Tears, Fears, and Gears - Why Project Bike Love Part 2 - From Erin

            There are days I am overwhelmed with gratitude because of Project Bike Love and there are days I’m so overwhelmed with fear I just cry. Right now we are a couple weeks out from going to Paraguay and the days of gratitude and the days of crying seem to all be the same. I never regret what I am doing and I certainly don’t consider the idea of quitting. I don’t consider quitting because this project isn’t about me. This is much bigger than me.

            I often ask myself “why are you doing this” and I struggle with the answer… Am I working this hard just so I don’t fail and I have to hear everyone say “I told you that you were doing it all wrong” or am I working this hard because I want to succeed? Maybe I work this hard for all the other people involved in Project Bike Love, the people who believe in the project and me. I think there are probably 100 reasons why but what I came to recently is that there is one reason that keeps me going. This isn’t about PBL, it isn’t about the amazing people that support it, and it isn’t about the sponsorships and community. This is about the women in Paraguay. I don’t work for Project Bike Love; I work for Elena and Alicia. I work for the 40 women in Paraguay that are waiting on a life-changing tool! I’m their advocate. I am simply their access to a better life.

            I get worried about asking too much, about bugging people, about annoying people, and I struggle with it every time I ask for support, but I have to remind myself daily that I work for these women. I love all the community around PBL. I love riding my bike, I love marketing, I love talking to people, sharing about it, I love designing t-shirts, hats, stickers, I absolutely love talking about all the possibilities, organizing group rides, whatever it is, I love it! At the end of the day though, I do it all with the intention that my work and involvement in my community here will improve the life of 40 amazing women in Paraguay. 

            So quitting is not an option, it’s not a job. I don’t make any money working for them, I have nothing personally to loose other than maybe my pride or the embarrassment of failure. The truth is, I won’t fail in getting these women bikes, and I’ll sell everything I own before I don’t fulfill on my promise. However, that’s not the point. What Project Bike Love is committed to is building a community of people here that is invested and committed to improving the life of impoverished women around the world. We want to empower them, we want to improve their quality of life, and most importantly we just want them to know there is a whole world out there that cares about them.

            When I worry about my fear of looking bad, or fear of imposing, or any fears I have around asking for support, I have to remember that I’m the access for these women to have an improved life. That has to drive me! I do not want to ask for your money, or your time, or your help; I want to work on my computer, do the marketing, handle our public relations, have inspiring meetings with possible partners and build an amazing brand, because that’s what I know I can do. I guess that’s why I took on this non-paying job for 40 women in Paraguay, to do something I’m afraid of, to really live out there on the skinny branches and feel what it’s like to really have an impact. So bring on the tears and the fears. It’s freaking scary, but it is completely worth it!

-Erin