Originally Posted: April 25 2016
As you all know, I have done a horrible job at updating everyone on “my movement”, I have definitely been behind the scenes; organizing, prepping, and finishing out some big projects. When I would find the time to even express or write out what I envision, it would just add more stress and anxiety to myself and the obstacles I was facing. Those close to me saw how overbooked, insanely busy, and most of all burn out I was this year. I have definitely encountered many struggles throughout this year, some personal, and some FORM 5 related. Many of which I couldn’t stop to think about, I just had to continue pushing through, nose to the grindstone until, one day it would all be complete. Now that everything is complete, all that has been trapped in my head, spinning around my thoughts, and affecting my growth as an individual I need to get out:
When invited to speak at TEDx New Albany, I was quite wary about speaking, especially not being onstage since performing in the school play Freshman year. Speaking comes so easy to me, public speaking even easier. Unlike my early theater days, preparing for my TED talk caused much anxiety. I began to create the demons in my head, in which brought self-doubt, questions, distractions, and the worst, overthinking. Self-doubt is something everyone faces and is the one I often “bulldoze” over and keep going. I questioned my method of how I could form what my goal and passion is, into a talk and share it with the world. Many’s worst nightmare is to be thrown up onstage in front of a crowd last minute having to speak, in my case, that sounds like a challenge I can accomplish. You could ask several teachers of mine and they will tell you, I’ve become accustomed to throwing things together last minute, and surprisingly always ends up as one concise piece, and everything falls into place. Even though this method works best for me, I did not pursue this route for my TED talk and I later would regret that. I questioned who I was, how I get things completed, and the worst… How was I going to create a talk that would meet my standards? I am very hard on myself and no matter what the task or activity is, I want to give it my all and make it perfect. By perfect, I mean my definition of perfect, my standard, and my peace of mind. As anxiety began to build and the event approaching rapidly, I spent 3 months of countless, stressful hours with a student speaker coach who deciphered all my thoughts into a TED talk. I have no idea how she did it, but for that, I am forever grateful. Although several meetings helped me figure out my thoughts, I didn’t feel right in the method I was doing things. My level of uncertainty stopped me in my tracks, every time I attempted to deliver my talk to my coach. “Just tell me what to say, I can’t find the words to say, Please don’t be mad with me” (Lauryn Hill). At the same time of preparation for my TED talk, I became tangled in normal High School distractions, which was a waste of time and set me back further than I expected. After the distractions, questioning, and self-doubt began to mix, overthinking was inevitable. I could not think ahead and had no hope that I could complete all the projects I had signed up for this year. “I have no identity, All that I’ve known is gone, all I was building on” (Lauryn Hill). At this point, it was way too late in the game to quit and unfortunately that was an option I kept thinking. In that moment, I turned to what I knew best; myself and the music that would push me to accomplish everything in my path. Through this hard time, I had to find myself again, remove toxic distractions from my life, regain a level of happiness, find peace of mind, keep up in school, rebrand my company, give a TED talk, Assistant Direct the Middle School Musical, take the ACT, college hunt, decide my major, and wrap my Junior year… all at the age of 16.
With all that being said, I have found myself, I have regained a sense who I am, I have a grasp on where I’m going. I needed all that to realize how far I have come, to appreciate more, and center myself. I often get caught up 5 steps ahead of everyone and loose where I am at in life. I need to live a normal 16-year-old life, I have to wait for greatness. My TED talk went exactly the way it should, everything fell into place. I am ecstatic for the opportunities that sprouted from my TED talk. In contrast, if I did it over, there would be things I would have done differently, but that is life and everything happens for a reason. I need to let go, and just be me. No more self-doubt, questioning, over thinking. Just keep; moving, striving forward, learning, and growing. Getting out of the box I put myself in of others perceptions of who I am, and just be who I am supposed to be. I will be taking a 3 month Sabbatical (Summer) to step out of all I have been wrapped up in, and catch my breath. So this is me, spilling the paint on my masterpiece and stopping and taking a step back to observe it, analyze every aspect, and every possibility. I’ll be back for it, all in timing, and everything will fall into place.
Big things ahead,
Aaron Westbrook, CEO FORM5