As I was journaling on New Year's Day and thinking what my theme should be for 2011, an image kept popping into my mind: a flower finally opening up after a harsh winter and revealing its beauty from the inside out. Flawed, complicated, and exposed, yet vibrant and glorious in its full expression of what it is intended to be.
The past 15 years have been an unfathomable journey of highs and lows, breaking me open in ways I never imagined, and showing me that no matter what - I'll be OK. I'm on my own with no safety net, and taking the risks that I have - I have "swung for the fences" and lost more than once. But at the same time, I'm extraordinarily proud to have had the courage and depth of character to pursue dreams & projects worth pursuing. And the flame of inspiration still burns brightly within me!
When I came up with my personal brand, "Champion-of-the-Underdog!", the intention was to share the kinds of remarkable stories that we don't typically get to hear: the stories of the 4th place finisher, the last place finisher, the immigrant family who has given up everything so their kids could have a better life, the teachers, the disabled - those with odds stacked up against them and who in spite of it all, still continue to push the boundaries of their own potential. I believe we all have so much to learn from each other as human beings, and every single one of us has a story. Those stories can impact us all.
You never know where a spark of genius comes from for someone's life to be forever changed - and that typically happens in a moment. Each of us can hear the same message over and over in a hundred different ways and from different people, but on one particular day, when we are in a particular headspace, or have had a certain experience that shifts our perspective - we can hear the same message and somehow really "get it" for the first time. It is our listening that has changed. But we never forget where we were or who it was that said something that became a "defining moment" for us in our lives.
We each have the capacity to be a catalyst for that kind of "defining moment" for someone else, though we may never know when that happens, or the impact it has. It is our shared humanity that makes us relate to each other, and when you share a piece of yourself, that energy creates miracles. And all you have to do is show up. Be yourself. Let your light shine. And the world is a little brighter.
In my 39 years on the planet so far, the only regret I have is that I wasted so much time thinking that things should have been different - how if this happened or that hadn't happened, I would be much "further along" than I am - particularly from a financial point of view. Or if I hadn't gotten Type 1 diabetes in my senior year of high school - I might have followed a path toward medical school and had a completely different life (instead of rebelling and almost failing out my 1st year of university!). I was an overachieving kid and things weren't supposed to go this way. Failing at anything was never an option. But life unfolds as it does, we make mistakes and muddle our way through, and somehow - the tangled and messy web we weave is magnificent and uniquely our own. And the truth is, as I reflect on the choices I've made and the adventures I've had - it's been one helluva ride!
Each of us has a story. And I will continue to bring you mine. Here's to living fully, laughing hysterically, savouring the moments and being used up making the world a better place...
Cheers and a Smile,
PS. Every once in awhile, I get an email from a stranger through the website with either a question or a comment - and I am always so touched that anyone reads my stuff at all. And whether it's one person or 100 people, it is enough. My greatest reward comes from knowing that sharing my own journey has made a difference to another. Bill, this month's column is dedicated to you! :)
© 2016 Sandy Struss Enterprises. All rights reserved.