The year started off with a bang. After New Years I quit my job, sold the rest of my things and moved out of my basement apartment in Vancouver next to Queen Elizabeth Park. It was a sprint from the blocks. There was no turning back or thinking this through in much detail. The “what if?” would be a dangerous place to go. I knew this was the next step, but the challenges that lie ahead could be daunting. It felt like jumping into a pool that was bottomless. Maybe this would all be a big flop and I’d be back on the West Coast in a few months.
Friends sent me off and wished me well. There were some good laughs and tears at that gathering at the airports. It was emotional. I knew I’d see them again, and the celebration would be wonderful, but for now it would be goodbye. I felt like Frodo heading out of the peaceful Shire off into the wilderness, into the great unknown. I knew deep down the experience would be good for me, but I didn’t know how it would go, the challenges I would face and how it would all end up. Sydney was a big place. A concrete jungle of sorts. Hillsong International Leadership College was where I was going. It sounded good on paper, but my first impression sure felt different.
Recovering, and on the up. I was feeling drained. 2015 was quite a year. I had a motto that I held onto that got me through some of my most challenging times: Never give up. It surprisingly pulled me through those times I needed just a bit more juice. My family had experienced a tragedy losing my sister’s daughter, Florence Marigold. She was so young, and had suffered terribly throughout her life. That along with other challenges I had faced personally made it a year of endurance. It broke me and reshaped me, and prepared me for what lie ahead.
This year presented some big challenges. I faced personal endurances because of poor decisions I had made. Facing the consequences was painful. Through a lot of perseverance and counsel I made it through and became stronger for it. Finishing a triathlon was something I had on my bucket list for many years. It was a goal that was above my level of fitness and mind power for a long time. Completing a swim, bike, run in one event seemed like a crazy idea. I remember running through the finish line, seeing my family and friends cheer me on, I realized, “this was possible!” It was one of my greatest accomplishments. It made me realize anything I put my mind to could become reality if I set my mind to it.
My heart desired more depth. I yearned for something more in life. Greater purpose, a better grasp of life and deeper more purposeful relationships. I knew another year in Vancouver would mean mugh of the same. The same job, the same apartment, the same life. A new chapter would bring new, exciting adventures and new learning opportunities that I couldn’t find in Vancouver.
This year hasn’t been easy, but it has changed the course of my life. Living with roommates in their early 20s and going back to school were a trip. There were times I felt like throwing in the towel, and heading back to Vancouver. Going back to a corporate job, a comfortable setting and surroundings. Sydney and Hillsong are significant places. They’re big places. I had to give my all, my very best, to succeed. The easy route was quitting college, my job at Lululemon and saying goodbye to new friends. But I knew there was something more ahead. Something better. College could become something life changing, my job could transition into what I was passionate about, and the friends could become great friends. I had to hold onto that hope. I wasn’t about to give up or settle for an average experience. I leaned in. Being part of Hillsong has been very good for me.
Momentum has been vital. In Canada we have the good old hockey game. It’s fast and hard hitting. As a player you’ve got to keep moving, and fast, or you’ll get smashed into the boards and the other team will win the game. Momentum can shift in one team’s favour very quickly. Within seconds one bad play can change the entire game. I believe if we gain momentum things can turn around and in our favour, even from a very bad place. Once we get momentum going things in life that once seemed impossible can become possible. I believe this is an essential part to living a good and fulfilling life, but it’s not always when you’re “not feeling like it.” The times I’ve experienced the most satisfying accomplishments, the greatest breakthroughs have not when I was comfortable, or feeling like I was in a great place, but when I was up against the wall and failure felt imminent.
I have big dreams for this coming year. My goal for this coming year is to embrace the idea of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve learned this past year, observing leaders at college, work and Hillsong events that this is key to success, as well as overcoming. The leaders I’ve observed have been able to take on signicant challenges and projects, and manage teams with grace and finesse. Secondly, I want to step into the unknown – areas that scare and initiate me. Life holds many challenges. I believe through each of those challenges, there is a victory that to be had. Overcoming mountains in our lives is one of the greatest parts about life. And lastly, what could very well be most important, to continue to believe that good things are ahead. Having a positive and optimistic outlook on life and the road ahead can make the very best of things. It’s all about perspective. Here’s to keeping it moving in 2017!