I usually post an interview at the beginning of each month. However this month I’ve decided to ask you, my readers, to share someone who has inspired you by how they’ve been able to overcome and rise up beyond their challenges; in other words to become better, not bitter.
Who inspires you in the way they have dealt with their difficulties? Who leaves you saying, “Wow” to have they’ve carried on despite their obstacles?
I’d love to compile your ‘findings’ of people who uplift you. How have they rebuilt their lives incorporating their hardships, losses and/or difficult transitions in a transformative way?
In this time of “organized” and scheduled-in gratitude (the holiday of Thanksgiving), may this be a beginning of ongoing appreciation and thanks for all that we have in our lives; and may we harness the ability to find even those specks of gratitude in the cracks and crevices of despair as well, for that will enable us to climb out and begin to catch the new rays of light.
Seeing how others walk their rocky terrain of circumstance can guide as along ours. May we be grateful to all who shed their light upon us and may we learn from one another and integrate those positive examples of living well.
“What is to give light must endure burning.” Viktor Frankl
Please share a story of overcoming in the face of challenge. It can be a personal one or one that you’ve read or heard about that has made an impact on you.…
“80% of success is showing up.” Woody Allen
This is how I begin my workshop for parents on Developing Your Speaking Voice. It’s a scary thing to sign on for something where you know you’re going to have to get up and speak in front of a group. We know that public speaking is one of the biggest fear factors, technically known as glossophobia.
So showing up to something that provokes high anxiety is a huge step. And it is courageous. As we know, courage is not about having no fear but rather having the fear and doing it anyway. Acknowledging the fear, feeling the fear, dancing with the fear and eventually pushing the fear aside and stepping up to the plate.
Every time I say Yes to a new opportunity which makes me anxious and doubtful of my abilities, I’m pushing my fear to the sideline.
It’s only when we start to do this that we begin to tap into our unrealized potential and start taking risks of new challenges and thereby growth. And how exciting, and sometimes terrifying that can be, to step into unknown turf. It’s exactly here that we open ourselves up to new possibilities. We’re developing ourselves further and life gets exciting. Things evolve serendipitously.
Back to the Speaking Voice workshop for parents – I was asked to do this 4 part series based on my parenting workshops. I had never presented on this topic before. And I’m still pinching myself that I am facilitating this topic; I, who would never speak up in class or in large groups.…
There’s a lot of attention given to being there for someone during a difficult time or circumstance in life; how we need to be supportive and empathic for our friend or family member in need.
But have we thought about how we respond to each other when something positive happens? Your partner gets a great evaluation at work; your child makes the soccer team; your friend gets a part in a play. Do we become excited along with the person? Do we actively display interest by asking further questions, conversing further about it? Do we show genuine enthusiasm?
Or do we passively show a slight smile and a flippant, “that’s nice”.
Or worse, do we deflect away from their success and bring it back to ourselves by telling our own story?
Or even worse, do we find the negative aspects to bring up about the person’s ‘win’ such as “watch out, your boss may be on top of you even more” or you’re going to have even more pressure put on you.”
By being actively constructive in our response (researched by social psychologist Shelly Gable) and capitalizing on their good news, we strengthen the relationship. Genuinely engaging with someone’s ‘good’ is a real boost and benefit for both parties involved – the giver and receiver. It generates positive energy and feelings which then carries forward. (This, as opposed to telling somebody something great and receiving a bland response which can bring them down a notch.) Positive creates more positive which creates that upward spiral of good feelings all around.…
Here’s to a couple of truly inspirational stories this past week. Sunday, Nov. 3rd, was the New York Marathon. The first story that I find totally uplifting and motivating is actually one that has a bittersweet ending. The other one carries on with renewed vim and vigor.
Joy Johnson, an 86 year old woman, was the oldest woman to run the marathon. It was her 25th one since she started running at the age of 59 (hey, there’s hope for me yet). She fell at about mile 20 and continued on till the end. The next day she had her moment on NBC morning news only to go back to her hotel room for a nap and die in her sleep. What better way to go than dying peacefully in your sleep right after doing what you love. Defying all beliefs and ‘old age’ mindsets about doing something so beyond the norm for her chronological age, she is a true inspiration in how to life thoroughly engaged in what you love without self-imposed limits and fears of all the ‘what ifs’.
Jimmy Jenson , a 48 year old man, became the first person with Down Syndrome to complete the marathon. He ran with Jenny Davis, a coordinator of a day hab program for people with disabilities. Together they worked up to this over the past ten years, running shorter distances and finally setting a record here in New York. Here again, breaking through a belief system which clearly limits one’s potential, a new example is set.…
Laverne Bissky has incorporated a life-changing challenge, that of having a child with disabilities, into a goal and dream that takes her and her family to all corners of the earth. It’s all about the ‘A’-bilities without the ‘Dis’. This incredible woman, together with her family, shows us how to not just live, but to flourish, beyond the fate we’ve been given.
Ms. Bissky is a motivational speaker, writer and coach. She founded the charity, No Ordinary Journey Foundation and is the author of the book, Exceptional Parent Exceptional Life (soon to be released).
What personal qualities have helped you move in such a positive direction?
A deep belief that the experience of having a severely disabled child could be a stepping stone to living a deeply fulfilled life. I guess you would call this optimism but I think it goes so much deeper than that. Perhaps faith. It is a choice to see it this way.
In this belief was the seed that sprouted into our charity, No Ordinary Journey Foundation. It has been very gratifying to know that I have done the best I can for my own child, but it is even more gratifying to use what I have learned and lived through to help those with children like mine in places like Vietnam. Their challenges are similar but their opportunities much fewer.
Did you go through a period of self-pity? If so, what helped lift you out?
After the first few months, my periods of self-pity have been intermittent and brief but deep. …
Relationships are a key element in life and are therefore a crucial aspect for coping and managing when things get tough. Are we truly connected in an authentic way with those one or two close people to whom we can turn to for support? Are we fostering those relationships during the ‘good’ times? Are we taking the time to invest and cultivate them?
Nowadays online ‘friends’ seem to be replacing the real deal. We spend more time connecting online than in person. Social media is substituting for face-to-face. We’ve all been to a restaurant where we see the people at the next table with their heads down and their thumbs quickly moving, completely engaged in their online connections. Online interaction is addictive; something is always happening there and we want to know and be a part of it.
But we’re losing ground here. The real and the virtual friends are in competition and guess who’s winning! Loneliness is increasing because face-to-face interactions are occurring less often, and when they are happening we’re more preoccupied with our in-hand screens than with the real people right in front of us. With such neglect, our social skills are falling by the wayside as well.
“We must disconnect in order to connect.” Tal Ben-Shahar
Relationships are needed for our well-being and our longevity. Dan Buettner points to social relationships as one of the key factors in his well-researched Blue Zones – those areas in the world where people are living the longest in the healthiest manner.…