How to ‘slay’ a dragon?

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In any good fantasy series, the hero doesn’t just wake up, walk outside his door and slay the dragon.

In fact, the hero usually faces off against the dragon or the dragon’s underlings at the beginning and at best is very ill matched but more likely barely escapes.

We all know about Frodo’s first face off with the leader of Nasgul or Harry’s first run in with “He Who Shall Not Be Named”… in fact both instances almost resulted in their deaths.

No, every good storyteller knows that the heroine needs to become the woman she is meant to be by learning and overcoming. A perfect example is the mistborn trilogy; Vin literally had to learn from the masters of the various arts for a sliver of a chance to overcome Rashek, the Lord Ruler.

Now, I love fantasy because it blows up and makes clear, good and bad, and the struggle between them. But in life, even if right and wrong is not as distinct, we all have dragons to slay…

One of the major dragons that I have been battling with for more than 5 years now is my professional certification examination. And the story is like most of the best fantasy stories, in that there is an unexpected twist;

I had embarked on this journey in 2014, when I was still new to the work lifes and was just getting my foundation in the finance industry. I heard about the Chartered Financial Analyst certification from one of my mentors in the office and the importance of it was further emphasized by my sister, a seasoned investment professional.

Without any fear or hesitation, I signed up and as someone, who learns best through what I hear, and thrives in the class room setting, I registered for CFA classes. My experience was marvelous. Not only was the subject matter interesting but I was equally up to the task as my dedication and effort paid off not only on the first level in 2014, but also on the second level in 2015.

So it was with that same determination that I started preparations for the third and final dragon in 2016. However, to paraphrase a popular saying in my language, ‘confidence makes certainty out of failure but overconfidence makes failure out of certainty’; my usual dedication and effort were absent in the final moment so I have been stuck facing this battle, with my story unresolved.

It has even become such a menace that this dragon has grown with every confrontation and my confidence is now in question. I am even ashamed to admit that I have run away in fear of my dragon. So what do you do when your confidence wavers?

Well you start again as if you were never confident… because what is confidence anyway, but the result of seeing effort and experience bring about accomplishment.

Therefore, in 2021, I will once again go bravely into the night, and I will not go down without a fight; I will start not as I did without fear in 2014 but with the courage to face it… and the dedication and effort to succeed. I don’t know if I will slay my dragon this year, because this is real life not a book (my fear talking), but I have the confidence that I will learn again to overcome it.

What dragons breath fire outside your doors? Do you have the courage to face it?

God bless.

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