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Give Grace Where Grace Is Due

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“No.” One of the most powerful words, and my least favorite word. I have tried to avoid being told no for most of my life. Being told no always left me feeling as if the effort I was putting in was never enough like I was climbing a mountain but could never reach the top. When I went to my first speech contest, I walked into the room and gave my speech about the nutritional benefits of Chicken vs Beef and walked out feeling confident in my performance. Unfortunately, I don’t think I convinced anyone that day to cut red meat out of their diets and I was devastated when I hadn’t even placed in the top 10 for the freshman division. Usually, I would have felt embarrassed and ashamed of myself, instead, I told myself that I would practice and continue to get better. Until that moment there had been very few times when I had believed in myself. Little did I know that would be the first of many failures I would experience throughout my FFA Career. 

When I was running for state office, I was really scared that I would be told no. That my dream of 4 years would be taken away from me. That I wouldn’t be able to impact members like past state officers had impacted me. Throughout the entire week of State Convention, I doubted myself in my performance, I was taken back to my freshman year when I had given myself grace when I hadn’t placed in the top 10. I remember that I promised myself that I would continue to practice and do better. Except during State Convention, I felt as if I didn’t deserve to give myself grace, that I had to be hard on myself because my dream of becoming a state officer was sitting in my hands. I went on throughout the rest of the week thinking that I would never be good enough to be in my position now. When I was elected I went through a lot of imposter syndrome, I felt as if I wasn’t as good as the state officers before me. During, District Officer Conference we brought in Laila Down, a past national officer to be one of our keynote speakers. In Laila’s speech she talked about giving ourselves grace when doubting ourselves the most. I didn’t understand how much I needed to hear that message. After the conference ended I made it a goal to continue to give myself grace when I am unhappy with my performance. 

Next time, we are struggling with ourselves or are disappointed in our performance, let’s all give ourselves the grace to remember that we won’t always be happy with the outcome but we can always improve!