Some of the things that have made me feel the worst, have been things that ended up bringing out the best in me. The things I did not want to do, but did anyways, enabled me to do the things I always wanted to do. I know personally that I am thankful for the leadership in my life that made an effort to call me out when I was heading in the wrong direction. Some of the people that have made me the most angry, were the people I am most thankful for today. I had the worst within me, but when coming to the external, it displayed my best. Life is funny like that. I could go on and on about the irony in this, but I think the picture has been clearly portrayed at this point.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” It is a good thing other leaders along my way realized this. The uncomfortable things I did not want to do, did not align with my current self. They were not things I would naturally do. They were not things I could just wing, or were naturally good at. At the time, I did not realize I was preparing my future self for the things I would do for the rest of my life.
Once I did those things, and got better, it become less uncomfortable. Eventually, all of the feelings of doubt and dread I had before had seemed to turn to confidence. I knew I could because I had become those things, and they had become a part of me. It became almost like a reflex.
I remember a time when someone could make a negative comment about me or what I was doing, and it would bother me all day long. I would get angry. There would be someone trying to guide me down the right path, telling me, just to forget about it. Easier said than done in my opinion. I struggled with that for a while. It seemed much easier at the time to just get offended. It was not easier, it was just my natural reflex. After learning to let go a few times, it was like chains were broken from me. I did not feel imprisoned by those feelings of anger I felt before. One of the most awesome feelings I have ever felt in my life.
I remember the first time I was going to speak in front of a crowd. I wanted to do it for years, but now that the time had come, I was scared to death. I wanted to run and hide. It was crazy to me how I could have desired to do something for so long, and those feelings turn to fear when it became reality. Despite my fear, I was urged to follow through, and it was the best advice I ever took. I was even horrible that night, but inside I felt like I accomplished one of the most important goals of my life: I conquered fear.
No matter what point we are at in our lives, we all experience fear. We all have points of discomfort where we don't want to change, or don't want to do something. You conquer these emotions not by refusing to feel them, but by changing your natural reaction to them. Remember, emotions are natural parts of who we are. It is up to us to choose our natural reactions to the emotions we feel.