Apologies in advance if you haven’t watched the most recent Game of Thrones episode (S8 Ep3), but I won’t delve into the backstory of a certain (epic) character to explain this blog.
In the library.
With the Wights.
How many of you have faced a terrifyingly life-defining moment and felt paralysed with fear like Arya Stark in the Winterfell library? Deep down, she knew that she was destined to kill the Night King, but a bump to her head and a dose of cold zombie reality left her hiding behind bookshelves and trembling under tables.
For a few suspenseful minutes, a ruthless assassin turned into a jittery wreck.
It was Arya’s time to step up and deliver, but she had a very “human” wobble.
I’ve been there a few times and I am sure that many of you have. Doubts tend to surface when the day of reckoning nears. Behaviours that previously came naturally suddenly seem forced and false. Nothing feels right anymore and even the simplest decisions seem a struggle.
Every job seeker has been there. They have all had that moment where their minds go blank and they wonder what on earth they are doing there. Can I really be the best candidate? How exactly is my experience even vaguely a fit for this job? Do I deserve to be paid that much money? Even the best candidates can “go missing,” and it is vital that they seek out a trigger to get them back on track. It isn’t always possible to do it yourself.
For the previously fearless Arya it was Melisandre who gave her the timely reminder:
“What do we say to the God of Death?”
Arya instinctively replies: “Not today.”
And silently set off to fulfil her purpose and kill the Night King in an epic finale.
While saving the world from an icy and undead end might not quite be at stake in the everyday moments when we forget ourselves, our broken dreams and ever-present nerves are a testament to the fact that whatever is waiting for us does have the potential to change our lives – for better or worse. How we approach these challenges does matter, but if we do have a moment of “forgetting ourselves,” it simply means that we have to find a way back to our groove.
If we can’t do this ourselves, a chat with a friend or relative often does the trick to remind us of our purpose. Life rarely follows a smooth path, but if we surround ourselves with people who care about keeping us on that path, we will overcome the obstacles.
So, here’s to Arya (and Melisandre).
Sometimes we all forget who we are under the face of immense pressure.
But it only takes a few words (from ourselves or others) to snap us back to reality.
We just have to be open to those words and not give into fear.