On the way to creating something you want in your life there are a lot of times that you question what you’re doing and if you’ll ever get where you’re trying to go. You do your best and you have so much hope. And then someone says no and it’s like you got sucker punched – again. Your wind is gone. The doubt creeps in. Your inner victim calls out to you. It would be so easy to just give in.
It’s in those moments when I am most vulnerable and feeling like I don’t have anything left to give … I think to myself, ‘What would Les Brown do?’
I’ve not had particularly inspiring people in my life. At least not any that made an impression on me. As I think back while I was growing up and through school, there was no one that said or did anything that really stuck with me – at least not in a good way.
I suppose I looked up to my mom as much as anyone. We fought a lot during my early teen years. But we got along well enough as I got older and really became quite good friends. We’ve had a lot of fun times over the years but she never inspired me to try and be more. If anything, my mom enabled me not to try very hard. And as it turns out, that has not served me very well.
Within a six month period in 2012 I lost my dad, I lost my job, and I divorced my husband. I started to give up. I started to let life happen to me. I started becoming a victim.
I was so unprepared when my life fell apart that I didn’t know how to get back up and I floundered for another 6 years before deciding that I’d had enough.
Although I wasn’t open to it, there must have been a tiny voice inside that was whispering to me. I kept myself numb and didn’t hear it for a long time. Finally, I guess what happened was that I admitted to myself I wanted something different. And I acknowledged that in order to get something different I needed to change.
It’s hard to go against all you’ve ever known. It’s so easy to get discouraged and fall back into old ways.
I don’t have any support from people I actually know so I have turned to virtual support and often listen to some of the great motivators. One of my favorites and a go-to when I need a lift is Les Brown.
Les Brown is a tremendous inspiration to me. He has an amazing story. He’s been kicked down countless times and he just keeps getting back up and fighting his way through.
Born on the floor of an abandoned building. Given up at birth to an amazing single mother who wanted a family. Growing up with poverty and discrimination. Labeled ‘educable mentally retarded’ in school. No formal education. Significant health challenges.
More setbacks than most people could ever bear to experience.
Nothing but a dream and an unsinkable spirit.
I’ve recently finished reading Live Your Dreams (Les Brown, 1992). I picked it up in Goodwill the other day. I recommend it. It’s easy reading, relatable and encouraging. Les Brown is a great storyteller. And he makes you feel welcome.
For anyone who has ever felt the sting of rejection, imagine if you had somewhere to go that you felt so welcome and understood and encouraged that you were literally inspired to keep trying.
Yah, it’s like that with Les and me. He’s been there and he says don’t ever let anyone stop you – no matter what.
That’s what Les Brown would do.