You've Done Difficult... Times Ten

Our daughter Alice was invited to speak at her high school graduation because she was one of the top 6 graduates in her class of over 600.  I guess you could say she's a one percenter.




Four days later she headed to Ketchikan, Alaska for her next adventure.  She'll be working there all summer before she goes to college.



As I sat with Alice waiting to put her on two planes and a ferry so that she can live on an island she's never seen with people she's never met, I asked her, "How are you feeling?"
She calmly replied, "I'm nervous." She looked at her watch. "I think I better go through security." A certain Englishman and I watched as she confidently showed her ID, put her backpack on the conveyor belt, and went through the x-ray machine. She never once looked back.
When I got home from the airport, I found Alice's graduation speech still up on the family computer.
"Don’t shy away just because a task seems difficult. When faced with a new challenge that threatens your confidence, look back. You’ve done difficult... times ten. You have already experienced fear, anxiety, stress, and all those delightful scary feelings, but succeeded anyway. Use that to remind yourself you can do it again."
This is a woman who practices what she preaches.

This is the full text of her graduation speech.
Learn From Your Successes
Soon we will deal with something terrifying. It is unavoidable, and can be overwhelming. What is this horrific thing? Decisions. Whether it is picking a major, or simply buying window cleaner, we will be making new decisions, but more importantly, we will be learning to accept what we have chosen. If you’re as worried as I am about making the wrong decisions, then I invite you to look back at your own life.
Years ago I faced a particularly frightening transition in my life.  I was advancing from third to fourth grade. Before the year even began, I was convinced I would fail out of school. I truly believed my life would stop progressing at the ripe old age of 9. To my surprise, the beginning of 4th grade seemed to pick up right where the end of 3rd left off. Hopefully you can tell that I indeed was able to survive 4th grade.
The reason I choose to reflect on this experience is because I am now making another transition in my education. Advancing from one school to the next. I’m not going to lie, I am intimidated and overwhelmed by the change that’s coming. But it helps to think that I was also terrified to do something as simple as starting 4th grade. Or just a few years ago, high school.
We all know mistakes have valuable lessons, but so do accomplishments. It has taken a lot of work to get to the point where we are now. Let’s not underestimate the value of our successes. We did not passively graduate from high school.  We are here because we worked to get here. We saw obstacles and overcame them. We got scared, we cried, but we still went to the first day of school.  
Continue to do great things.  Don’t shy away just because a task seems difficult. When faced with a new challenge that threatens your confidence, look back. You’ve done difficult... times ten. You have already experienced fear, anxiety, stress, and all those delightful scary feelings, but succeeded anyway. Use that to remind yourself you can do it again.
So whether you are trying to decide on a career, pick a major, or are just standing confused in the cleaner aisle of the store, recognize the strength within yourself. Use that strength to propel forward.  We’ve done it before, we can do it again. Alice's sister is also very brave.

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