Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance  
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.   
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley 

Life is not always easy. There are times when it feels like we’re walking through a dense, confusing forest with no trail markers. But here’s the secret. It’s not about finding a clear path, it’s about building the courage to forge our own.

Think of yourself as an explorer. Sure, circumstances, life—they’re like the forest’s elements. They can be stormy, wild, even scary. But here’s the kicker: we can’t control the weather, but we can control how we react to it. How we show up in the storm is what truly defines us.

Our attitude is our flashlight—illuminating the hidden roots, the slippery slopes. It lights our way when the path is cloaked in shadows. We might trip, scrape a knee, or even tumble down a ravine. But when we stand back up, dust off our boots, and keep trekking? That’s when we embody courage, vulnerability—that’s when we tell life, “You can’t beat me.”

We are the authors of our actions, the storytellers of our journey. Fate might set the plot, introduce the characters, but we hold the pen. The dialogue we write, the chapters we fill, are the essence of our story. We can write a thriller full of plot twists or a quiet reflection, a heroic epic, or a cozy novella.

It’s not about building barricades against life’s unpredictability, but learning to dance in its rain. We can’t stop the rain from falling, but we can splash in the puddles, even sing a little. In our life’s story, we decide whether to be the overwhelmed damsel or the resilient hero.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.