I've now been married to my wife for nearly five months. When I think back to the early days of our friendship, it's hard to believe this is true.
I liked Rachel the minute I met her, but there was no way I could ever end up with her. She was way out of my league, and I knew it, too. Yet here we are.
The truth is, although I thought she was out of my league, there was no “league” to be bound by.
How many times have you let an opportunity slip by because you weren't qualified, you weren't good enough, or you just weren't ready?
Sure, you want to start that speaking career, pursue a new job, or publish a best-selling book, but those opportunities are out of your league, right?
A ‘league' is nothing more than a mental barrier which keeps you from achieving your true potential.
Or, as Henry Ford put it,
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't—you're right.
Rachel and I were friends for six years before we went on our first date. You wanna know why? It took me six years to ask her out.
You can reach many goals you would otherwise assume are beyond your reach. But it's not always easy. That's the lesson I learned from my journey with Rachel. It takes commitment to self-leadership, and it takes dedication to the following traits:
When you first try something difficult, it doesn't always work out. The key is to accept that, try again, and never let failure define you.
The first time I told Rachel how I felt about her, it was a disaster. Without going into the details, know that I made a fool of myself in front of her and her friends (and alcohol may or not have been involved).
Rachel wouldn't speak to me for weeks. When she finally did speak to me it was only to chew me out for being irresponsible and rude (which was true at the time).
I wanted to tuck tail and run. The easiest response would have been to make some excuse, mumble off an apology, and move on. But instead, I quietly took the criticism, agreed with everything she'd said, and promised to make it up to her.
That summer, our relationship changed. Our friendship became more intentional, and our mutual respect grew. Right before the summer ended, I asked her out on a date. Without (much) hesitation, she said yes.
Once you start pursuing the impossible, you can't expect immediate success. If you've previously considered a goal beyond your reach, most likely that's because you know it would be difficult to pull off.
It's easy to give up when the going gets difficult or uncomfortable, but more often than not that means you're close to a breakthrough of some kind.
That first date with Rachel was (in her own words) phenomenal. I surprised her with dinner on my roof, complete with a 3-course meal, dancing under the stars, and champagne glasses (filled with sparkling cider, of course).
After that date, she went back to school and we wrote letters back and forth. About four months later, we stopped. We both realized it wasn't going anywhere. We didn't speak the same language, we struggled to connect, and anything more than friendship seemed forced. So we agreed to remain friends but called off the pursuit of anything beyond that.
Rather than allowing our friendship to fade into memory, we kept it up and visited each other when we could.
One night, as we talked and laughed together two years later, there was a moment where we both paused to look at each other. Our friendship had grown, and we were much closer to each other than before. I asked her out on a second date, and less than a year later we were engaged.
For years, I was sure Rachel was out of my league. If I'd allowed that mindset to control me for any longer, would I have missed my opportunity?
It's impossible to know, but I'm glad things turned out the way we did. I'm happily married to my dearest friend, and wouldn't have it any other way.
Challenge yourself to push boundaries and pursue your dreams. With patience & persistence, almost anything is possible.
What opportunities are you ignoring right now, because they are “out of your league?”