I set out to find this place. To journey an arduous path to find a place of reflection and feel accomplished with my lover by my side. Instead I have found so much more. And I find myself not on the edge of Spain looking into the Atlantic. But looking off the cliffs of Moher into the Atlantic. It’s not at all what I had pictured for this journey. But it fits.

As I write this, I know it will not begin to encapsulate all that I have learned along the way. This moment though deserves to be captured.

Along the way to Santiago I gained an incredible gift. The ability to say, “it’s not for me.” My young adult life has been spent pushing hard through every obstacle. Plowing over barriers in search of this magical feeling of “success.” For a along time I thought maybe it had to do with my parents recognizing my success or maybe my husband or as pop psychology would like us to believe, I would suddenly recognize it. But 20 days into the camino it occurred to me that anyone can claim the success of doing the camino. You just walk it. And if I wanted to, I could just push through and finish it. But I wasn’t enjoying any part of the journey. The culture did’t fit, it was super competitive, and it just wasn’t feeling meaningful. I woke up with the question on my mind, “if this was my last trip with my partner, would I be here in Spain?” My answer to myself was a resounding “no.” So, I learned to say no. I gained the gift of true self acceptance. I recognized what didn’t fit me and threw out the idea of reaching a point of “success.”

There is a secondary gift that occurs when we are able to be true to ourselves. We give permission to others to do the same. So when I posed the same question to Michael it gave him the opportunity to reflect as well.

As for success. I’ve found that the real success in life is not what you strive for or earn for your hardship. True “success” is found along the journey and is an added benefit, not the finish line. Dave Ramsey taught me years ago to look at successful people and learn from them. And a theme I have noticed is that all of them reach “success” and don’t stop. Millionaires, Dave Ramsey himself, or therapists that have contributed to our field in great ways. They don’t just stop. Success is not the end point.

I feel a renewed vigor to return home to being a therapist, business owner, and entrepreneur now that I have more options and outcomes instead of some magical point of “success.” It’s become about the process of the business and helping people instead of making my practice successful in the eyes of other therapists. I have a calling again. One that I think school had beat out of me. School made it all about earning something and gaining recognition but those were never the driving forces behind my decision to become a therapist.

I hope that being true to myself on this journey has offered others permission to be true in their lives. It’s not easy. But neither is staying on an arduous path that doesn’t fit.

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