“Each step you take reveals a new horizon. You have taken the first steps today. Now, I challenge you to take another.” - Dan Poynter
Our journeys through life are never what we had imagined as a child. After all, life is no fairytale. Our paths are not laid with golden bricks or lined with trees that can talk. The sky is not always blue, nor are clouds made of cotton candy. Unicorns don’t exist. And, there is no magic fairy dust that can make all our wishes come true.
Instead, the road in life can be bumpy and riddled with potholes. Sometimes, our paths take a detour, and sometimes they lead to dead ends. Stormy skies may loom overhead with dark, menacing clouds that erupt in thunder. We can feel lost and lonely. And, we can experience cruelty and misfortune along the way.
I think about the students graduating from high school today. What will their journeys have in store for them? What paths will they take? And, what will their first steps look like?
It is difficult to turn the page and start a new chapter. There is so much uncertainty and fear of the unknown. But, if you flip back through the story of your life, you will realize you have been here before. You have stood where you stand now, closing one chapter and opening the next. But, now you are older, wiser, more mature, and more experienced. You have more self-awareness and more awareness of the world. Now, you might ask how you will fit in it. But, this is what makes this chapter the most exciting part of your journey thus far.
How you will fit in the world depends on how you see yourself right now. You might not know who you will become tomorrow, but you know who you are today. You are a culmination of every thought, belief, choice, decision, action, and experience you’ve had.
Flip back through the pages of your life story and examine old photos of yourself. You might laugh as you reminisce about the things you thought, believed, and did back then. There was a time when you couldn’t tie your shoes. You hated to share your toys. You were afraid of the dark. You were afraid of swimming at the deep end of the pool. You wouldn’t wear anything pink. Then, you wouldn’t wear anything red. You didn’t like your food touching on your plate. You believed in the Tooth Fairy. And, you believed you could fly. So, you broke your arm when you jumped off your bedroom dresser.
Looking back at yourself and the things you have done, you might think that it was a long time ago. But, it’s not. In just a matter of years, you went from believing in the magical creatures found in your fairytales to becoming a loyal follower of today’s social media influencers ruling YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
Look how far you’ve come. How differently you saw the world then. And, how differently you see the world now. But, at every juncture in your journey, you paused. In that pause, you carried the weight of the world and wondered how you fit in it.
With every stage of personal growth, it is only natural to have questions and concerns about who we are, how we are doing, and where we are going. To some, it can feel like fear, but to others, it is only curiosity. Curiosity can fuel our passion for creating our best selves and for creating our best lives.
Just as you are a culmination of your thoughts and beliefs, your life is made up of every step you’ve taken as a result. Therefore, how your life unfolds will depend on what you think, believe, feel, and do from this point forward. When you get overwhelmed with thinking about how far you have yet to go, look back and see how far you’ve come. Use your past accomplishments - big or small - as fuel to drive you forward and to keep going.
If you could believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Boogeyman, Santa Claus, and other mythical creatures in the fairytales you read as a child, then you can choose to believe in yourself now. Believing in yourself is the key to turning the pages in your life. Having the faith that you can and will handle whatever comes next is all you need to navigate your journey and fit in this world.
Believing in yourself is the greatest power you can wield in the fight against uncertainty and the fear of the unknown. Having faith in yourself will keep your mindset strong and your actions positive. What you think about yourself impacts how you feel about yourself. How you feel about yourself determines what you do. And, what you do defines your destiny. Therefore, positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes in your life. So, stay positive!
Self-belief is the magic fairy dust that makes all your wishes come true. Sprinkle it on everything that matters to you. If you have a vision for your future, use your self-belief to bring that picture in your mind to life. Let positivity fuel your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Then, let your self-belief transform your dreams into reality and create a world you fit in.
With graduation, one chapter has ended, but a new one has begun. Now, as you stand with your eyes fixed upon the horizon of your life, look for its possibilities. Be open to opportunities, as they often come in disguise and in unexpected ways. Stay curious. Then, step forward in the direction of courage and trust that you will end up where you are meant to be.
Live, Love, and Lead with Aloha.