Up until my sophomore year of college, I was a pawn. Put me on the board of life and tell me what to do – I would do it. I was guided by routine – go to school, go to practice, go home and eat and do it all over again. The routine lasted for years and of course there were some very positive things that came out of this path. However, eventually the foundation was cracked and a decision had to be made. Who will you be from this moment on?

Each piece of the board has its own benefits – but in looking back I know that I didn’t automatically tell myself that I was going to be a king…no…I had to graduate first to a knight. And off we went, moving two steps forward and one step to the side. Sure there were times where I was sent back to where I came from, but in all, I learned the importance of taking definitive steps towards my goals. Eventually, I graduated to other pieces, finding out the importance of diagonal movements and the power of each position. Life mirrored this course.

With each growth comes a new set of challenges. As you become something greater, the work, the time, the effort must also mirror your position. I have always said that the bigger the dream the bigger the problems that come with it. This has always held true throughout time. And oh my…have there been problems. I think though, that maybe the problems were always there – but as you become more in touch with yourself – you actually begin to see them for what they are.

This can be stressful. Very stressful. And there is a large tendency to want to regress back to what you were so you can make the problems livable again.

This doesn’t work. Once you know they are there…they are there. They don’t go away. In fact, when you don’t deal with the obstacles on the path – they stop your progress altogether.

It takes time to really muster up the courage to become the most influential piece on the board. You have to take massive risks and these risks will really test your heart. Nothing will ever be the same. You will feel pressure, sometimes so much pressure that you can literally feel it in your shoulders. You will be challenged, threatened, left alone and attacked. But isn’t that the game? Because we are all pieces on the board, and with our increasing value we become a greater target. The positives always are balanced out with the negatives – and when the negatives come searching (fear, doubt, hate, insecurity, loneliness) they look for the high-profile pieces. The pawns aren’t as attractive. Carl Jung said it best, “The brighter the light the darker the shadow.” Life is all about learning how to live with the Black Dog.

I’m not saying it’s easy – I’m saying it’s worth it. Always looking to further yourself and perfect your skills. Disciplining yourself and always looking to perform at a high level. Be passionate about your life, and serious about the steps you know you have to take to make the best one you possibly can.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project