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books, education, letter, writer, writing, youth

A Letter to My Younger Self

I just finished reading “What Now?” by Ann Pachett. It is her graduation speech to the students of Sarah Lawrence, her alma mater. She talks about crossroads and decisions and happy coincidences. It made me think about a book I read about two years ago called “What I Know Now: Letter to My Younger Self” where a variety of women write letters to themselves when they were younger.

I wrote my own letter to my younger self as part of a final project in business school for a leadership class. I realized I’ve never posted it to this blog, and I went back to read it today. Not only is it a letter to my younger self – it’s a good reminder of how I should be living every day. The letter pertains to many of the principles we learned in the class, the main premise being that if you start every day with 94 out of 100 points, the way a gymnast starts every routine, how will you get to 100? This idea is adapted from Peter Vidmar’s, part of the US Olympic gymnastics team in the 1980’s, motivational speeches that he gives all over the world.

I hope you’ll share your letter here as well.

“Dear Bella,
How are you going to get the other 6? Extend for 2. Take risks for another 2. Be creative to get to 100. Decide what about you remains rock solid and what changes you must make if you are to develop the potential you represent. What really matters?

Denial, passivity, collusion, and habits will try to obstruct your path to change. Work through these phases by trusting life, by trusting that when a door closes, a window opens. Change is about loss. It may be years before you understand why some losses are necessary in order to achieve greater wins down the road. Do not fear – help is on the way. Do not wait for trauma, hurt, or pain to make necessary changes; work toward clearly perceiving a better way.

Disappointment is not the fault of others; it is the result of your own premature cognitive commitment. Don’t be so quick to ignore or dismiss the logs and rocks. Understanding their motivations, or lack thereof, will hold the key to your growth.

Be wary of the boxes: those you put yourself in, those you put others in, those others put you in, and those you allow others to put you in. You must decide which boxes hold your truth.

What vision of the future will sustain you through the valleys of your life and then help you climb to the summits? You choose your energy level, enthusiasm, and sense of hopefulness. Trust is gained by behaving trustworthy.

Eliminate “but” from your vocabulary because everything that comes before it is a lie; replace it with the powerful word “and”.

People will tell you that you feel too much, trust too much, and believe in dreams too much. Smile at them and walk on – feeling, trusting, and believing. Because you feel, you think, and therefore you’re unabashedly, delightfully, and magically exactly who you’re meant to be.
Believing is seeing.

Love,
Christa”

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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Hope and tragedy aren't mutually-exclusive. We're seeing this now across the globe. But I can't just have hope. I have to actively create it. Anger, rage, and grief are powerful tools. Don't bury them. Use them. Here's a post about what I'm doing. Change isn't someone else's job. It's everyone's job. It's my job. We can't just say we're watching the news and crying over the pain and heartache we're seeing. Yes cry, but then get a tissue and get to work. Yes voting is incredibly important but voting isn't enough either. This has to go far beyond politics because our political systems are also broken. We need more on-the-ground community activism. Yesterday, I took more action. I signed up for a policy working group with @campaignzero & made a donation to their work. I signed up for & made a donation to @colorofchange which creates opportunities for online activism to fight racism and advocate for the civil rights of Black people. I went to a webinar hosted by @facinghistory titled Working for Justice, Equity and Civic Agency in Our Schools: A Conversation with @clintsmithiii. Facing History provides resources & training to history educators. The event was fantastic. I made a donation and signed up for more of their events. I also donated to @fndi303. First Nations Development Institute helps native tribes on whose homes we all live—a donation that is long overdue. The 5 largest hotspots for COVID are all tribal lands. New York would be 6th behind all of them. Please don't forget that COVID isn't just a health issue. It's a social and racial justice issue, too. I did all these things right from my home. Some people say they feel powerless in these times. We're not powerless. We're never powerless. But we've got to have the will to use our power. We can't just look away. We have to show up and do something whether that's in-person or online. There are millions of Black people who live this terrifying reality every day and have for centuries. Look at these protesters. So many of them have no safety and no security of any kind in any part of their lives. All they've got is their presence and so that's what they're giving. There's something we can all give.

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