I was a little kid playing by the beach when my friends decided to sneak into the fancy resort nearby. This meant we had to swim around the huge water breaker and blend in with the swimming guests in order to enjoy a day like the privileged kids. The tide was high and my tiny muscles were tired, so I could not keep up with my friends. With every wave I choked a bit more and the salty water prevented me from calling for help. I simply drowned.
For a long time I dreamed of the ray of light as I saw it form beneath the water and the sounds of my friends as they left me behind. I developed a profound fear of the deep blue giant. Ten years later, with unconditional commitment and a lot of support, I received my certification as a professional lifeguard. Ironically, my first job was to serve on the beach of the same resort where I helped wealthy guests and poor kids before they drowned.
Learning how to swim was not the biggest achievement after that intense experience. I learned a lesson about myself that proved to be invaluable. I learned that with dedication, patience and support, growth is not only possible but inevitable. Over and over again, I apply that lesson whenever I face a challenge. Whenever in doubt, I tell myself If The Drowning Kid – as I was later called – could manage to swim, then I can overcome this new challenge. This is how I learned self-defence, public speaking, and many other skills otherwise would seem impossible.
From a helpless kid left amid the tides swallowing the salty water to a lifeguard entrusted with lives is a journey of growth and possibilities; it is my story of conquering my fear. What is your story?