It’s late Friday afternoon. I’ve just completed my first week of school and I’m leaving for the day when I run into the Director of Education. We chat and somewhere in our brief conversation she says the exact words I need to hear – “trust the process.”
I need to post these words everywhere – on the bulletin board next to my computer, on my refrigerator, and in the sleeve of my class binder. Maybe as the screen saver on both my iPhone and desktop as well. These words need to become my mantra – they should be the first thing I say upon waking up and the last words I say before falling asleep. Until my belief in their message becomes second nature, I need to say these words over and over again. Because if I don’t, what’s there in its place is DOUBT.
One of my all-time favorite TV shows is Emily Owens, M.D. It’s about an awkward, insecure first year intern at a teaching hospital who gradually, over the course of the one and only season, grows more confident in her skills as a physician and more accepting of her unique blend of strengths and foibles. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be at the beginning of your training as a physician as the amount of stuff you don’t yet know would literally be staggering. And though the mountain I need to climb to become a great personal trainer is clearly not as onerous, it still feels high and steep and challenging.
I don’t love this quality in myself…that I get insecure and full of doubt when I don’t yet feel competent. I know that some people embrace challenges; that they actually relish stretching their abilities and feeling out of their depths. I would like to be one of those people but I’m not there yet. On the other hand, it’s pretty gutsy to make a total career change at the age of 62, right?
Rilke says to “live the questions” since we’re not yet ready to know the answers to “everything unresolved in (our) hearts.” It think that is another way to say “trust the process.” There’s a Part B as well – yes, I need to trust the process but I also need to trust myself. I need to believe that I am smart enough and capable enough to do this well. I also need to understand that it won’t happen overnight. It will take time. In the meantime, I need to have faith and patience, put in the hard work, and continue putting one foot in front of the other. In other words, I need to trust both the program and myself.