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determination

This tag is associated with 10 posts

A Year of Yes: It’s never too late

I saw this list over the weekend:

  • At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
  • At age 24, Stephen King was working as a Janitor and living in a trailer.
  • At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
  • At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.
  • At 40, Vera Wang designed her first dress after a career in which she failed to make the Olympic figure skating team and didn’t get the Editor-in Chief position at Vogue.
  • At 42, Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting.
  • At 52, Morgan Freeman landed his first MAJOR movie role.
  • At 62, Louise Hay launch her publishing company, Hay House.
  • At 101, the artist Carmen Herrera finally got the show the art world should have given her 40 or 50 years ago before: a solo exhibition at the Whitney in New York City, where she has been living and working since 1954.

Know this: it is never too late to do what you love. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve all of our dreams at an increasingly younger age. We beat ourselves up because we aren’t a 30 Under 30 or a 40 Under 40. Here’s my advice: forget about your age. Stop tracking your life’s milestones against someone else’s. 

Life is about the long game; it’s about being a little bit better version of yourself today than you were yesterday. That’s the greatest win of all. Your life could change at any moment, at any age. Do something you’re proud of doing. Celebrate your wins, learn from your losses, and most importantly, keep going. You’re going to find your way. You’re going to find what you’re meant to do, who you’re meant to be with, and where you’re meant to be. I can’t tell you when, but I can tell you that if you keep looking and trying new things, you will find your best life.

In the pause: Your writing requires this one personality trait

“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” ~Josephine Hart

My friend, Tony, wrote this quote on his Facebook wall and it immediately brought a smile to my face. People who have been knocked down and rise up, again and again, can never be beaten. They will find a way up, out, over, and through any and every difficult situation. It will take time, courage, and a significant amount of effort but they will do it. They are the people I admire the most—the ones who persist against any and all odds, determined to live the life they imagine.

In the pause: You need to get comfortable with rejection

Exactly two months ago, I decided to try to make ACanofCoke.com, my online college- and career-readiness service, a reality. This week I scheduled meetings with 3 NYC public high school principals to talk about doing a pilot with their students this summer and fall. It took emailing 398 principals to get this response. Hey if it’s a numbers game, then I’m ready to play.

The mission of this idea matters so much to me that I’m not bothered by the rejection. I could look at this as ~1% of the schools I emailed are interested or I could see it as ~99% aren’t. I’m going with the former.

Rejection is a part of business, art, and life. We will be rejected far more often than we are accepted – at least that’s been my experience and the experience of just about everyone I know. It’s not the amount of failure we endure, but the persistence and passion that matter most. As Babe Ruth once said, “It’s tough to beat someone who never gives up.” Keep going.

In the pause: You can do this, whatever this is

“Never let someone who has done nothing tell you how to do anything.” ~Al Pacino

If I learned anything from my childhood, it’s this: when the Godfather gives you advice, take it. What you’re trying to do right now is difficult. You’re trying to do something new. Something that matters. Something that has an impact. My friend, Sheldon, once recommended a book to me called The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Hard things don’t have easy answers. To get them done, you have to persist in the face of adversity. You have to believe more in yourself than anyone else does. You have to vault yourself over the endless flow of hurdles being thrown in your way. Be an artful, graceful dodger. Work like hell for what fires you up. The naysayers and doubters are everywhere.Live out loud. Dream out loud. So loud that you drown them out. Take what they say and let their words and doubts make you stronger, more resilient, and more determined.  Watch yourself rise. And take others with you. The world needs you.

Wonder: An email from Hillary

I got an email from Hillary Clinton yesterday. I understand it’s a mass email but it made me feel better to hear from her. I’m looking forward to her next chapter. I’m grateful for her leadership and will always admire her strength, courage, and determination to build a better world for all people. She’s not done, and neither are we. Onward, indeed.

“Christa —

Before this year ends, I want to thank you again for your support of our campaign. While we didn’t achieve the outcome we sought, I’m proud of the vision and values we fought for and the nearly 66 million people who voted for them.

I believe it is our responsibility to keep doing our part to build a better, stronger, and fairer future for our country and the world.

The holidays are a time to be thankful for our blessings. So let us rejoice in this season and look forward with renewed hope and determination.

I wish you and your family health, happiness, and continued strength for the New Year and the work ahead.

I look forward to staying in touch in 2017. Onward!

With deep appreciation and warm wishes, I am,

Yours,

Hillary”

Wonder: Face this week with a wink and a smile

“A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.” ~Gina Carey

Challenges are all around us—at home and work, in our community, in every relationship, and even within us. It’s easy to get pulled into them and not seeing anything else. This weekend as I was in the midst of packing I read this quote by Gina Carey.

Given my schedule and move, this week will be filled with challenges so I’m going to try an experiment: every time I meet a challenge (or a challenging person), I’m going to smile wide before I say anything. In my mind, I’m going to look my challenges dead in the eye and wink. That’s my choice. Care to join me?

Wonder: Anyone can be anything – a lesson from Zootopia

zooTopiasmI saw an advanced screening of Zootopia last night. I hope every child, and every adult who’s a child at heart, gets a chance to see it. The message of the film—with determination and a desire to build a better world, anyone can be anything—is a message that the entire world needs now more than ever.

Too often, people are defined by their past when what counts is how we want to use our past to move forward. That gumption and passion to do something good with our lives is more powerful than we realize. Intention, backed up with a lot of elbow grease and a good heart, moves mountains. So the next time you catch yourself in a moment of self-doubt, or when someone else is doubting you, I hope you’ll pause and say these words – “I never know when to quit.” Those six words can change a life – yours.

(And just for fun, here are 20 incredible fun facts about the making of Zootopia, courtesy of our friends at Collider.com: click here.)

Wonder: How to know if there’s more

Find more

Find more

“If you sense there must be more, there is more.” ~Alan Cohen

Have you ever thought this: “Is this all there is?” This has happened to me, oh, maybe several hundred times in my life. Maybe thousands. At some point, it happened so often that I just lost count.

And here was my second thought every time: “Of course there’s more out there. Go find it.” And I don’t mean more as in more money, notoriety, or some other superficial possession. I mean more in terms of inspiration, better health, more happiness, peace, love, joy, passion, knowledge, adventure, and all the good things that make life worth living.

I didn’t always know where to find it or how to get it. I had to work hard for it. I had to make difficult choices. I had to take the long view. I had to go through hard times and plenty of uncertainty to find the good stuff. But I did find it, always, eventually, in spades. And I’m grateful for it every day, every time.

There are more of these things for you, too. For all of us. And I want us to be brave enough to go out there into the world and get them and share them. In 2016, let’s do that, okay? Okay.

Wonder: The only thing you need to know to meditate

Meditate

Meditate

Here’s the only way to meditate: you have to sit down and close your eyes for some amount of time on a regular basis.

I’d say daily, but that freaks people out. I’d say 18 minutes a pop, but that also freaks people out. A friend of mine recently asked me if I could help her learn how to meditate. I gave her ideas, techniques, and tips of how to make sitting there with yourself tolerable for some length of time, but ultimately whether or not my friend wants to meditate is really the deciding factor.

I shared my practice—every day, at some point, I sit on my couch, turn on the timer on my phone for 18 minutes, turn off every kind of device that makes a sound, close my eyes, and do nothing. (The 18 minutes is purely an arbitrary number that just works for me and take my 18 minutes whenever I can get it – morning, noon, or night.) Sometimes I’m happy. Other times I’m less happy—meaning angry, sad, disappointed, frustrated, sick, or just in a funk of some kind. No matter what my emotional state, I sit there and just be and breathe. Most of the time, Phineas crawls into my lap and goes to sleep. There’s no magic formula. That’s it. That’s all I do. It’s enough for me and it’s enough for you, too.

You don’t need any fancy clothes, sitting apparatus, or pricey classes and workshops. You don’t need permission. You don’t need someone to tell you how to do it. All it takes is practice and a desire to practice. The rest you’ll learn along the way. Your breath and your heartbeat will teach you everything you need to know.

I can tell you this about my daily meditation practice: I never regret it.

This just in: It’s time to grow

Grow

Grow

A few years ago, one of my yoga teacher training classmates choked up during her final presentation and wasn’t able to complete it the way she wanted to complete it. She got very upset (as anyone would!) and said she felt like a failure. Then our teacher, Jeffrey, said words I will never forget: this isn’t failure; this is growth. You might feel like things are falling down around you, and maybe they are. That’s certainly how I’ve felt this week. Jeffrey’s words rang in my ears yesterday, clear as a bell, like a gift from the Universe because that’s what they are and because they are exactly what I needed to hear.

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