warms when someone shares their personal stories. I jump for joy when they realize their value, discover their voice, and build confidence. When we keep our experiences to ourselves, we do a disservice to humankind.
My legacy will not be tainted by others labeling me a workaholic, a person who is killing herself in the process, or someone who will never be satisfied.
My legacy is all about THE CLIMB. I decide when I gear up and choose to ascend. But this week, I decided to sit on the mountaintop longer than I have in the past, celebrating my recent successes. But I will no longer feel guilty feeding my passion to help others, even if it seems exhausting and misunderstood to some.
For some reason, at this moment, I have begun lip-syncing to a Miley Cyrus song — The Climb.
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb