The morning that this article is published, I will be out at Melwel Lodge delivering a speaking engagement. I wanted to write about it so that the participants would have something to reference, upon conclusion of their weekend retreat. I wanted to make sure that they really got it.
The participants are students who are within the first generation of their family to attend university. The First Generation Project, via Algoma University, provides these students with activities to support and celebrate them and their achievement, while also assisting future students to gain access to post-secondary education. It is such a remarkable program.
I spoke last year at Stokely Creek Lodge for their event and I am absolutely honoured to speak with them again. I am so inspired by this unique group of people.
It is so fitting that Justin Trudeau was elected as the Prime Minister of Canada this week. Regardless if you voted for Trudeau’s team or not, this man certainly believed. On an airplane, a fellow passenger had a note passed to Justin Trudeau asking if he really thought he could beat Harper. He responded with a hand written note that said, ‘Watch me’. I love his conviction.
Trudeau has what so many people need; a belief in themselves. If for some reason Trudeau wasn’t elected this time around, I am absolutely certain he would have ran until he got there. This is the kind of attitude it takes to uncover the best version of ourselves. We must believe.
An exercise that I do, as a demonstration, is to provide a description of two separate people that includes their life circumstances, their adversities, their obstacles, their resources and their gifts. The group is then given instructions to come up with phrases that might be uttered by these two individuals based on whether they believe in themselves or not.
It turns out that some of the phrases and words uttered by the person who doesn’t believe in themselves might say things like, ‘I seem to attract bad things’, ‘if I could only be that lucky’, ‘good things don’t happen to me’, ‘I wish I could do that’ or ‘it’s not in the cards for me’.
On the other hand, the person who believes in themselves might verbalize phrases such as, ‘it will happen eventually’, ‘I know I will get there’, ‘obstacles are stepping stones’, ‘it will all work out’ or ‘I have faith in myself’.
It turns out when we read about the background of both individuals, thinking that one must have had more bad luck in their history, their backgrounds were identical. It turns out that people with the exact same life circumstances can create entirely different results, based on their belief in themselves.
Many might say that Justin Trudeau was privileged, wealthy, born with a silver spoon or entitled. I might say that he had strong evidence to form the belief that becoming Prime Minister of Canada was actually achievable because he grew up at 24 Sussex Drive and with a father who had accomplished the same goal.
This is a similar situation for actors, actresses and athletes who follow a parent or sibling in their career success. It is not that the children are necessarily the best actors, actresses or athletes out there; however, they are more inclined to believe that their goals are possible because they have direct knowledge that someone they know has done it before them.
What does that mean for students, like those in the First Generation Project, who did not have adult role models before them to follow? It means that this group of students did it anyway.
It means that they dared to follow a path that had not already been laid out for them. It means that they overcame obstacles, self-doubt, challenges and the unknown, to make it happen. They deserve so many congratulations because they made a decision to cut their own path where there had not been one before them.
Whether we come from privilege or poverty, education or not, pleasant childhoods or difficult childhoods, good breaks or bad breaks, the decision to persevere and move forward toward the life that our intuition and our heart is tugging at us to do is up to us and us alone.
If someone is telling you that you can’t do something, crank that song called, ‘Anything’ by Hedley, with the lyrics that say, ‘Forget that, I can do anything!’ Just make sure you select the ‘clean’ version of this song before putting it full blast!
Ignore the naysayers, proceed anyway, keep going, right through the adversity and ensure that you are your own best cheerleader. If you choose otherwise, you may always wonder if you could have, you may feel resentful of those who have and you may regret that you didn’t take the chance on yourself.
There are many ways to move toward your goals, without allowing the garbage of life to drag you down. If you are not sure about that, think of Walt Disney. Did you know he declared bankruptcy with his first company called, ‘Laugh-O-Gram Studio’ before he built the Disney Empire?
Did you know that Abraham Lincoln suffered from severe grief and depression before become President of the United States? Did you know that Justin Trudeau lost one of his brothers in an avalanche two years before losing his father to cancer? Justin was in his twenties when these deaths happened.
If you want to find love again, believe it. If you want to create a better career for yourself, believe it. If you want to own a home, go back to school, create art or open a business, believe it. If you want to reconnect with a loved one, retire overlooking the water, build a home or have a child, you must believe it first….
There are many, many ways for all of your dreams to come true but most people cut the possibilities off at the pass because they choose to believe in the very thing that keeps us prisoner – our own mind.
You deserve to be free of the negativity that may be preventing you from living full out. Isn’t it time to shut the negativity down? Whether it is coming from yourself or others, you can decide to break free of it. Believe it yourself. If not, how do you expect anyone else to believe in you?
‘I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.’ ~ Michael Jordan