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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Denver Johnson delivers the state sentinel's retiring address

Erasing the Doubt


In 1992 a movie came out about a famous artist and their struggles in the big spotlight. At this time the music world was using more special affects during concerts and This person didn’t like the light show, they didn’t like the smoke and they didn’t like the loud music that was put into their performance. He felt like all the special affects were taking away from the music that he was presenting and loved. It came to the point where performing wasn’t fun anymore and he questioned what he was doing. He was full of doubt about if this was the direction he wanted his career to go and if this was really what he wanted to be known for the smoke, the light show, and the loud music. At that point he decided to take a walk and step out of the spot light to follow his roots to find what he wanted. It took him going back home and revisiting one of the first places that he performed when starting up his career. Seeing all of this reminded him of how he wanted to perform and helped him overcome his self-doubt. He returned back to the spotlight and performed the way he wanted it to be, just him on the stage singing with his guitar. Today George Strait is known to put on one of the most incredible shows of all time. What would have happened if Strait had not overcame his self-doubt and left country music forever. Who would we refer to as the King of country music, how would we know what Amarillo by morning was, and how would we have known to send a letter to our crush saying check yes or no. Just like Strait we all have self-doubt at some point.


Actually one year ago I was sitting over in that section as a state officer candidate, and I’ll be completely honest after the first day the process started I knew there was no way that I would be become a state officer.  Everyone appeared to have prepared and studied harder than me. I had this self-doubt that I did not have what it would take to become a state officer. The day before the candidate process even started I wondered if I could even handle the duties of being a state officer. It was a Sunday, the process started the next day and I had this overwhelming fire in me saying I could not do it. I talked to my dad, I talked to state officers, I talked to past state officers and I talked to friends. I could not find any answers. My thought process keep going around and around and I could not decide what to do. I spent literally an entire day confused, stressed out, crying and lost. The only thing I had going for me at that point was that I was not alone. I had my family, I had my friends, and I had my mentors. These people did not push away, neither did they push me in a direction that I should still run for a state office or I should not run. The only direction they pushed was the direction that I could only decide for myself. And they all said they would not think any lesser of me whatever decision I made.


Those words meant a lot. All they said was no matter your decision I will still love you, or I will still think as highly of you. This made all the difference in the world. It meant no matter what, I could have my head up high at the end of the day. These people picked me up from my tear stains and told me that no matter what I did I would not be looked upon as any less of Denver. We have to surround ourselves with these people in our lives. If they would not have been there for me, I probably would not be on this stage with you today.


If you do not have someone in your life that will set and listen to you, wants the best for you and is there to be your support, then you need to call someone today and find that person for you. Someone that you know you can trust to be there for you, maybe a teacher, a friend, or mentor. Build strong relationships with these people so that you always have them fighting for you in your corner and maybe in return you can be one of their supports as well. You don’t want to be that person that drowns in their own tears and sorrows because you did not go out and find your person, so talk to someone today that will support you. Having a support system is a big step in fighting self-doubt, but we also need to remember that things do happen for a reason.


As a freshmen I competed in the Dairy foods contest and quickly developed a love for the CDE area. I’m not sure if it was because of the drive I felt from my advisor to do well or if it was just my love or cheese and milk that drew me in. My drive to compete was high, but my inexperience at the contest kept me from competing on the state level, and I watched as our team qualified for national contest. As national convention drew near a couple individuals on the national team had unexpected events come up and they would not be able to compete. I knew my advisor would be on the hunt for individuals to fill those spots and I also knew that my name would have to come close to the top because of my performance at districts the year before. As I heard the news I walked directly to the ag room, I actually think it was more of a slow run or trot because I was so anxious to tell my advisor I was ready to compete on the national level. As I walked into the ag room I still remember the heart dropping feeling as I watched Mr. Gillespie’s office door shut with Mr. Gillespie, the original state Dairy foods team and two more individuals in inside. I knew exactly what was being discussed and it left me with a sickening feeling. One of those girls in there had a score identical to mine at our district contest, but he chose her.


I could not grasp it. Mr. Gillespie did not even talk to me or anything. Not even being suggested for a position for the contest that I loved was heart breaking. I began to doubt  myself and wonder why I wasn’t good enough.  I spoke with dad later about the situation and I told him how hurt I was that I did not make it. I told him how I worked so hard and did not even get the opportunity to prove myself again. That’s when dad told me something that he had said many times before, and it was not till later that I fully understood and excepted it. He said, everything happens for a reason. When dad said that I think my mind had tuned him out because my frustration and disappointment did not fade. It look me until this year to fully understand that everything really does happens for a reason. As a junior I went on to compete in dairy foods at state contest and placed first as a team and first as an individual. That next fall at national convention our team placed 5th in the nation, and I 4th high individual in the country. If Mr. Gillespie would have chosen me to compete at nationals my sophomore year, I would have never got the opportunity to win state and place 4th in the country.


I’m sure if we all look back into our lives we can find a moment that we did not get what we wanted or what we thought we deserved. And I bet that there is a lot of people here that can tell you that something else better for them came out that situation that did not go to plan. Maybe we did not get that chapter office, maybe we did not win that competition or we just failed at something. These things happen for a reason, and we must figure out what that reason is before it is too late. If something doesn’t go our way don’t let self-doubt allow you to give up. Keep moving, keep working; it’s likely that things worked out that way for a reason. Excepting that everything happens for a reason and having a support group sometimes still doesn’t get rid of our self-doubt. Sometimes we have people working against us as well as ourselves.


As a state officer we are taught a lot of things in a short amount of time. The thing that I struggled with the most was learning the techniques of putting on a workshop.  There are so many variables that go into a workshop that a regular person would not think about. Last summer I had no idea how all these variables fit together, and I struggled to understand all of them. But slowly, I began to see how all the pieces fit together and I was able to construct a workshop by myself. One afternoon I found myself stuck on choosing a activity to use for a workshop I was giving later that week. My mind was blank, so I decided to reach out for help. I went to an individual that I knew would have some ideas for me. I presented them with my dilemma and while explaining my problem they nodded caringly  and with understanding. Once I asked for help they looked at me and said,” Yes, I can help you, but I should not have to help you.” At this point I was confused. I said, what do you mean you shouldn’t have to help me? I was then given a long lecture telling me I was a state officer, and I should know the answer to the problem without asking. They also implied that I was not your typical state officer and that I did not fit the mold. At this point I was furious, and I said that I was sorry to have bothered them and let it be. The next time I needed to ask for help all I could hear in my head was them saying you should not need to ask for help, and I began to wonder again if I really had what it took to be a state officer. Every time after that when a was told, good job on the workshop, or that was a really good blog, I couldn’t help but wonder if they really meant that or were they just telling me that because the “State officer” needed that encouragement because he does not have what it takes.


A few months ago I was worried about giving a speech at a chapter banquet, and these thoughts emerged into my head once more. I called my dad to have him help me talk through it. And at one point I said I can’t do it dad, I just can’t. He Said, well I know you can do it because I believe in you and I know a list of others that also know you can do it. It took me some time to process this but as I thought about it more, those words from my dad began to drown out all the bad thing that other person had planted inside of me.


It’s funny how we all have these people in our corner cheering us on, helping us along and giving us the encouragement we need, then it only takes one person to tear us down to nothing. Why is it so easy for us to believe all the negative things and not all the good things? Chances are that if we weighed the good and the bad against one another the good will always win, but we can’t see it. If we could block all bad thing from our heads we could then focus on the person that we really are and shine that way. Think about the high that we all get when we win a basketball game, get an A on a test, or when someone tells you that they are proud of you. At that point we feel like we can conquer the world and anything we put our mind too, but as soon as someone says you aren’t good enough or you don’t have what it takes, it then becomes hard to even get out of bed because you are worried that person is right.


When overcoming self-doubt blocking out these negative comments can be one of the hardest parts to the process. This is the one that hurts the most, and can damage your selfasteam the most. But as hard as it is we have to remember to focus on the good, and look for the encouragement and block out the negative.


Self-doubt comes knocking on our doors at some of the worse times in our lives, and this can tear us down to the point where we feel like we have nothing. It can come in the form of rejection, failure, or having someone knock us down. The way we handle these situations are the things that define the person that we truly are. So when met with this self-doubt remember to find your support group to help guied you through your struggles. And when we don’t understand why something happens to us, sometimes it’s best not to understand and exept that it happened for some reason outside of our control and of a larger power. And when a person comes along and says you are not good enough, we have to remember the good things. Block out all the things that have torn us down and leave them in the past, we don’t need that nor does any person deserve that. You can overcome your self-doubt.

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