Limit the Complaints and Watch Your Success Soar
If you want to see what putting the principles of determination and tenacity into action can accomplish, the story of Manal Elzeen should inspire you. Manal was a high school economics and accounting teacher in the Sudan when unrest developed in that country. She knew that her life and the lives of her children were in danger and that she must get out of the country.
She sought asylum in the United States and, after a period of time, was able to come to this country and settled in Fort Wayne. However, she now faced another problem: she could not pursue her teaching career as her new state of Indiana would not give her a teaching certificate with her credentials. Determined that she would never give up, she instead put her training to work and opened a day care for children in her home.
Because she utilized her skills and worked hard, her business was a success, allowing her to support her family and even prosper in her new home. As Manal says, “If you want to get anywhere in this life you need to work hard and learn more. This is an opportunity to receive the support needed to be successful. I want to make my business great!”
How many of us complain when the slightest setback changes our plans?
When I think of the times I have considered giving up due to nothing worse than the fact that people did not react to me the way I expected, I am almost ashamed when I see the determination of a woman like Manal. Over the years, I have learned that if one thing is undoubtedly true, it is the fact that if you never, ever, ever, EVER give up, good things will eventually happen!
Determination is not blindly following a path, however. Perhaps this is where many people make their mistakes. You have to know exactly where you want to go. The more detailed and concrete your goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them! As my own niece Janelle Cline said, “Those who accomplish great things in life have what I call a ‘can-do’ attitude. They are determined to ‘can-do’ whatever is needed to accomplish their goals.”
When you are determined to pursue a well-identified goal, and when you never give up on that goal, you are well on your way to accomplishment!
The Boyle Factor:
If you were privileged to witness the debut of Susan Boyle on America’s Got Talent, you have probably never forgotten it.
I still get chills when I see the video clip! However, if you missed it, let me give you a brief synopsis: A middle-aged woman, plain and rather dowdy in appearance, walks on to the stage to be grilled by Simon and the rest of the judges. The camera pans away to show the smirks on the faces of the audience. Simon grills the woman about what she is doing there; his message seems to be that she is not “star” material. The woman’s diffident answers do nothing to dispel this myth! Finally, with a dismissive “go ahead,” Simon gives the woman the nod to begin to sing. She opens her mouth, and . . . the entire room is shocked, then spellbound, then on their feet, many of them in tears! Singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, Susan Boyle showed everyone that what was inside her was nothing like the outside! Her sweet, clear and powerful voice rang through the hall, her performance became an overnight sensation. She went on to have the single most pre-ordered album on Amazon to date and to sell millions of records worldwide. She embodied the ideal of “Believe, follow your dreams, don’t give up and great things will happen!”
This 48-year-old, seemingly unremarkable woman teaches us a valuable lesson. Some people dream and some people make dreams happen. Susan Boyle took her courage in her hands and walked onto that stage, probably knowing that she would be laughed at and even booed. However, she was strong enough to follow her dreams and she achieved miraculous results, despite what must have been a great deal of fear and doubt.
In my new book, The Ambitious Woman, I speak of dream stealers. Dream stealers are those who say that you cannot do what you want. They always try to “bring you back to earth” with their “wise advice” and encourage you to shoot for lesser goals. The problem with dream stealers is they are so often people we like, respect or even love! They may be family members or, as in the case of Susan Boyle, they may be people who are put in positions of power over others. However, just because someone says you cannot achieve your dream does not make it true!
Believe, follow your dreams, and don’t give up. Never let anyone tell you that you are too old, too slow, no talented enough or that your dream is unrealistic. The fact is that if you can dream it, you can do it with hard work and focus!
If you want to see Susan Boyle rock the house with her beautiful rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ you can view it here.
Do You Like What You See When You Look at Your Life?
You can change it! You can add to it! You can create any destiny you want for yourself! But, how?
I cannot really explain to you the importance of taking action, so instead I am going to share with you a story that illustrates just how important action is.
Mary C. Crowley was the founder of the company Home Interiors & Gifts. You may have purchased her products at one time or another, or you may just be a fan of the great interior décor Home Interiors offers. However, at one time, Mary C. Crowley was not the president of a company; she was a single mother during the Depression with small children to feed and clothe. Mary was faced with a rather desperate situation, but instead of giving up, she chose to take action, take charge and live an action-based life.
No matter what people told her she could or could not do, she moved forward until she had created the company she wanted. It would have been so easy for her to simply give up, but she kept pressing on. Eventually, her company employed over 100,000 consultants and she became the first woman ever to serve on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Board of Directors. I can tell you that she did not do that by giving up!
Mary’s life took another turn when she was diagnosed twice with cancer. Although this was a different type of battle, she moved forward with her mind made up: she was going to beat this disease and live her life to the fullest—and she did!
In my own life, I have seen people take action over and over again with amazing results. The simple fact is that no matter how much we talk about doing or changing, taking action is the only thing that really works! Everything starts with you. When my husband and I lost everything, it would have been so easy to give up, to blame others and to simply hand over the responsibility of our situation to someone else. However, I simply could not do that. I remembered my early lessons, particularly the acronym TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. I might seek help and support, but taking charge means taking responsibility, even if you are not at fault in a situation. You will find that when you take ownership of a situation, you begin to take action and “fix” the problem.
I encourage you to begin today: take action, take charge, and live an action-based life and you will find yourself accomplishing amazing things!
The world recently lost
an incredible woman with the death of Dr. Maya Angelou.
However, before she died, Dr. Angelou touched millions of lives with her optimism and her unique perspective on life. As she worked to encourage young people everywhere and to reach out to those of all faiths and races, Maya Angelou showed more than once that she understood a simple precept that changes the world: “Only one person can set limits on what you can do, and that person is you.”
Born into extreme poverty and the victim of racial discrimination, Maya Angelou’s life did not seem very promising at the start. However, as she grew, she had others to help her learn to read and support her education. She realized very quickly that learning everything she could would be her ticket to the larger world. She also knew that her own hard work was what would help her attain that education. As Maya Angelou said, “Nothing will work unless you do.”
Her work certainly paid off. From a small child born into the most hostile of environments to the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000 and the Lincoln Medal in 2008 as well as three Grammy Awards, Maya Angelou embodied the spirit of hard work and achievement. Her death on May 28, 2014, left millions across the world morning this once-unknown woman and celebrating her life and accomplishments.
How does this relate to you? Where do you find yourself today? Are you living the life you were meant to live and achieving all you were meant to achieve? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
In my new book ‘The Ambitous Woman’, I try to encourage and reach out to women who have dreams they would like to achieve. Encourage, according to the dictionary, means to “inspire with spirit, courage or hope; spur on; hearten; stimulate; to give help; foster.” However, I will be the first to tell you that no matter how much I want to help you, simply having you read a book is not enough. As Maya Angelou said, you must be willing to do the work and put in the effort in order to achieve your goals, even if that work is very hard! Only one person in this world can make you achieve your dreams, and that person is you. Start today making yourself into the person you want to become!
Have you ever heard the story of Diana Nyad?
On September 2, 2013, she swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. That may not seem like a unique accomplishment; after all, other people have done it before. However, there was a difference between Diana’s trip and those of other people. For one thing, it was her fifth attempt to cross the dangerous ocean between these locations; four other times had ended in failure. For another, she was 64 years old! Even more incredibly, Diana was the first person to make the swim without a shark cage. What this should teach us all is to never give up and find a way to pursue your dreams. The more we stay in our comfort zones, the less inspiration and growth we experience.
I am sure it cannot have been easy for Diana Nyad to pursue that dream. It was not easy for me when I spent two years, along with my husband, remodeling our home to sell it. I kept thinking, throughout the hard work, of the victory we would achieve if we could sell the house at a high price. Just thinking about it made the work easier! However, plans changed.
Suddenly, we found the dream home we wanted. What about our old house? We were not ready to sell. However, we were blessed to be able to pass the house to our son’s family. By taking the chance and putting in the hard work, we were able to not only achieve our dream but also to bless someone else.
The fact is that until you dare to swim without the shark cage, you will probably never realize your true dreams. Stepping outside of comfort zones is difficult, but if you never give up, seek inspiration and find a way to pursue your dream, you will realize the full potential of what you are capable of doing. In my new book, The Ambitious Woman, you will find many examples of how I might never have achieved my goals without being willing to “swim with the sharks,” even without a cage!