I’ve realized recently that it’s hard to categorize the character building phases of your life into specific moments. My experience has shown me that true growth really comes from enduring lengthy trials rather than achieving brief victories. Sure, I’ve had plenty of meaningful conversations that have inspired me to a point that I’ll never forget. But, it’s what you do with that inspiration over the course of your life that will truly shape who you are. With that said, I can’t sit here and rattle off the 3 most defining moments of my life, but I can share an experience that has shaped me significantly over the course of this past year.
One year ago today, I woke up feeling equal parts excitement and anxiety. That pattern continued for quite some time. The good thing about experiencing patterns like this is that you can start to analyze them if you’re able to acknowledge their existence. So I did just that. I considered the path I was allowing myself to go down if I continued to let anxiety be a daily part of my life. So I made a conscious effort to change that.
This morning, exactly one year later, I woke up with my continued feeling of excitement being complimented with confidence and motivation rather than anxiety and stress. Anxiety still creeps in from time to time, but for the most part I feel like I’m standing on solid ground and I would not trade that for anything.
This, of course, all rooted from the decision that Jon and I made a while back to open our own business, Iron to Iron. The planning of the business itself took the better half of a year, but the official start date was just one year ago today; November 1, 2010.
Throughout the course of this past year my faith has been tested on a daily basis. I’m actually starting to get used to it. Now, however, I can tell you with confidence that all the time I spent worrying and being filled with anxiety was nothing short of waste. Once I finally began to hold an optimistic’s point of view and truly surrender my trust to God, things went smoother. That’s certainly not because God simply made my path perfectly straight, but rather, my perception began to be more flexible. As obstacles presented themselves, solutions became much more visible.
I realize that a typical year in review article might look slightly different than what I’m getting at here. I originally considered reviewing very specific things that I’ve learned over the year that related to business and design, but Jon already did a great job doing that in his personal recap. So I wanted to take a slightly different approach and cover a topic that’s a bit more personal to me.
This past year has been one that I’ll honestly never forget. Iron to Iron will continue to grow and produce good fruit; that I’m sure of. However, this first year will always hold a special place in my heart beyond any future success. I’ve witnessed both Jon and his wife along with my wife and I overcome many trials. Some individually and some directly related to business. I’m proud to report that while we’ve each had our low moments, we’ve collectively come out with our heads high and our faith strengthened. That’s really a great feeling and it gets me excited for our future as a team.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this past year, it’s this: No matter where you are in this life, you’ll be presented with challenges and obstacles. The way in which you handle yourself during these trials is what will dictate the outcome. Your character follows you in these instances. If you go in faithful, then you come out on top – every time. In contrast, you’ll likely also be blessed with experiences, relationships and conversations that will inspire you to think in ways that you never considered before. Hold fast to those and become accountable to them. Then, after a generous period of time, reflect on those moments to see how they’ve shaped you. Metal is only refined after it’s spent sufficient time in the fire. Human’s are the same way. You’re not defined by one single instance, but rather, a collection of experiences. If you’re able to continually withstand the fire you’ll come out more refined than you’d ever imagine.
All that to say I couldn’t be more proud of where Iron to Iron is as a company in this very moment. More importantly, I couldn’t be more proud of my personal relationship with both Jon and my wife. Each have been refined over this past year through the enduring of tests as well as the celebration of victories. Seeing those relationships prevail are more valuable than most things in this world and I feel like a lucky man for that alone.
I honestly cannot wait to see what happens in year two. Stand by.