There are those nights…usually around 2:00 AM…when I’m lying in bed wondering if I ever will be able to succeed. It’s nothing new. For
as long as I can remember…even as a kid…I had these doubts.
That’s not to say I didn’t get encouragement from my parents, teachers and others. I just never felt like I’d really accomplished anything meaningful.
On the other side of this, though, is a wall and a bookshelf in my home office each filled with letters, certificates, awards, trophies recognizing something that I’ve done or accomplished somewhere…Vietnam, the Philippines, Massachusetts, Hawaii and elsewhere…for some organization that I’ve been associated with. So, maybe, just maybe…
What’s this all about, you ask?
It’s a reminder to myself…and to you, my faithful reader…that there are good things that we can look back on and be proud of. We’ve made a difference to someone somewhere. And that, in my mind, is reason enough to keep doing what I’ve been doing in my professional and personal life and…in spite of my decades-long self-doubt…find satisfaction.
This is something I have always tried to pass on to co-workers, to folks who have worked for me at one time or another, and…for the past going on 20 years…to students. We’re not…at least not most of us…going to accomplish something that will change the world or even society. But we can make a difference to an individual or to a community organization…smaller in concept but equally important.
So while you’re sitting in your dark closet with a blanket over your head, take a few minutes to think back on things that you have done with and for others where the end result was something good.
Maybe you didn’t accomplish the whole thing by yourself…as English poet John Donne said so beautifully, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
Or as our theme song when I was stationed in the Philippines with the 13th Air Force emphasized, “We all play in the same band.”
The point is, you contributed to success in some way, and you should be proud. You did it, and you’ll do it again…just believe in yourself.