Do you have an Arnold pushing your limits, or are you someone’s Arnold?

Yesterday was the deadline for this simple yet complicated application. Simple because I had all the answers, complicated because I’ve never known how to switch up the ‘tone’ to make it appealing. I’d thought about shooting my shot once or twice for this one before but competing with social entrepreneurs across the world was pretty scary.

When I saw the individuals selected each year, I convinced myself even more that I was not in the same league. Plus countless ‘smaller’ ones had failed me before, I figured I should read between the lines.

*Yes munange, #NoHumanislimited but still, you get the point *


Arnold *who has succeeded before, in this particular one and more* asked me to apply several weeks ago. He sent reminders often and even offered to spend a day working on it with me. I was not in the right frame of mind to meet, write ‘glowing’ essays about myself or my work, or even handle another rejection which could be avoided. I told Arnold all this over and over again.

He insisted.

Three days to the deadline, I asked myself, what I would lose by trying. There was no satisfactory answer. I started, with the easy questions, filling them in with zeal and then shut down when I got to the essay stages. We would try again tomorrow.

Finally, I completed one section and sent it to Arnold. He did not respond. I took it to mean he was busy as he’d mentioned he would be, plus I it was now only 48 hours to go.

I decided to fill in the rest and submit, if only to prove to him that his faith in me wasn’t for nought.


Just before I hit submit, Arnold reaches out and says we can edit it together? Honestly I was done and just needed to get this ‘burden’ off me then move on.

Changes began in the very first sentence?

If it was a paper, it’d have been shredded to bits ??

The man did not mince his words! I realised something about myself. I’m so used to trying to package negative criticism in a way that does not hurt the recipient and only a few people in my life do the opposite. So this was mostly new and slightly uncomfortable, especially at the beginning.I wondered if my reaction would be different had we been close friends or if he was my boss?

A few minutes in, I started to laugh at myself internally. I kept my analysis for later because anxiety had kicked in and I was starting to even care, a little, about the outcome (before I just needed to complete it)

*Yes, we beat the deadline and submitted. Details when that email comes in*


So today, I ask, how have you challenged yourself?
How have you carried yourself out of your comfort zone, even/especially when you don’t feel up to it for a myriad of reasons?
When did you last bet on yourself?
Are you blaming the people in your life and the universe for your mistakes, stagnant growth and failed businesses/relationships? At what point do you look at your role in the equation?
Do you have an Arnold pushing you to stretch your elasticity? Are you someone’s Arnold especially when they most need one?

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Written by Esther Kalenzi

Celebrating life and humour; attempting to make a difference in deed and through my first love, writing.

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Today is my last day on earth. But don’t worry about it, I have a plan.

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