How easy it is to forget lessons we have once learned before.

For me it’s the lesson of being okay with being imperfect. Too often I criticize myself for not taking the right action, or saying the right thing; to a point where I cause myself internal anxiety because I’m afraid to act without thinking thoroughly beforehand. This came to light today as I interviewed my mentor, Stephanie Jackman. I just want to take a moment and give praise to this woman. She began her own not for profit organization back in 2008 called REAP Calgary. The organization promotes local businesses that are taking iniatives towards being sustainable, whether that be through meeting environmental criteria, paying their employees living wages, or taking part in some other best practice that meets REAP’s certification standards. She began with 3 local businesses, and now has over 50 certified members with 600 more waiting to be processed.

When I spoke with Stephanie today, I was awed at her confidence, and her knowledge of systems thinking. This stands in contrast to myself today, as I was extremely anxious meeting her. I woke up this morning hoping that the interview would go well, and that she would be open to taking me on as a mentee into the future. I wanted this so badly that I became nervous that I wouldn’t perform perfectly in the interview, and this in turn transformed itself into anxiety. So as I sat at Higher Ground waiting for her I felt my stomach churning with that uncomfortable feeling of anxiety. Luckily for me she arrived with a smile on her face, and conversation did flow quite smoothly. Unfortunately, that anxiety I had felt earlier did manifest at different parts of our conversation. My anxiety led me to doubt myself and not talk confidently, and that fear ceased up my brain. At those times I found find myself becoming tongue tied as I tried to articulate my questions and ideas. It was a bit frustrating. Now luckily for me Stephanie was very understanding and her listening skills allowed her to understand what I was trying to say most of the time. I don’t know if it was my upbeat attitude, or something else at play, but when I asked to meet with her again after my conference she did say yes. She also offered to introduce me to local business owners, and to other sustainability experts if I needed introductions. So very cool. And later at work I opened my email, and she had sent me an email thanking me for the discussion, and she attached an application for another leadership program for youth similar to the Impact conference I’m going to! So needless to say, I think she’s awesome.

Anyways, back to my point. I finished reading Island today, and a rush of insight came to me upon the conclusion of the novel . This insight related to knowledge that I had once possessed, yet forgotten. So what did I remember? I remembered that whatever life brings me, I must continually strive to be at peace with my inner self. I am an individual living in a world that is mostly out of my control. Good and bad things will happen to me, but regardless of what happens to me, I can choose to control the way I feel about them by understanding that I choose my own perspective. This is living with self awareness. By understanding why I feel the way I feel, I can then use that understanding to overcome any feelings of anxiety, hate, depression, etc. Bad things are happening in the world, and I will continue putting pressure on myself to solve these problems, but living in fear is not going to get me anywhere. I have to be my best self, with strong body and mind, because only then will I be able to inspire others to walk with me and make the world a better place for all.