Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my Facebook inbox. I received an email from one of my friends. 2008, the year I... it read. And it went on to prompt me to complete the sentence. I needed no extra push. I immediately started thinking about it. Truly, this year is about to end any moment now. It’s just a matter of days. Yet another year gone by and what do I have to show for it?
I am very thankful for this year that passed. It has been a long year of self discovery and soul searching. I have to admit, I discovered things about myself I wished I hadn’t, but am glad I did, because then I could rectify them. I could deal with them. As I was going through my list of things discovered, lessons learned, mistakes committed, goals conquered, one thing shouts out to me! 2008, the year I... finally learned to step out of my comfort zone!
The comfort zone is aptly named. It is certainly comfortable, enjoyable to a degree, familiar, but it is a valley and while I remain in it, I will never ever make it to the top! I will never be a point of reference. Simply put, I will never make a difference. Now, if you are comfortable with being at the bottom, always looking up, then congratulations! You’ve made it. But, if like me, you know that you are here for a unique reason, and it is expected of you to contribute that uniqueness and to make a difference, the valley, in all its comfort, can be a very uncomfortable place!
Now, the question is, how do you make that difference? How do you leave behind that special mark in what you do? I find that, you cannot make the difference by conforming to the norm. If you are to achieve different results, you have got to be prepared to be different from everyone else and do things differently. You will stand out, and you will open yourself up to criticism, but as you stand out and continue doing things differently, and ignoring all the unconstructive criticism that comes your way, while you take in all the constructive critisism, you will eventually get good at doing what you do differently and will certainly inspire others to do as you do, and hence contribute your uniqueness!
But, most of all, if you are to make a difference, you have got to face and overcome that inner voice! You are so used to hearing that voice, it has become a part of you. You no longer question its validity. Sadly, you have accepted it as part of your reality – as your voice of truth! With every new step you take, every new dream you dream, every positive idea you formulate, that voice, your nemesis, is there to question you. “Who do you think you are? How dare you think you are worthy of achieving such a dream? Who told you that you deserved living such a life? What are people going to say? Who are YOU to make a difference?”
Well, stop and ponder: Noah was a drunk, Jacob was a liar, Rahab was a prostitute, Elijah was suicidal, Peter was a disloyal friend, David was a murdering adulterer, and two thousand and odd years later, we are still mentioning their names, seeking to do as they did! Somewhere along their ordinary, imperfect lives, they managed to leave us an example to follow. They are making a difference in people’s lives till today. All it takes is action! Put one foot in front of the other and keep going, no matter how loudly that inner voice keeps challenging you. Trust me, as you slowly but steadily make your way to the top, you will eventually leave it behind in the valley!
Thanks a million, Gemma Leon! You have definitely made a difference in my life. Were it not for your email, I might never have stopped to think about 2008 and might not have had reason to thank God for yet another valuable lesson. All that’s left now is for me to practice what I learned!