“Make it happen. Shock everyone.”
When I first saw these words on a poster, author-less, I didn’t think much of them.
As the day went on, though, I realized that they were connected to self-esteem, believing in yourself and dedication to your own goals. It wasn’t simply a statement to surprise others. Actually, I realized that as the quote stuck in my mind as I read through the news yesterday.
Specifically, I read the story about Canadian Miranda Biletski’s win in a court case about a swimming accident that left her paraplegic as a 16 year old. She fought for almost 10 years and the University of Regina (where the pool was) was found negligent, and she and her swim club were confirmed not responsible.
So today’s post is about perseverance, despite what others think. It’s about finding role models who have gone through much more adverse situations than you can imagine and watching their path to success.
What Making It Happen Means
What does it mean to make it happen? Well, in my view that simple means creating a life you love and achieving your goals. Easier said than done right?
Sometimes, it’s about gaining the confidence to get where you need to go. Other times, it’s about figuring out what it is you want, and not giving up until you get there. There are so many roadblocks on the way that it’s hard not to give up sometimes.
One common roadblock is what others think. The social pressure to conform, to be the same as others allows us to be an individual only within the confines of a specific definition. Well, I got over that idea in junior high school, when role models in my favourite books were the non-conformist, strong female leaders I wanted to be.
Of course it was hard sometimes, but I kept reminding myself that I was a non-conformist and wanted to be the way I was. Guess what? That little mantra I repeated in my mind, defining myself as non-conformist has helped so much!
Why It Doesn’t Matter What Others Think
Do you find yourself caring about what others think? Well, their opinions don’t matter. Now, I don’t mean you should forget about making sure you care for others, or disregard compassion and act however you please. However, trying to ensure other are impressed before you go ahead and follow your dreams is another story.
Here’s why it doesn’t matter what others think:
- You have the power to decide how you want to live your life.
They don’t like it? Too bad. Soldier on. Keep your head held high and your heart focused on the goal in front of you.
- Bravery can be taking the first step
Sometimes, it’s simply about mustering up the courage to be your own person, to forget stereotypes or negative emotions, and keep going. When I catch myself comparing to others, or having to explain why I want what I want, I stop.
Here’s what I do:
I think of role models. Define what a role model means for you, and make a list. Mine lives on my whiteboard. Trust me, it helps to have it in the background every day.
Inspirational Stories from Paralympic Athletes Who Made It Happen
I’ve always found athletes inspiring, and as a die-hard bookworm growing up, I didn’t do many sports until I was about 14 and started to become interested in fitness. Ever since, I’ve kept fit and healthy, and tried out a few sports and classes. Most recently, I’ve been training with personal trainers to reach my goal.
Here are two stories of overcoming adversity I love:
Miranda Biletski & Stephanie Dixon
In case you skimmed down to this section (no worries, I know you’re all busy!), Miranda is a Canadian woman who has just won a court case against a University about a swimming accident that left her paraplegic as a 16 year old.
While looking for more on her story, I came across this one about Stephanie Dixon, a paralympic swimming champion with only one leg. Stephanie won medals at paralympic games as a 16 year old, but says she “still felt shame” at being different. In her article for CBC, she talks about comments people made with an “unintentional, but demeaning tone”. Her article is worth the read.
Turia Pitt’s TED Talk
A post on overcoming struggles with a disability (especially one about athletes) definitely couldn’t be complete without mentioning Turia Pitt. Although I hadn’t heard of her until a year and a half ago, her story sticks with me. A humanitarian, athlete and motivationalist, as she calls herself on her blog, Turia’s life was changed forever as she became trapped in a grass fire while competing in a 100K ultra marathon, barely escaping alive with burns to 65% of her body.
While they told her she wouldn’t ever compete again, they were wrong. She completed an IRONMAN last year. If you haven’t seen her inspiring TED Talk, watch it below. It makes for great teaching material, too!
What have you made happen? How do you plan to “shock everyone”? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! I read and respond to every comment.
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. The photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took about a week ago while on Lokrum Island, Dubrovnik, Croatia
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