My daughter Lexi did Junior Olympic Gymnastics for 11 years: she started as a 5-year-old. I still remember my very first conversation with the coach. I asked him which one has a bigger impact on whether a gymnast makes it to the top--talent, or hard work? He said: "Neither; the only ones who make it to the top are those who never stop!" Of course, I had my own follow-up monologue in my mind: "Phsss, of course talent matters--and of course hard work matters." I brushed off his answer.
Lexi started with 15 girls in her Level 4 beginner group. They were all talented, all super-ambitious gymnasts with goals to get into the best colleges to continue with their gymnastics. Out of all 15 girls, ONLY ONE made it to the college level; the rest of the 14 either quit (once they hit the teenage years, they either didn't want to work hard enough or they had to stop due to injury. Lexi had to stop at Level 9 (college level is Level 10) because of the surgery on her elbow. She was devastated.
My point is that the gymnast who made it all the way to the college gymnastics level was actually the least talented, based on the competition results from the group. You wouldn't have bet that she would be the one to make it all the way to college. But she DID--not because of her talent or her hard work, but because she NEVER STOPPED!
Now, 10 years later, my conversation with Lexi's first coach is a great reminder for us not to judge ourselves. You don't have to be the most skilled or talented to win your race; all you have to do is to NEVER STOP!
Although Lexi had to stop gymnastics because of her injury (and, at that time, she thought it was the end of the world), life didn't stop. It kept going. Lexi re-created her dreams, and they grew to be much bigger than gymnastics. She gained new skills and acquired new wisdom through the process of reinventing herself, and she pulled herself up from the dredges of the very worst place she could imagine. She didn't make it to the finish line of her gymnastics dreams. However, the creation of a new, bigger dream was much more wonderful than she could have imagined.
Nothing in life is forever; everything keeps evolving. Even the majestic mountains are slowly but surely worn down over time by the water and the wind. Bad things evolve and transform--often into good things--and the good things can become even better. Therefore, when we are handed our lemons, we can be assured that they won't stay lemons forever. Eventually, they either grow rotten (and we run the risk of rotting along with them), or we can choose to make them into lemonade. The bottom line is that even the worst situation keeps evolving. It is ever-changing; it doesn't stay still. And let it empower you to know that WE are the ones who decide which way the development will go.
This applies to perfection, too. We try to aim for perfection, for that "perfect moment," but it would mean stopping the evolution process. The only person who is able to create perfection is our Creator, and He has already created perfection: YOU. Do you really think you can do a better job?
Nothing is ever really "over and done," including your SHINING LIGHT! You are CEO of your own life and YOU are meant to shine.