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How I Changed From An Awkward Teenager To A Strong and Confident Man

Confident man

Recently, after one of our GoodGuySwag conference calls, one of the guys asked if I could stay on a little bit longer. He confessed he had thought he couldn’t relate to me. On the surface, everything seemed to be going my way, but he didn’t feel like a confident man.

However, after reading 10 Ways To Win A Girl’s Heart, he realized I had endured my own set of struggles.

Isn’t that what we often do? We assume we know someone’s story…but we haven’t walked a step in their shoes. He wanted to know how I changed from an awkward teenager to a confident and yoked man.

He didn’t know I was once skinny, had painful cystic acne, was bullied, depressed, and socially awkward. He just saw the man I am now. So, he wanted to know what the cataclysmic changing point was for me.

I’ll start just a few weeks back. Kristen and I were leaving a conference called Urbana in St. Louis, MO, when I heard my named yelled from one of the escalators. It took me a second, but I realized it was someone I hadn’t seen in 20 years. In fact, he was one of several guys who took me under their wings my freshman year of college.

When he got to the bottom of the escalator, he told me he’d been keeping up with my life through Facebook. He looked at Kristen and said, “You have no idea how much Kris has changed!”

“Changed?” Kristen asked. “How was Kris so different back in the day?”

“Well,” Dan said, “let’s just say he used to be very skinny and very awkward.”

He was speaking the truth. Back then, when I looked in the mirror, all I wanted was to be one of THEM. I wasn’t happy in my own skin–literally. I dreaded when we played basketball during gym class and my team was chosen as skins. I was gangly, uncoordinated, and boney. Growing up, I used to have a birthmark on my chest, and other kids would laugh and scream, “THIRD NIPPLE!”

But something happened when that group of guys began mentoring me. I remember going to lunch with Tom. Everything seemed to be going his way. He had the looks, the girlfriend, the athletic skills. “He’s probably had everything handed to him on a silver platter,” I thought.

As he ate his iceberg lettuce salad from the cafeteria, he began telling me about his own past, his struggle with family, and his own self-doubt. I was wrong.

I walked away from that meal with a different perspective.

As much as I wanted to be like Tom, I realized we weren’t that different. Whatever he conquered, I could conquer too.

I can’t say it was one single moment that changed everything, but after hearing stories from many different people, I began to realize we’re not all that different. C.S. Lewis summed it up when he said,

Don’t judge a man by where he is, because you don’t know how far he has come.

This tidbit of wisdom combined with many great men who have mentored me over the years have shaped me into the man I am today. Some might say, “Good guys finish last.” But, I always quip, “The race isn’t over.” Not to mention, I’m not running in a rat race. I’m better than that. Take me to the course where the cheetahs and the lions run.

This life is a marathon, and I have no need to fear where I’m going to finish. I know I’m in this race to win.

Do you feel awkward? Do you want to become confident and yoked? Start here:

1. Stop focusing on how poor your life is and hear someone else’s story.
2. Change your mindset. The world isn’t out to get you.
3. Find someone who is your advocate.
4. Be teachable.
5. Surrender your plans.
6. Dream.
7. Surround yourself with people of integrity.

4 Responses to How I Changed From An Awkward Teenager To A Strong and Confident Man

  1. josiah January 12, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    This is really good Chris! Thank you for sharing

  2. Bryan January 30, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    Great post brother. Perspective is a powerful tool that takes time to learn. I often tell younger guys I’m helping mentor that they need to look at the bigger picture. They tend to get so focused on where they are now, that they forget about their bigger and more important goals. You’re story is powerful and I’m glad you shared it. Keep up the great work!

    • Kris Wolfe February 8, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

      Bryan, just got back from DC and I’m just seeing your comment. I agree with you 100%. Some of the younger guys I mentor are only concerned with the immediate.

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