When you don’t make the team

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Sometimes you’re perfectly happy looking at the sea from the safety and shelter of the promenade.

Then other times – maybe when you’re feeling a little braver – you want to get down there on the sand and maybe even feel the spray from the breakers on your cheeks.

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Sometimes you get down on the beach only to spot the most beautiful shell, just out of reach in the shallows.

You have two choices: go for it and risk getting your feet wet, or leave it there and be left wondering how it might have looked on your kitchen windowsill.

So the first thing to say is this: well done for getting down on the beach in the first place. It’s not as comfortable as being an observer up there on the prom and it’s a whole lot more breezy.

And a special well done if you decide to try and dodge the waves and have a go at picking up that lovely shell: it’s always good for us to push ourselves and take a risk, whatever the outcome.

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And when you do take the risk? Well, you might just win the beautiful shell, in which case, *enormous* heart-felt congratulations. I hope you feel pleased as punch: you worked super hard and deserve your success: a celebration is in order!

Or you may not have got the shell.

Which is so sad… I know how it feels to not snag the shell you had your heart set on: it can feel really quite crummy.

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So where do you go with those feelings? Not only did you not get what you wanted, but you have to see others go home with gorgeous shells to decorate their homes. It’s tough!

So first thing to say here: it’s okay to feel sad.

It’s okay to feel disappointed.

It’s natural – but perhaps an indication that it’s just your pride that’s a little dented! – to feel a little bit cross too.

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And it’s okay to not be sure what to do next – to wonder whether you’ll ever feel like collecting shells again.

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But I’ll tell you what: if you give yourself just a little time, you’ll notice that there are loads more things also worth collecting on that beach: sea-glass, pretty pebbles, bits of gnarly fisherman’s rope…

The thing is, that beautiful shell wasn’t the only thing worth collecting. It was unbelievably lovely, but if it wasn’t meant for you, then it might not have been such a perfect find.

Treasure comes in all shapes and forms. It doesn’t need to be perfect or impressive to be just the right form of success for you.

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So my advice would be this: lift your eyes up and take some time to notice how far away the horizon is, because you know what? There’s a whole lifetime of opportunities out there for you.

Some will look like perfect shiny shells and others will look like unremarkable seaweed-covered pebbles, but either way: there are plans for you and they’re good ones.

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It’s time to leave the pity party.

Time to stop beating yourself up that you’re not good enough – maybe you are, maybe you aren’t – but either way, there are things planned for you in your future that will bring you alive if you just keep looking out for them.

Things that will have you grinning with delight at the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and the sheer thrill of being alive.

Now get back to your craft desk, friend: there’s joy to be found.