One of my students asked me to check her speech for the speech contest. I definitely need your help with this.
Do you have anything scary?
It may be ghosts, any kind of disaster, or perhaps your mother?
My mom is certainly my fear, but I had a much scarier thing. It was a memory from two years ago.
I was a leader of a school organization that promoted international student exchange.
It had more than thirty members. Actually, I had kind of confidence in being the leader at that time because I really liked talking to people so that I thought I could draw out everyone’s ideas smoothly and add my idea to reach the best conclusions. And that was my image of ideal leadership.
But I made a big mistake. One day, I acted so aggressively toward members who were against my opinion that everyone in the meeting, except me, became hesitant to giving their ideas.
At that time, I didn’t think I was far from my image of ideal leaders and what is more self-centered, I thought what unmotivated members they were because they didn’t say anything for the conclusion of the meeting. After all, the meeting yielded nothing. After the meeting was over, someone said to me, “Most of us can’t agree with you today. We cannot cooperate with you because you are autocratic. You made us feel unimportant and redundant.
I was very shocked. But I couldn’t accept that I was so autocratic, because that meant I was not cut out to be a leader. I refused to believe that.
So I escaped from what I had done that day and tried to forget it.
However, I became unwilling to hold a leadership position. I was afraid to be told that I was not suitable for it.
The following spring I quit the organization and joined a new one. But I didn’t go for the leader position even though I was asked to in order not to bring back memories of my worst day ever.
After one year, I had a chance to look back at my leadership experience. The speech competition of last year marked a turning point in my life . I often wonder what have had happened if I didn’t grab that chance and didn’t make that mistake at all? I wouldn’t have remembered that day at all. That’s for sure.
I recalled that awful day and came up with an idea for my speech. I started to think why I was told to have been autocratic. “Because they were all against me”, I thought. So why were they against me? Because… I asked myself this question over and over again. Finally, I found out the true reason why that meeting didn’t go well. And, this greatly changed my life because all what I learned I can apply it to any situation I face. Being aware of my shortcomings gives me confidence not to repeat the same mistakes.
Now, I am OK with being a leader, the thing I thought I was not good at. That is all thanks to my courage of looking back at my worst memory.
I believe, you ,also , have something you don’t want to remember. I know it takes a lot of pain to bring back bad memories analyze them. But please do it. It will help you get over it and learn from your mistakes. Be brave to look back at your past. That can change your life for better.