It’s the middle of the night.
And I’m still awake.
I replay my nightly thoughts of how things aren’t working out the way I had hoped.
My life is in limbo.
I am tired – so very tired, yet my mind is unbelievably restless.
It’s shooting in a thousand directions.
Nothing has worked, so my brain comes up with everything and anything in a mad attempt to gain evidence of progress.
But there isn’t any. I cannot stick with anything long enough to give it a chance.
Am I afraid of failure, or of success? Or both?
Why can’t I focus?
I can feel time running out – literally feel the hours, minutes and seconds passing through me.
And the more the clock ticks, the more anxious I become.
I have blamed other people. But mostly, I blame myself.
That annoying, endless inner voice keeps telling me that I am no good. My dreams, I conclude, are unrealistic – foolish even. The naysayers were right.
The few friends I have do not understand me.
The sweat pours down from my brow. My heart beats powerfully and quickly.
I lay in a bed of confusion and hopelessness.
I know that tomorrow will be the same. And the day after that, the same again. And again.
That was me speaking to myself years ago.
I was wrong about what would come.
The turning point was meeting a manager of mine named Mike, 15 years my senior. For reasons unexplained, Mike saw things in me that I could not see myself.
“You have an amazing way about you,” he explained. “I see a sense of humor mixed with very serious thought.”
I was sure that Mike was not well.
Here I was, in a sea of self-doubt and pity. What was Mike on, I wondered.
But he persisted, and encouraged me to try new things. In fact, he insisted on it, daring me to go forward – always saying, “The worst that can happen is you’ll end up exactly where you are now.”
I had lost track of Mike for many years.
But this week, I learned of his passing following a long battle with cancer.
I had always hoped to see Mike again, but life, being as busy as it is – made sure that never happened.
He was one of the best mentors a person could have.
Can you become a mentor today to someone you know is hurting?
Give them an approving smile, an encouraging word – dare them to try new things.
You have that power.
In honor of Mike, today I am doing what I can to encourage others. The greatest joy is to see them grow.
Will you join me in making a difference out there?
It doesn’t matter if you yourself are troubled.
Someone needs you.
“Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson