Life is Your Catwalk

Unhappy People Believe This.

By Rachel Shaw

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Why am I unhappy?  880 people in the USA search this term every day. Why are so many people unhappy?   What is it that unhappy people believe that could actually be fueling their unhappiness?

I strutted down the catwalk…. I mean through the doors of a trendy b-fast restaurant last Saturday. My favorite Kate spade pencils were tauntingly pressed against my notebook in anticipation; on this beautiful day, in this quiet oasis, I was eager to write. It was while waiting for my table, that I first noticed the 20-something with a long sullen face and slouched shoulders. She quite clearly wasn’t feeling as sunny-side up as her eggs. OK! So someone needs to chug her coffee – that was my first thought. I smiled and stifled a giggle.

Across from the best Eeyore impersonator I’ve ever seen, her breakfast companion sat unplugged from the conversation. And yet she didn’t seem to notice as she continued relentless whining about every facet of life. And to think she also complained twice to the waiter about the overly bitter coffee. The irony was not lost on me.

Thankful to have 3 booths between us, I popped up my happiness umbrella to avoid the showers. I glanced down at my cheery eggs…..Ooof. Why were her struggles so much bigger than everyone else’s? And it seemed as if she wanted everyone as far away as Nova Scotia to hear about her miserable life. Quite frankly, it was challenging to tune out.

“Even when I am teaching, I have to put my ‘Mary Poppins’ face on. It’s not me.”

I almost choked on my coffee as I let out a giggle. So many of us wear masks in our daily lives. But Mary Poppins? It was a little hard to believe that this woman could pull that off.

And then after that spiel, she paused, stood up, and put on her jacket. And I was sure it was over and I could get on with my breakfast. But then it came, “I am just so sick of how life keeps happening to me.”

Ahhhh. Yes, she just admitted her “problem.”

We’ve all met Miss Eeyore before. Eeyores suck the air out of every room they enter. Their lives are always so much more tragic than the lives of everyone else around them. All because of a lie they tell themselves.  It’s the lie that “life happens to them.”

Looking back, I almost wish I had torn a page out of my journal and handed her a note with the secret she needed. “Lady, life isn’t happening to you, it’s happening because of you.” But we were not in a Chinese restaurant, and I am not a human fortune cookie. And as loud as she was, it really was none of my business.

That said, I know I have often found myself treading water in a place I never really belonged in the first place. But when I’ve found myself knee deep in my favorite shoes, cursing the water around me, I’ve chosen to take control and grow from my less than stellar decisions. I become stronger because of them. I step out of that sopping mess and constructively begin to use those ruined shoes to paddle. But her…no. She was waiting for her ship to come in. And it is never going to happen.

Ships don’t come in. We need to build them!

She genuinely believes that life simply happens to her, and so she stands there reactive to the world around her – which is precisely why she still apathetically working in a job that doesn’t suit her in the first place, and even so could be there until she retires. I have to wonder what she is really passionate about? What greatness is she missing out on?

Really. The only difference between the two of us is mindset.


“Shit Happens…. Make it work!” 

In fact, this mindset propelled the launch of fEROSh. Because let me tell you I faced a major hurdle in getting there! In November 2014, the fEROSh boutique was only days away from going live. Talk about excitement bubbling up inside. That was until an arsonist decided it would be “fun” to burn thousands of dollars of beautiful designer clothes. And although the perishing of beautiful garments in itself was a crime, I never painted victim on my forehead and collapsed on the ground waiting for sympathy. Instead, I used the 18+ month delay to expand my vision, further my education, and rework my plan. I’ve even added a mindset magazine (coming soon).

I think back to the wisdom of the classic film “Forest Gump” – Shit Happens. Shit has happened a lot in my life. In fact, seasons of my journey would make for a great plot line in a tragedy.

But eventually, if you want to keep going, you have to recognize your strength. I have come to own the fact that it is up to me to create my success. At the end of the day, the only person who could stand in my way and prevent my happiness was moi.


You have to be willing to get uncomfortable!

Everyone is afraid of something. Imagine what I could get away with if I chose to believe that I wasn’t in the driver’s seat… if I just took a reactive approach. I certainly wouldn’t be able to tap into my resourceful side enough to move forward. In fact, I wouldn’t have had to risk failure. I could have people feel sorry for me, and I would be “safe.” I would never have to take responsibility for an outcome in my life…. I would sulk, stick out my lower lip, and simply wait for life to wash over me. I would be washed up, and there would be no fEROSh.

But I can’t do that. I believe something different. It’s this belief that separates people who make things happen, and those who drown in their woe. I believe that LIFE IS OUR CATWALK.

Choose to work it.

Rachel Shaw

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