This One Is Personal

In the past two days I have been contacted by people I never thought I would ever hear from again. How did they find me? Through the outreaching arms of Facebook. The first person is Anne Marie. She and I were best buddies after meeting for the first time when we were six. By the time we were moving on to the scary big building where our middle school was located Anne Marie and her family were forced to move to California. I was devastated. She was my very best friend in a class of just 14 children. Moving on to a class of 54 without her terrified me. We talked on the phone once or twice and wrote a few letters. And then, she disappeared until this weekend when I read a message she sent me through Facebook. She was not sure if she found the right person, I guess I might look a little different! I got a lump in my throat just thinking about my childhood friend. A few years ago she tried to find me by sending a letter to my parents address. It came at a very busy time and I failed to respond and I regret that. Facebook has given me another chance to connect with her!

The second person to find me is another person from school but she was a few years behind me. My memories of her have faded but I do remember her name, Hallie. Another Facebook connection! Hallie wrote me a lovely note saying that she always looked up to me, was sorry to hear about the passing of my Father and complimented my Mother who seems to have flowed from the fountain of youth. What a nice note! It made me think about school and that fact that someone looked up to me and thought I was “popular.” This shocked me as I was never really happy in high school. Other kids put stinky trash in my locker, spread rumors about me that were not true and the hardest of all, planned a party the very same night my parents allowed me to have a birthday party. No one came to my party.

Hallie did not ever see my sadness or hurt. Instead she saw a upper classmen that was just trying to get through it all and hope that one day everything would be different.

What do Hallie and Anne Marie have in common? When Anne Marie left our little town, I had to learn to make new friends. When High School got tough, I had to employ those same skills once again. Today, I am happy and feel I have found success. My friends are amazing and my path in life is exciting. Why? Because since sixth grade I have been following the same strategy. It has helped me develop lifelong relationships, succeed in sports, earn opportunities that I dreamed about and crawl my way to the top of my field. Here is my personal strategy:

1. Mindset: Whatever is in my mind tends to become my reality. It is so important, especially in today’s economy, to check in with myself on a daily basis. If my thoughts drive my actions then I must clear out the negative, self sabotaging things running through my head and replace them with visions of what I want for myself. I have chosen to break away from negative people in my life as I don’t want to be brought down by a negative contagion.

2. Persistence: It would be easy to walk away from something that is just simply too hard, but then I might end up regretting the missed opportunity. The very best things in life are not easy. Our children, our spouses, our work. But when we work hard to make these opportunities successful, we do it because we are persistent in our focus and desire to make our life what we want it to be. I find that the more persistent I am the greater the reward.

3. Personal Development: I can never stop learning. Today, things are moving and changing quicker than a animal rushing across the street to avoid a speeding car. I used to think of my brain as a sponge that was trying to soak everything up. Now I need that sponge to be the “Bounty Quicker Picker Upper.” Our ability to learn and react to changing times quicker than our competition is a powerful means of survival.

4. Passion: I find the things I am best at are the things I am passionate about. I dig in because I care. The same action works with people. When I have a passion for someone, I work hard to make that relationship successful. I never give up and I give them my best. I don’t let my failures defeat me. Instead I use them as educational opportunities and try not to fail in the same way again.

5. Persuasion: Enthusiasm sways the wills of others into harmony with your own will. I find that when I get excited about something, others take an interest. As a professional speaker I have this opportunity each day I take the stage. I don’t always feel what I am speaking about is earth shattering! But I know that my enthusiasm for the topic persuades others to listen and possibly do something different as a result of our time together.

Did you notice that 4 of the 5 items in my strategy start with the letter P? That is because when you Put the P’s together, you can create something Pretty Powerful….an amazing life. For me, it is a well lived life in progress.