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Stepping into the spotlight

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

One of the most beautiful things about Amsterdam is it's numerous canals. Always with water, and ducks and swans, the canal system spreads all through the city and looks so calm and flawless. But, once every few weeks, when I'm passing by one of the canals on my bicycle, I come across a boat with a giant magnet that dips into the water and pulls out bicycles that have fallen into the canals over time. 

When the canals are full of water, it looks flat and flawless, but there are actually rocks and bicycles and many other things at the bottom that we can't see. The only way to see it would be to lower the level of water in the canals until the things at the bottom begin to stick out of the water. 

Stepping into the spotlight has the same effect on each of us. 

When nobody is watching, when we are in the comfort of our own homes and doing what we're doing, it is alright to not be at our best. When we are one of sixteen people that the trainer at the gym is training, it is easy to skip a rep or two and go unnoticed. 

But when we are in the spotlight, we will look like the canals of Amsterdam with lower and lower water levels. All the chinks and imperfections begin to stand out more and more prominently. 

Stepping into the spotlight is a good way to show ourselves all the areas, no matter how big or minute, where there is room for improvement.

This has been a well tested and widely used practice to get the most out of us. When you were handed tests and exams in school, that was a way to put you in the spotlight to see how you perform on the topics you are supposed to have been learning. When you went up on stage to audition, or to try out for a sports team, or sent in a college application, or were interviewed for a job, the idea is always to put you in the spotlight in search of the chinks and the imperfections - the good and the bad kind. 

And we have always done well when we knew that we would be stepping into the spotlight - because we prepared in anticipation for what was to come. 

Stepping into the spotlight helps bring out the best in us, and helps us understand and identify the things we are good at and the things we can improve on. 

But we don't have to wait for someone to point the spotlight at us. We can choose our own spotlight and step into it.

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