The differences were obvious.
As Bishop T.D. Jakes prepared to take the stage at our first ever SUCCESS Live event, held in Dallas on April 21, he wasn’t anxious at all. Standing backstage before his introduction, he shook hands and took photos, sipped water and played on his phone. Just seconds away from facing an audience of nearly 1,500 people, he seemed as calm as one might while lounging in an easy chair on Saturday afternoon.
I, on the other hand, was not so composed. A couple hours before Jakes took the stage, it was my job to welcome the crowd and prepare them for what the day had to offer. But unlike Jakes, who preaches from a stage on a weekly basis, this was my first time speaking in front of a group larger than a few dozen. I paced. I talked to myself. My stomach tightened. I fixated on all the things that could go wrong… what if I forget the words? What if I just trip and fall on my face while walking out into the spotlight?
Related: Bishop T.D. Jakes on Going Against the Odds
The Belief Issue of SUCCESS is all about understanding the world around us and the power within us.
And then it all went fine—great, even, according to the kind words of people who grabbed me coming offstage. In the moments after I finished my speech, the butterflies floating away, I remembered what I love about working at SUCCESS: Every day, I am put in a position to grow. Some days no one notices, not even me. Other days I make a major leap forward, overcoming a fear like public speaking.
When Jakes took the stage, he encapsulated my morning best. “Stress is an indicator,” he told the crowd. “It’s a benefit. It’s a favor. It lets you know you’re at your limits.” When we experience stress, Jakes explained, we should celebrate. We’re pushing our limits. We’re growing.
Related: T.D. Jakes Wants You to Suffer
Wisdom like that makes Jakes the perfect cover figure for this edition of the magazine. The Belief Issue of SUCCESS is all about understanding the world around us, how we fit in, and knowing the power within us. Every story this month has been chosen to help shape your faith in the positive future to come.
In our profile of Jakes, we find out how he makes the most of the toughest circumstances, turning rock bottom into a slingshot to new heights. In other stories this issue, we toast the goodness in the world and in the people closest to us. We push you to be worthy of your allies in another piece, on establishing trust, and to come to terms with your most important ally—yourself.
Self-confidence is something we all strive for, but it can’t truly be reached without thorough self-examination. I’m incredibly proud of our editors who told stories of their own personal search this month. Jamie Friedlander tested her most deeply held beliefs and Jesus Jimenez thought through his feelings about his own cultural identity, both modeling processes from which we can all benefit.
We all have our convictions, the things we stand for and that define us. But as I see it, the most important belief any of us can hold is that we are doing our best. I know that was the case with the work put into issue, and that after reading it and listening to this month’s SUCCESS Talks, you’ll know you’re doing your best, too.
This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Josh Ellis is the former editor in chief for SUCCESS magazine. Before joining SUCCESS in 2012, he was an accomplished digital and print sportswriter, working for the Dallas Cowboys Star magazine, the team’s gameday program, and DallasCowboys.com. Originally from Longview, Texas, he began writing for his hometown newspaper at 16.