For a long time I used the analogy of going from “a big fish in a small pond” to “a small fish in a big pond” to describe my transition from high school to university. I went from a small town in rural Ontario to Princeton University, and found the transition really challenging.
Years later, I now realize that although I transitioned into a “much larger pond,” I was actually the SAME size of fish. The issue was that I allowed my environment to “shrink” my self-perception. I didn’t get smaller, but I saw myself as smaller and less capable than I was in my previous environment, which had provided MUCH more external validation to fuel my confidence and growth.
I really wish I had this perspective and insight when I was younger, and I hope that by sharing it now it can benefit others in similar scenarios.
Over the course of our lives, we are continuously migrating into “larger” ponds. This change in environment often leads to greater exposure, more scrutiny, less external validation and ultimately, more self-judgment.
The goal is to never let your environment diminish your self-belief. You are the same size and ultimately, a bigger pond provides you with more room to grow as long as you are empowered to see it that way.
Thanks, and happy leading folks! 💪👊
– Coach MJ