We Can All Achieve Much More Than We Think
Have you ever been in that place where you thought: “I cannot make this, this is too much for me”? We all sometimes get there. We all get insecure from time to time, we become hesitant and maybe even start to believe that it is true. “Who do I think I am? I will never make this..”.
Let me share an old story. This story goes back to the time when I first saw, how much mistaken we are. It was a proof that I personally can do much more than I think. And if it is true for me, I bet it is true for you as well. All we need to do is step into the opportunity or challenge and not run away.
It was in 1993, I was only 20 years old and my country was breathing in the freshness and beauty of new freedom and democracy after a long time of socialistic era. It has been already 4 years since the Velvet revolution and collapse of the Soviet “Eastern block”, but the “BIG” world still seemed to be very distant, unachievable and expensive for the majority of ordinary people at that time. I was a part of that majority. An ordinary girl from small town, from average, not wealthy family, with the vision of mediocre future. I was taught to be mediocre, not stand out.
At that time I was finishing my studies of economics and foreign languages. I loved English language and for that reason applied for a pilot educational course fully run in English. The name of the program was Applied Economics and was delivered for free by an international not-for-profit organization Junior Achievement.
The course was good, we had a great teacher and everything was slowly progressing to final exams. And at that time, very unexpectedly, a competition was announced to choose 4 students out of approx. 2000 that will represent Czech Republic at International Student Forum in the USA. Everything paid for.
It left me totally calm. With my vision of mediocre future I “knew” this was not for me. And I spent the night before the competition in a bar with my friends. The next day after the interview I was leaving the room with feeling awkward, I thought it went horrible and I forgot about the whole thing when I closed the door. I already told you I “knew” it was not for me.
And then it happened. They came to me and said I won. And I would go to the "Big America". And that my task was going to deliver a speech to over 2000 students from 80 different countries, in English, with a legendary figure of Czech Business, Mr. Thomas Bata (it is the worldwide shoe-making company, you might know).
At first, I laughed at this silly idea. No way! This is way too much for me! I did not believe they were serious.
An after a couple days, I got a gust of cold terror. They are serious. Me? Really?? Speaking in public?? With such a legendary man??? What am I going to say? How am I going to breathe?? A naturally modest and shy girl with a zero experience in public speaking and horrible stage fright. I can never make this! And so I did what I could to escape from that. It did not help. The man who has chosen me for this task, only said “I believe you will make it!” and the discussion was over.
And so I followed the instructions and bought a nice black cocktail dress – the very first cocktail dress in my life – and got off. Our plane landed in Indiana late at night. And I loved every minute. It was even better than in my imagination. A whole new world. New people, new customs, inspirations, experience. I was excited. We met the delegation of all-time-singing Mexican students, dancing Jamaicans, self-confident Americans and we did well. Moment by moment we were imprinting these precious moments into our hearts.
And by that time I knew I would not escape. We have prepared the speech and the third day of the conference, I dressed up and stepped on the stage. I do not know how I was breathing neither how I managed to articulate my words. My whole body was shaking and I was convinced it must be visible on the huge screen behind me. I invited Mr. Bata and when he came to me, he gave me a warm hug and with proud patriotism thanked me in our native language.
I left the stage, took one more deep breath and I knew that those five minutes gave me more than all those years of theory, more than jumping with my parachute. I knew I CAN MAKE IT! That I can make much more than what I would dare to think.
That day really changed my life. I have discovered a whole new universe, that has never disappeared again. Did I ever get insecure again? Oh, yes. Million times. Was it easy ever since? No! Sometimes it was god damn difficult. But it is ok. It is still worth trying!! Because you never know what will be in the end.
Since this day I believe that not only I can do much more than I think, but everybody can.
And I have seen it, in reality, many times in my coaching practice.
So whenever you catch this thought “I cannot make this / It is too much / Who do you think I am?”, just take a deep breath, try and see.
Maybe you will be surprised!
With all my love,
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