I never liked those NPR stories. The ones about the great lives of someone you had never met. Then inevitably within the same soundbite, this great person you have just met on air has now also just recently died. Amazing. Heartache. Damnit NPR. But, I guess sometimes we don’t always realize the value of things until they’re gone. Or even if we do know the value we don’t share it with others until we deeply miss it. Today, I lost a really good friend. Although I only received pieces of her story because of an illness that took her mind, she was one of the bravest women I knew. She smiled and loved everyone fiercely. She believed in women’s equality and pay equality long before it became the hot topic of the day. She’d practice impassioned speeches she prepared for some imagined event, like the real ones of her past. Her encouragement lasted beyond and through her illness. She could make the gravest of doubters believe in possibility.
This week’s book of the week is Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. She talks about the gift of chasing your own personal dream. “Whatever the dream, it’s yours, not mine. You don’t have to give any justification, because as long you’re not asking anyone to give you approval, then you don’t need anyone to give you permission. In fact, when you understand that you don’t have to justify your dreams to anyone else for any reason, that’s the day you truly begin to step into who you’re meant to be.”¹ Let me say that again, for those skimmers out there. You don’t need anyone to give you approval. That dream that you have inside you is special to you. You were given it. Nobody else. There may be others doing what you’re doing, but nobody else was given your specific experiences, personality, and background to do it in the same way. You my friend are an original.
Just as hard as it can be to jump off that ledge toward your dream, it can be equally difficult to stick with it when the going gets tough. “But what if you did stick with it? What if you did believe? And not only you, but what if all sorts of women all over the world made the decision to replace other people’s expectations with their own imaginations of who they might be?”²
Can you imagine if your favorite band/singer had never taken the chance to follow their dreams because it was too risky? Can you imagine if Steve Jobs or Bill Gates had decided to play it safe and just get a good corporate job with really good benefits? Can you imagine if Billy Graham had decided keep things small? Or if Martin Luther King, Jr. decided that the odds were too overwhelming and it would be silly to dream? Or Abraham Lincoln had decided that the fight and the war wasn’t worth it? As famous as these people are and as extenuating as their circumstances were, their journey was no different from yours. How? Because you were made for this time. You were made for your journey. You were given your vision and your opportunity. The difference is the decision to live out your destiny instead of hiding from it.
Stepping into your God-given assignment instead of like Jonah hiding in a boat, closing your eyes, or dulling the pain hoping the storm will pass. The storm won’t pass until you live into your calling. You were given the free will daily to make a choice. And those choices either desert you or heal you. They make you or break you. They set you up for greatness or steal from you your innateness. You decide daily to live in your past or to live out your present, building for you a bright future. Your mistakes can own you or your mistakes can hone you. Live a life that inspires, without apology.
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Vigilant Poster Girl
Every week I talk about a book that we’re reading on leadership and self-development. You can follow along by going to the Book of the Week page at the top. And order a book (either kindle, audible, or paperback) by clicking on the photo of that book. When you do that, it also helps fund this site.
- Hollis, Rachel. Girl, Stop Apologizing (p. xii). HarperCollins Leadership. Kindle Edition.
- Hollis, Rachel. Girl, Stop Apologizing (p. xiv). HarperCollins Leadership. Kindle Edition.