Signs of Life
First I’ll tell you the technical details relating to this picture: It was taken, by me, on 31 May 2009 in Doha, the capital of Qatar, in the Doha Marriott Hotel – one of the better hotels in the region, if not the world. It shows the view towards the lifts, and you will notice the podium near the lifts announcing the events of the day (unfortunately it is too small to read in this picture).
Now, the story.
This was after my divorce, where the woman I loved more than any other person in the world broke me down into nothing; where she pulled my heart from my chest and stomped on it, rejected my love, scorned my manhood. I was abused and manipulated. She made me feel worthless, a nothing, somebody who didn’t achieve anything in life and is not worthy of her love. That’s how I felt – I was a broken man.
Yet, I was invited to be the leader of a conference in the Middle East, in a super-luxury 5-star hotel, speaking to a select audience. The sign in the photo announced that Leon Uys is the Expert Speaker at the Conference to be held in the Grande Hall. And I put my bags down for a minute (OK, I wasn’t carrying my luggage, the porter was doing that. I put my “baggage” down) and I took stock of my life. Here I was in a foreign country, people from all over come to listen to me, and my ratings for previous conferences were very high. I was in demand for my knowledge and my ability to confer that knowledge to others. I stared at the sign for a long time, waiting for the message to be fully absorbed.
The message said: I’m not worthless.
Gradually I realised that I am ok. I am actually not this bad person that my ex made me out to be. I allowed a woman to take away something that inherently belongs to me: My self-esteem, my power, my manhood. I am who I am, a good person, and there in front of my very eyes was the very evidence that I was not a failure. It was a life changing moment for me. I left my baggage right there on the floor and walked away from years of guilt and abuse, my head proudly up for the first time in many years. It turned out to be the best conference I ever had.
When things go bad, look out for the signs to help you make good decisions, get over the obstacles, and get your life on track again. The signs are always there, but we sometimes don’t notice them.
And that is the story behind the picture.