Like a number of you, I've lived in a world of competition, pressure and expectations my whole life. I've lived in a world where my results and my success are often a direct reflection of who I am. Navigating through this demanding and tiring reality, I've had to find what truly fulfills me, what lets me escape my overwhelming lifestyle, what genuinely makes me happy – my passion. I'm lucky enough to have two: hockey and music.
Lately, I’ve come to realize that passion is everything. Putting your heart into what you do is everything. Self-actualization is the last stage of Maslow’s hierarchy: the stage in which you find your true potential. It seems complex and abstract, but it's quite simple: find your passion, find what makes you “you,” and live for it. Happiness, success and fulfillment will follow.
When you become truly passionate in your community, you instantly have a greater impact on others. Example: Mr. G with music, Coach Pimm with hockey, Ms. Hessian with guiding and supporting our futures. They all love what they do, and it shows, and they’ve each had an important impact on me and on many others. I aspire to do just the same.
A month or so ago, I went up to Mr. Grenier, telling him I was YET AGAIN not happy with my musical performance. He answered with: “Élodie, you don't have to be the best. What makes the difference is the heart and the passion you put into something.” Though this statement is somewhat elementary, I had rarely heard something so true. Do you guys remember the teacher with five PhDs? Or do you remember the teacher whose vitality and joy put a smile on your face every single day? It all comes down to one thing: passion.
Some of you may know that I made Team Quebec last year to compete in a series of games against team Ontario. Some of you may also know that I didn’t make the team this year to compete in the Canada Games. At the time, it was extremely hard to bear. “How can I make the team last year and not this year?” I wondered. I could have blamed it on the change in coaching staff, or I could have walked with my head down. Instead, I realized that one failure isn't close to overshadowing the amount of good that this sport has brought me. All the heart and dedication I've put into hockey has led me to Stanstead, which will lead me to my dream university, and has already led me to all these wins, prizes, memories and friendships in between. Finding your passion and pouring your heart into it – though it won't always be a straight line – will never be something you’ll regret.
What I'd like you to take away from my speech is this: find “your” thing, something that you don't have to be “the best” at but that makes you want to GIVE IT YOUR ALL every day. Something that lights a fire in you. Something that, regardless of any distraction, expectation, stress or pressure, you can fall back on. Something that fulfills you so deeply that it becomes contagious. Something that inspires in you a desire to grow, to improve and to learn. Something that will make you, and others around you, happier.