How My 10-Year Old Niece Reminded Me Of One Important Life Lesson During a 22-Day Writing Streak

Challenge lovers listen up!

Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash

When I was 48 years old, my niece reminded me of one very important thing.

Since I was little, I’ve enjoyed competing. I enjoy winning, of course. But it’s not all about winning. I also enjoy losses where I play intense long matches or hard workouts. What I discovered also is that I love doing 30 and 90-day challenges. I find them motivating. That’s why a writing challenge, like Ship 30 for 30 appeals to my personality even though writing takes me too long. It’s motivating while serving as accountability.

These challenges can be addicting because they become a competition against others. While for me, they truly are a competition against myself. I don’t pay attention to the streaks of others and focus on my goal.

It’s a common mistake! One that really affects my mindset as well.

It’s how I describe some actions in life. I start to say, “I have to ___”. By saying HAVE TO I send a different message to people, including my students and nieces. If I catch myself, I change my wording to “I get to___”.

This mistake doesn’t happen often with things I find easy, but when I struggle my mindset does also.

On Day 22 of the Ship 30 for 30 challenge, my nieces were waiting to play with me. But I HAD to do my writing. That’s when my 10-year old niece got me.

“Tía, not everything in life has to be a competition.” -Brynlie Ciganda

I started this writing challenge to push myself and hold myself accountable. And part of my accountability was to have a change in mindset when writing. My niece had caught me in the act. I wasn’t getting to write, I was forcing myself to write.

I recognized what my niece said and thanked her! You see, writing is hard for me, but what a blessing that I am able to do it. In January, I wouldn’t have been able to do it since I was losing my vision due to a brain tumor. In February, I took a chance and believed my eyes would be able to see again.

Deep into the challenge, I am frustrated with myself. Writing doesn’t flow as it seems for everyone else. But again, this isn’t a competition! But I have forgotten. Writing is not a do-or-fail action. That is not the point of this challenge.

Not everything we do is a competition! And yes, there are things that we have to do, but changing the word have to get gives you a different perspective on what needs to be done!

Esther is a teacher, podcaster, digital product creator, and die-hard fan of the Washington State Cougars, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Lakers, & Osasuna. She splits her time between the beach city of Hendaye, France, and the farm in Moses Lake, WA. You’ll catch her using 4 languages daily & she’s also a proud tía (aunt).

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If I can do it, so can you | Midlife, Multilingual + Multipassionate Teacher turned Edupreneur at 45 | Daughter of Basque Immigrants & Farmers, 🧠tumor survivor

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Esther Ciganda

Esther Ciganda

If I can do it, so can you | Midlife, Multilingual + Multipassionate Teacher turned Edupreneur at 45 | Daughter of Basque Immigrants & Farmers, 🧠tumor survivor

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