I will never forget my 8th Grade math teacher who taught me to believe in myself; his support and guidance has been one of the most profound in my life, and it set the stage for many of my aims and goals thenceforth.
Without recounting the whole story, which could be a blog entry in and of itself, he showed me that what limits people put upon me had no bearing on reality – even when I doubted myself, I could accomplish more, achieve more that what was thought possible. From his teaching I reached for and became an Eagle Scout, took my first steps on stage as an actor, and even went to college to be a teacher; to inspire and lift up others as he had me.
I’ve held a variety of leadership roles in many organizations, from Boy Scouts to Freemasonry, community groups and work circles, and a lot of my drive to do so comes from wanting to help others, to be seen as an inspiration or guide for those who are unsure of themselves or their place. I train and teach a lot of people in my role at work, and for a long while served as a voice of experience in a local theatre group. Usually fulfilling and rewarding, I’ve come to realize that for long months now that feeling of accomplishment, of leadership, has been missing from my life.
Most of my feelings of self-efficacy are born from the appreciation and successes of others, and to my myopic perception there haven’t been many successes to draw from lately. Work is chaotic and anxiety-fueled, even as I take on educating a new generation of engineers, and without any other social outlets I’m left wondering what my place in society really is.
Tonight someone told me that they (and others) look up to me, no matter what my own doubts believed, but I found that really easy to dismiss. For so long I’ve wanted to be looked up to, and yet here’s someone telling me that I am and I can’t accept it.
I hope that, once work smooths out and starts to calm down, I can find a place, a group, or other social construct, where I can start believing that I can inspire others again.