Breaking the Comfort Zone: A Student Reflection on ‘Turning Your Trials Into Triumphs’
Contributed by KIE Student Assistant, Evelyn Ramirez. You can access a re-broadcast of Ashley Blaine Featherson’s April 23rd lecture (available through May 5) here.
During this rough and quick transition, many people feel overwhelmed with very little motivation as they tackle everyday life. This worldwide pandemic has taken a toll on many Americans and students. At our lowest, we want some form of comfort or voice that will tell us everything will be alright. Ashley Blaine Featherson is that voice of comfort I wish I heard sooner.
The Kegley Institute of Ethics’s guest speaker, Ashley Blaine Featherson, gave a talk titled “Turning Your Trials Into Triumphs,” where she highlighted her journey becoming an actress, singer, and producer and expressing that challenging times are necessary. We are in a new age. Despite the talk being digital, it definitely warmed my heart and left me with motivation to tackle my days differently. Her positive demeanor does not come easily, largely due to her background and being a black actress. She is thankful to have support from her family, but most importantly she is thankful that she was brave and courageous enough to move 3,000 miles to Los Angeles and follow her purpose.
Whether you are a college student or someone in a career thinking of changes, she assured her audience to not be afraid to take that step into the unknown. She struggled following her purpose just like many of us, hoping it was easier when she could barely see any light at the end of the tunnel but “the trials which you go through will lead you to your triumphs.” We have to get rid of the assumption that the universe is against us when it actually works on our behalf. She shared a struggling time when she had no money and nothing in her refrigerator to eat. Featherson could not believe pursuing her career would lead her to this kind of situation. In that dreadful moment, she remembered her laundry change which was approximately $3. She stated the most rough and dreadful times help us build character and form us to the individuals we are today.
Life is all about perspective, what comes to us comes based on how we choose to receive it. “Do I want to look at the glass half empty or half full?” Facing food insecurity, Ashley could have given up, but instead chose to look at the dilemma with gratitude and was thankful she not only kept laundry change but thought of having the opportunity to look back and see what she conquered. I believe we as human beings do face this dilemma within ourselves. Most choose to give up because they do not want to put up the fight.
We look at people and only recognize their triumphs, and we do not realize all the trials they took to get there in order to celebrate. We all have a background and face struggles no matter the class status we categorize ourselves, but going through things and having trials is a human thing that we all have in common. Every day is a challenge, but we are in control of how that challenge will impact our future.
Featherson distinguished the difference between the passion and the purpose within our lives. Passions are things that we enjoy doing, whereas purpose is what we are meant to be (career). Our purpose is the way we are going to inspire and change the world. In tackling her own passion and purpose, Featherson uses devices such as the “Gratitude Jar” and “Manifestation Map.” Her “Gratitude Jar” is where she challenges herself to put a positive note every day because no matter how bad our day can be going, there is always something to be grateful for. The “Manifestation Map” holds her accountable for the type of goals she wants to accomplish yearly as she has the control to flourish. Planning and having intentions for our goals are incredibly important because they allow there to be purpose and inspiration. Both devices serve as constant motivational tools that ease the daily stress we face but allow us to refocus on the bigger picture.
I am honored to have had the chance to experience her empowering words and infectious positivity. The lecture could not have come at a better time. Personally, completing my last semester here at CSU Bakersfield is stressful enough, but the pandemic has also definitely taken a toll on my motivation. Apart from loss of motivation, I have felt extreme stress thinking about entering the labor force as I graduate. I appreciate my parents’ constant motivational talks, but hearing it from a third party definitely sits differently.