A Why Bother Interview From Lauren Fleshman
I’ve been reaching out to people I admire to share their why bother stories – the times in their lives they felt stuck or lost or despairing – big or and small – and what turned things around.
Today’s story is from the fabulous Lauren Fleshman.
Can you tell me about a time in your life when you felt discouraged or defeated and wondered, “Ugh, why bother? What’s the point?” (It could have been about your business, your art, your political voice, anything.)
In 2008, I missed out on a lifelong dream of making the Olympic Team by one spot at the Olympic Trials. I had been living like a running monk, putting aside family and friends and outside interests because that was what was expected of me in my profession, and for what? I found myself unable to imagine going another four years and trying out for the Olympics again, but it wasn’t because of the training. That part I could imagine doing again, because I loved running. It was the other stuff, the way I was expected to live my life to call myself a Professional Athlete, that I couldn’t find the motivation to do. I spent a year and a half going through the motions, doing the bare minimum, unable to move forward in any direction. Unable to quit or commit. I felt really lost.
What brought you out of it, tipped you into bothering again? (Was there a tiny moment of awareness, a first small step you took? Something you did? Something you said to yourself? What’s helped to bring your desire, energy, and engagement back?)
At a certain point, I found myself questioning the basic premise that I had to do it the way I was told it had to be done. If I loved the training, but not the expectation to make my entire life a singular focus, what if I just decided I would go forth and do it my own way? What if I ignored the GPS instructions and felt my way there using the landmarks instead? This idea of pursuing a goal as my whole self felt so expanding, and it brought the excitement back. There was still no guarantee of “success” but the prospect of spending my days in pursuit got way sunnier.
What’s something you feel bothered about right now, in a positive way? What makes you excited to get out of bed? Share one thing! (Or more!)
I’m finally writing a book I’ve been thinking of writing for the last 6 years. Until recently I told myself I wasn’t ready, or wasn’t qualified enough. I decided to take the advice I saw on instagram “Lord grant me the confidence of a mediocre white male” (which makes me laugh, and helps me create more freely.) Similar to my experiences with running, I am engaging with this writing goal with an intention to be myself throughout it, and be proud of myself for bothering to do it at all!