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The Struggle is a Gift

Why won’t this darn snowblower start?

I was frustrated with myself.  I had this grand plan of clearing the driveway of snow before my husband returned from his business trip.

I was looking forward to the surprised look in his eyes and the accolades he would heap on me for a job well done.

I suited up and prepared the equipment.  I followed the steps he showed me back in November.  But when I pushed the button, nothing happened.  The motor turned but wouldn’t catch. 

I primed it with two more pumps then pushed the button again.  Nothing.

What am I doing wrong?  I even watched a YouTube video to make sure I was doing every step correctly.  No help.

I wanted to stamp my feet and cry, but I settled for a muttered swear word and embraced my disappointment.  There were no accolades coming my way today.

When my husband got home he just gave me a little smile.  He could see that I was beating myself up.  “You are going to teach me again tomorrow,” I said forcefully.  He just nodded and went to shower off his trip.

The next day I dragged him to the machine.  I explained how I went through all the steps.  He patiently observed my movements and when I pushed the button it didn’t start.

“See!  What am I doing wrong?”  I felt so incompetent. 

“I understand what’s happening.  I made the same mistake when I first got this machine.  The diagrams are not very clear and can be deceiving.  The key is turned off instead of on.  Turn it and then press the button.”

I turned the key and pushed the button.  The machine started right up.  So simple. So ridiculous. 

“You’ll never forget again,” he smiled at me. 

He’s right.  I’ll never forget again. 

Growing up I tried very hard to be perfect.  I learned early on that I would receive positive attention for excellent grades and helpful gestures. 

The greatest rewards could be gained when I could anticipate someone else’s needs before they asked for help.  This was the start of my people pleasing ways. 

Snowblowing the driveway prior to my husband’s arrival was not necessary.  There was only a couple of inches on the ground.  The car was not going to get struck. 

My need to clear the driveway had more to do with the fact that I was seeking attention.  I knew that doing this one simple act would garner me affection and praise.  It would validate my value, my worthiness, and my purpose.  My inability to start that snowblower denied me the quick high that people pleasing can fulfill. 

I am so glad I failed.  It reminded me of a more important lesson…  Failure is a learning experience.

Understanding that life is about trial and error is an important lesson to remember.  This leads to growth and independence.  My need to please (had I been successful) would have denied me this opportunity.

I am confident I can start that snowblower and clear my driveway now.  My new self-confidence is much more satisfying than the quick pat on the back I would have received a few days before.

Embrace failure.  Embrace mistakes.  The struggle is a gift.  This is the path toward lasting personal fulfillment.

How can you embrace a mistake and turn it into a learning experience?

For more tips and tricks to Create Healthy Boundaries and Say NO With Confidence, download my free People Pleaser's Toolkit and begin practicing today.  

If you have questions about how Thoughtfully Selfish Coaching works, visit or if you are ready to talk 1:1 click here to schedule a 30-minute discovery chat with me.