A turn into a new and better

A tear rolled off my  sisters eyes as she watched her son, my baby nephew take his first step on his own. He clung on to my sister so tightly that she had to peel his hands away. Look at him! He is growing up so quickly and soon this little version of him will turn into a new and better oneMr. Contest chair, fellow leaders, its not just time that makes us into better versions of ourselves is it? Its with experiences, overcoming fears and barriers in our lives.Now I had an interesting experience like this when I was 10. My family, we were on a camping trip with our relatives. There were 5 of us kids. And we all decided to go down to the river by the swimming hole. My older sisters and I were accompanied by my 2 cousins.When we got to the water, it was beautiful. There was a very gentle waterfall flying over an edge. The water was crystal clear with rocks surrounding it and the sunlight was glistening.My cousins immediately dove into the water and started swimming around. They were raised with swimming lessons, diving lessons where as my sisters and I experienced swimming in a 4 foot above ground pool. So it was a very uncharted territory for me. But eventually I got in as well and it was spectacular. But then I noticed something concerning. My cousin began to scale the rocks, climbing to the top of the edge.I thought to myself, hes gonna get hurt. And it’d be difficult to climb back down. But my cousin had no intentions to climb back down. Once he was on top, he walked to the edge of the rock. Stood firm and soared over the edge aaaaand SPLASHHHH !!! into the water with echoes of YYAAHHOOOOOO!The shock was still settling down within me when I saw my other cousin scaling the rocks. She was only 8 years old. She walked to the edge and WWOOOHOOOOOO   SPLASHHHH!!!Now by this time there were more people by the water and everyone climbed, jumped and splashed.It didn’t take long before they all realized that I was the only one who hadn’t jumped.The peer pressure set in. ‘Common, you have to climb the rock and Jump! Its Fun! Do it ! youll enjoy it!! Don’t be afraid!!!The nagging went on and on. Finally the pressure got to me and I began to climb the rocks. I had no intention of jumping though!I was hoping and praying some elders would come by and ask me to get down. But that didn’t happen.When I stood n the top and walked to the edge, what looked like may be 10 feet now looked like 50 feet. I couldn’t see where I would land. The heckling turned in again. Common, you’ve gotto Jump you’ve gotto jump!!!!The moisture in my mouth relocated to my hands. With a dry throat and sweaty palms, I stared at the bottom of the edge.Now let me ask you all a question, In your life, have you ever stood on an edge like this? All alone?  With a choice? ‘Do I Venture into the unknown or do I stay here? Do I take a risk or do I play it safe? Do I jump or do I climb back down? As I stood there, the heckling came together in one congruent pattern. JUMP! JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!And with each passing moment the urge for me to jump…..FADED…..and I stepped away from the edge with a loud NO! And as I turned to walk away, proud of my decision, standing behind me was my sister. We shared a look and before I could say a word …PHUFFFFF ( Body language of pushing) …and before I know it..SPLASHHHH!!!! And the whole ordeal was over. I was happy it was over but ANGRY ( facial expression) for not jumping on my own. And I was certainly angry at my sister for pushing me.Later that night I confronted her. “what were you doing??? You could have killed me! Do you hate me that much???She paused for a second and grabbed me. “I didn’t push you because I hate you. I pushed you because I Love you!!!      Initially I didn’t get it. But as I grew up I realized that what my sister did was actually a lost art of leadership. It’s a kind of leadership we don’t see too much anymore. Each one of you here is a leader. You are a parent, you lead your kids,You are a teacher, you lead your students, you are a leader because you influence some one in some way!!!I look back at my life, and perhaps you could look back at yours and identify the leaders like this in your life, the ones you are so grateful for. Think about it…did they push you? Did they peel your tight held fingers and set you on your own? Fellow TMs and guests, as leaders, we have a decision, the decision is this, ‘what kind of a leader do you want to be? Would you climb those rocks and love the people you lead? Would you give them that push ? Because if you do…..they will transform into  a new and a better version of them selves.So as you stand on the edge… remember that voice…JUMP JUMP JUMP!