About two years ago, I was invited to speak at the National Honor Society induction ceremony at my high school alma mater. If I accepted, I would be speaking to roughly 75 students and several hundred of their friends and family.
I'm a very introverted person. While I was honored that they asked me and excited by the opportunity to pass along some wisdom to the honorees, I mostly found the prospect terrifying. So of course I said yes.
How You Grow
Much of my speech was written with the honorees and my local community in mind, but the following excerpt applies universally:
You live in a fast-changing world. I can’t tell you what knowledge will be important in five, ten, or twenty years. What I can tell you is that you will need to be able to adapt. You will need to be flexible. And you will need to have the courage and self-confidence to make your own way.
But how do you prepare yourself for that? How do you prepare for the unknown? How do you prepare yourself for something that--by definition--you cannot predict?
You do that by seeking out and taking on every challenge you can. You do that by taking risks. You do that by facing and overcoming your fear of failure.
And you know you’ve found a worthy challenge when you are equal parts excited and terrified to take it on. Because that is how you grow.
Eating My Words
Since I gave that speech, my wife has used my words against me on many occasions. When I was waffling over hiring another developer and growing the business, my natural risk aversion was holding me back. "It sounds to me," my wife said, "that you are 'equal parts excited and terrified.'" I hired another developer.
So, of course, when Wayne Phillips reached out and asked me if I would be willing to present his soon-to-be-released TwinBasic project at Access DevCon 2021, I immediately agreed. I then called my wife to tell her the news. "I hope you said yes," she said. After confirming that I had, she responded mischievously, "So, are you 'equal parts excited and terrified?'"
Yes, yes I am. And I wouldn't have it any other way.