In March 2011, I was watching the NAACP Image Awards and was inspired by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin's story. She overcame many obstacles to keep her health clinic open. Her inner drive allowed her to stay focused and eventually landed her the lucrative position of U.S. Surgeon General.
Here's the letter that I enclosed with my autographed book:
I was interested in writing to you after seeing you win the Chairman's Award on the NAACP Image Awards. As a young African-American woman, I was inspired by your story.
After watching what you had to endure to launch and keep your health clinic open, I was amazed to see a woman who believes so much in her dream and has a strong faith that keeps her going. I have encountered adversities in my business, but nothing like what you have seen.
Please accept my book as a gift to you. You are the type of woman that I am writing about. Someone who is passionate about her work and doesn't give up even if it seems like everything is against her. Someone who knows that the Universe has something in store for her and rides the figurative and literal storms to get to something bigger and better.
It's nice to know that someone so passionate is in charge of public health in our nation. As a mother of a toddler, I am concerned about her health and dedicated to providing her a healthy, natural lifestyle. Also, I am glad to see your support of breastfeeding.
Thanks again for your inspiring story. I wish you the best in your position and will continue to follow your work.
She graciously wrote back a few days later. I was pleased to receive her thoughtful response.
As you may know, I have a toddler daughter who just loves her PBS Kids shows. One of her favorites is SuperWhy. We watch it every weekday morning. Like any good kids show, they believe in repetition to reinforce a concept. Today, for some reason, a part that I've seen over and over really stood out to me.
Here's a short synopsis of the show. There are four kids (the Super Readers) who love to read. In each episode, one of the Super Readers has a problem that they need to solve. In order to figure out how to solve the problem, they read a well-known storybook for clues. At a turning point in the show, they get to a part of the story that could really help them solve the problem. They soon realize, however, that they won't be able to solve anything if they do things exactly as the story is written. When they ask the main storybook character if they could do something different, the main character always respond in a similar way, "I can't, because it's in my story". Instead of just reading the story as is, the Super Readers decide to pick a new word or phrase to make the story better and solve the main storybook character's as well as the Super Reader's problem.
I'm sure that phrase, "I can't, because it's in my story" crops up in our minds more often than we'd like to admit. I am all about being cautious and learning from our past experiences, but we can also use the past to remain a prisoner to our thoughts. We get used to doing things the same way all the time. It is almost like we have a storybook in our heads telling us what to do. Whether it's going after a promotion, applying for a new job, moving to a new city, or trying a new hobby, we might tell ourselves that we can't do something because of how it turned out last time. What a dangerous thought.
I really like this concept of changing our story so that we don't get stuck in a rut. In my Web business, we are often making changes to improve it for ourselves and our clients. One part that changes often are the team members that we work with on our projects. My familiar storybook phrase would become, 'It's hard to find good people.' Every time we would have to go through the process of finding someone new, I would find myself saying, "I can't find anyone new because it didn't work out last time". Instead, I began to tell myself that this is a new day, a new situation, and new opportunities are available. I changed my storybook phrase to 'It's easy to find good people.'
What storybook phrase do you tell yourself that you can't change? How is it keeping you from moving forward?