For the majority of my life I have experienced a deep feeling of inferiority. Most of what I believed about myself wasn’t rational either. I would get mostly A’s, I had girlfriends, and I was an extremely competitive athlete. But, for whatever reason, I couldn’t shake it my lack of confidence.
At 13, I competed at the National level of Trampoline. One event that year I competed in an under 17 category made up of 15, 16 and 17 year olds. I finished 9th in Canada!
I’m sure you would agree this is a significant accomplishment…
Well I didn’t. 9th place to me meant that I was no good. I quit trampoline forever that year because I was embarrassed and never believed in myself.
Fast forward to high school, my own self-talk led to a downward spiral. My lack of belief in my abilities became my crutch not to try. I gave up sports, academics, and interacting with a good group of friends. I actually started spending a lot of time alone and abusing drugs.
Sleeping in, smoking weed and skipping class became my pattern.
16 years old was the darkest time of my life. With few real friends, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone. I was overwhelmed by a deep feeling of depression and anxiety.
I want to stop for a moment…
I know some of you may be thinking “That’s it? A competitive athlete lost in competition and had some negative self talk? ….. Boo-fuckin’-hoo, man. Give me a break”….
To that I’d say, in moments of negativity, it’s SO easy to blow things out of proportion, to get lost in the story you tell yourself, and to identify with negative self-talk.
On the other hand, if you can relate to my story because you’ve either experienced similar thoughts and feelings or are currently going through a cycle of depression know that it will get better. You and I can change our thoughts and the direction of our lives.
You could be reading this thinking to yourself, he doesn’t know the half of what I’ve been through. And you’d be right. But here’s a sober reminder – Oprah Winfrey gave birth at 14 and lost her child. Nelson Mandela served in jail for 27 years only to become the first black president of South Africa. Beethoven was DEAF, yet created some of the most beautiful symphonies in history.
We all have the power to overcome seemingly impossible circumstances. And as interesting as it would be to say there was one defining moment that changed my life, that would be trite and dishonest. The truth is – you don’t change years of negative circumstances in a moment. Jim Rohn described my path to change best,
“You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”
Candidly, I believe my change in direction can be an example for a lot of youth. I am not saying that anything can replace the expertise of a professional. Depression is something to take seriously and I can say from personal experience that was my first step to overcoming my circumstances. I am however saying that depression, anxiety and a whole host of other mental health challenges can be minimized and CONQUERED.
My change in direction has led me to a version of myself that I couldn’t be more proud of. I see myself today as a confident and driven leader. In the last 3 years alone I’ve operated a business to over $100,000 in top line ARR (annual re-occurring revenues). Competed in business and speaking competitions that I could never have imagined at 16 I would have won, but did. And on January 1st 2017, I was officially part of the 3% of applicants across Canada accepted into this years cohort of Venture for Canada.
In the next post I’m going to share the 3 pillars of growth that made all the difference for me.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for taking the time to get to know me and where I’ve come from. If you’re battling depression, know that the best thing you can do is to talk about it. Leave a comment or shoot me an email or text (info on homepage) and I’m more than happy to help in anyway I can.
Till then, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”.