Iron Wil on Friends and Encouragement

Chat about Friends and the power they can bring into our lives. The community we build helps to make and shape the world we live in. Our friends and co-workers can be a positive source of encouragement.

iron wil

My Greatest Fear …

IMG_2292… is failure. Whatever task I put my mind to, I have always been able to achieve. It might take time to figure out how to get to that goal or accomplish the task I have set for myself. I attribute this to my parents and the way I was raised. I was taught to never give up and keep my focus on the future to be created.

Two of my life experiences have helped frame this for me.

The first was in the winter of 1988 when I had a paper route. Back then, there was a small community newspaper that serviced the communities around Ft. Meade, MD. A friend was a paperboy and recommended me to the company to cover another neighborhood. This was a great idea since I eagerly looked for any type of work. I took the job with my parents approval and started delivering papers; we also worked 2 or 3 nights a week to get new subscriptions. I thought it was great, because we made a commission and a prize for the new subscriptions. I made it a goal for myself to become the top seller for new subscriptions, it didn’t take long and by the end of 2 months of work I had earned a commission of 400$! For a 13 year old this was awesome!

The second was in 11th grade, when my history class took a 3 day study on propaganda used by Germany in WWII. This caused me to be 3 days late on my term paper. I misunderstood the teacher and thought that I would always have 3 extra days to work on my assignment. Well, I found out after the second due date that I was wrong. I ended up with a cumulative C. I had held the highest A for the first 2 quarters. Another student laughed at me and told me that I would not be able to bring my grade up by the end of the year. I looked right at him and said I will have an A for this class by the end of the year. Oh, I worked for it extra credit and everything else to make sure that I got everything I could. By the end of that school year, I had the 3rd highest A. I was proud of my accomplishment and to prideful to be gracious, and I rubbed it in the other student’s face. Unfortunately, I didn’t get smart enough to ask forgiveness before it was to late.

These experiences helped to shape my sense and ability of accomplishment. I look back on these to events to give myself encouragement and to give me the strength to stick to my goals and see that I achieve them!

iron wil

Life’s a Dance

This song was popular many years ago when I was a teen. I am not sure where I heard it first … which doesn’t matter really. It is however part of my personal playlist, songs that are attached to personal and poignant times.

The lesson that I take from this song, is that life is learned as one goes along. If we are lucky, we might have someone that acts as a mentor and can help us learn and avoid mistakes. Sometimes that person is a parent, teacher, church leader, or neighbor. He could be a coworker or even a boss. The concept is that if we are willing to be humble and teachable, we can find mentors and enlist them to our cause. I have been able to find mentors that have helped me through tough personal times and that have helped me navigate difficult office politics. My college advisor was also a mentor, he constantly encouraged us (there were 3 of us friends) to reach for high goals, he also encouraged us to start a student organization on our campus. While we left because of another professor, the organization we put in place was strong and thriving when I last checked on it.

I have found mentors in good books and holy scripture, while they couldn’t always speak to me and offer me words of encouragement; I was able to learn from them and overcome personal and professional challenges. The dancing is life, which needs to be negotiated like a dance floor. We should be aware of our surroundings and the “lay of the land”; always “reading” those around us and working to make personal improvements. One of the hardest aspects of changing is that those we are closest to may not understand or accept our metamorphosis. In some instances that means we have to let go of that partner and move on. They may still be part of our lives (especially family) and it doesn’t mean that we have to cast them off; it may mean we have to spend less time with them until they can accept the path that we have chosen.

iron wil

Keep Your Goals in Sight

When she looked ahead, Florence Chadwick saw nothing but a solid wall of fog. Her body was numb. She had been swimming for nearly sixteen hours.

Already she was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. Now, at age 34, her goal was to become the first woman to swim from Catalina Island to the California coast.

On the Fourth of July morning in 1952, the sea was like an ice bath and the fog was so dense she could hardly see her support boats. Sharks cruised toward her lone figure, only to be driven away by rifle shots. Against the frigid grip of the sea, she struggled on – hour after hour – while millions watched on national television.

Alongside Florence in one of the boats, her mother and her trainer offered encouragement. They told her it wasn’t much farther. But all she could see was fog. They urged her not to quit. She never had…until then. With only a half mile to go, she asked to be pulled out.

Still thawing her chilled body several hours later, she told a reporter, “Look, I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen land I might have made it.” It was not fatigue or even the cold water that defeated her. It was the fog. She was unable to see her goal.

Two months later, she tried again. This time, despite the same dense fog, she swam with her faith intact and her goal clearly pictured in her mind. She knew that somewhere behind that fog was land and this time she made it! Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, eclipsing the men’s record by two hours!