I stepped up to the edge and looked down. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath... and jumped in head first.
The summer I turned 13 was spent at the swimming pool. We swam at a huge olympic size pool with three diving boards at one end, two low dives and one high dive.
I had bragged to my friends that I could execute the perfect swan dive off the high board. Eventually, I was challenged to prove it. No problem. I believed that I could. In my imagination, I saw myself walking to the edge of the board and launching! I believed I could that is until I began to climb the ladder. At the top I realized I had gotten into more than I could just jump out of. It was a lot farther looking down than looking up. I started to back out, but the next kid in line was at the top of the ladder yelling, "It's my turn!"
I heard the sound of other kids playing safely at ground level. I looked and saw the mocking smiles on the faces of my friends. I took a deep breath and dredged up my courage and jumped in head first.
For a moment, my dive was perfect. Then my feet flipped over my head and I landed with a terrific force in the most awful belly flop you could imagine. The wind was knocked out of me so badly I thought the lifeguard would have to fish me out.
I failed miserably, but I learned something. I learned to keep my big mouth shut. I also learned that sometimes the best way to reach your goals is to jump in head first. I have since learned that when you do accomplish your goals, your successes will affect many lives other than your own.
I read about a head firster recently. Anne and her brother Jim were a brother and sister with big problems. their mother died when they were young. Their alcoholic dad just disappeared. Anne legally blind, was only able to make out blurry shapes. Jim had a tubercular hip and walked with crutches. No one knew what to do with them so they were disposed of at the poorhouse in Tewksbury Massachusetts.
The Tewksbury poorhouse was a repository for human refuse. All the people that society did not have a place for ended up in places like this.
A living nightmare, Tewksbury housed children with the insane, the healthy with the contagious. The food was always bad, often rotten. At night, The rats were in charge.
Anne insisted that she and Jim be together. A wish that was honored until Jim died suddenly in the night. Anne was all alone now. Afraid but sure she could do better.
Her chance for escape came when an investigative committee came to tour the Tewksbury facility in response to rumors of ill treatment and misconduct.
This committee was led by Frank Sanborn. Anne knew that Sanborn could get her out of Tewksbury, if she could just get his attention.
Anne followed the investigators from room to room trying to discern which of them was Sanborn. When the committee ended their tour and was about to leave, Anne still had not identified Sanborn.
Anne literally jumped in head first. She dove into the midst of the entire committee. grabbing hold of skirt hems and pant legs, she pleaded - "I don't belong here! I want to go to school!".
Anne's plea did get Sanborn's attention. He helped her get out of Tewksbury and into school. 6 years later at the age of 20, Anne graduated from the Perkins School for the blind as the valedictorian of her class. She even received surgery to correct her eyesight.
This could be the end of a happy story, but Anne's successes extend far beyond her own life. Anne's habit of jumping in head first was about to help someone else.
Anne received a call requesting that she become the private teacher to a difficult student. She had become quite an innovative educational theorist. Now it was time to exercise her theory's in real life.
When Anne arrived at the home of her new student, she saw that she did have an incredible challenge before her. As usual, Anne dove in. Working with her new student day and night she was able to pierce the darkness and break through the silence that had held her pupil captive.
The teacher, Annie Sullivan was able to finally reach through and communicate with her student, Helen Keller.
When it is time for you to reach for your dreams, close your eyes, take a deep breath... and jump in head first.
Steve Brummet is a communication expert, writer and speaker who works with all types of organizations to increase understanding of communication styles.
Better communication can help you and your organization reduce stress and increase productivity. For more information on one of our workshops, please feel free to call or write.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 17, 2003
Beautiful Day Blues
The massive orb dominates the aqua crystalline backdrop of its own making, floods its rays on everything below. The sky devoid of a single cloud seems as empty as I feel and the beach looks like an arid desert, molded by tireless wind and blazing heat. I picture myself atop an Arabian camel, parched with thirst, crossing an unforgiving series of never-ending dunes, up one and down the next, no rhyme nor reason, only the nose of the animal in front of me.
Victory is an Accomplishment
Did you ever watch a bird in flight? Especially ducks or geese as they take off from the water? The take off is not the soaring grace of flight; it is a struggle, an accomplishment to get the bird out of the water and into the air. The REAL victory of flight is not the feat of soaring on air currents to a final destination, once in flight the bird has relative ease from his struggles. The real victory is in getting past the struggles of starting, just getting out of the muck.
Inside Secrets On How To Stay Afloat During Tough Times
Do you find yourself asking questions when tough times come like, 'Why has this come my way?' or 'What did I do to deserve it?' It has sometimes crossed my mind, 'Why me?' when I'm faced with what seemed like an insurmountable problem.
Everyday is a Gift, Open and Enjoy It
There is a bottle of perfume sitting on my dresser that I was given when I was ten years old! As you can tell I have pack rat tendencies! For me that pattern started as a young child. I could never bear to throw things away. There was more to it than not wanting to throw things away. I loved the feeling I had when I would receive something new, and would not want to spoil it by using it unless it was for something special. I would want to save it for a special occasion. A new dress would sit in the closet, until a special event to wear it. Perfume would sit on my dresser, not to be used for everyday, but for a special 'something'. This was a pattern in my life for many years.
It Wont Happen Again
Have you or do you know someone who has been abused or been involved in an abusive relationship? What is your definition of abuse? All of us know that physical violence is abuse. We also know there is emotional and mental abuse too, but do we know what it really is?
Maintaining Honesty and Integrity
(Excerpted From Cultivating An Unshakable Character)
Listening to Your Inner Voice May Save Your Life
"I was washing my breakfast dishes one morning when it occurred to me to go visit a friend who lived several miles away. I did my work and started to dress for my journey, when there came over me such a feeling of depression, or despondency, or gloom, that I could not understand. I kept on getting ready, all the time trying to reason away the feeling. But it would not go. Finally, I got my hat on and one glove and started for the door, when such a heaviness came over me that I turned back into my room and sat down saying, 'God, I want to know what the meaning is of all this?' The answer came loud, strong, and firm, 'Stay at home.' I stayed, and taking off my hat, gloves and cape I felt so light I seemed to walk on air. At the time I supposed the voice (I call it voice for want of a more definite term) had told me to stay at home because someone was coming to me for help. This was my first year as a teacher and healer. But not a soul came that day, nor that night, and the thought flitted through my mind that perhaps it was all nonsense after all and I might as well have gone.
Van Morrison, Spiritual Rock Star
Here I am gazing on the Web for extraordinary witnesses of enlightenment yet very popular in the entertainment realm, so that at least everybody that read newagenotebook.com could say "hey, I've seen or heard that person!" As my research focuses randomly on any performer from our time, some pages choose to cite the art of singer Van Morrison.
The Best Policy
Direct Answers - Column for the week of July 28, 2003
Live After 40
"For man, as a specie, and unlike other inhabitants of the globe, does not just ravage mindlessly the planet of its bounties in order to survive. He endeavours to leave behind legacies of the application of his mind." -Rasheed A. Gbadamosi
The HUGE Deposit of Diamond in You
Something happened to me some years back that is worthy is sharing with everybody all over the world. When I started running my business, things were very tough for me to the point that I could hardly afford to have a dime on me. One of those days, I was at home and very hungry with no hope of seeing anything to munch. I tried to force myself to sleep, but I could only succeed for just thirty minutes! I was so hungry that I just couldn't have time for my favorite past time, reading.
Are You Afraid of Change?
Change, no matter how you cut it, can certainly be adaunting task. There are so many ways to change; yourimage, attitude, environment, perceptions, addictions, andhow you treat others.
What Does Faith Have To Do With Marketing?
No, this isn't going to be a sermon or anything ? don't worry about that! I'm no preacher, so I wouldn't even think of trying; but what I do have is faith in myself and faith in the fact that I can be successful on the internet.
World Kindness Day
Once upon a time, in ancient India, a beggar favored a certain foot of land in a village square. He wanted to be rich, but he only knew dire poverty. One day he died on the spot where he had been begging for decades. The villagers decided to bury him on the spot where he had spent decades begging. They marveled when they found that only a few feet beneath the surface lay a treasure chest from an ancient kingdom.
Let Change Be Your Friend, Mentor, and Inspiration
People have a tendency of anticipating pending change on the assumption that it will be bad. Such focus on the negatives contribute to unnecessary fears of change, even when there is really not much, if anything, to fear. Sometimes that fear can be inflamed by self doubt; doubts of our own ability to deal with this new situation that is about to befall us.
The Power of A.S.K.ing
Have you ever had the opportunity to follow-up on a sales lead? Recently, I had such an opportunity to reconnect with an organization that I had been trying to secure as a client. Due to some new events and after multiple unreturned phone calls, I decided to ask for the decision maker within the department. After receiving the executive's name and finally making contact, I explained who I was, where I was from and how I could add value to their training request. A planned 5 minute telephone call turned into a 30 minute engaging dialogue where I learned even more about their needs and was asked in return if I had the experience to facilitate a second, separate engagement.
7 Keys for Joyful Living!
Here are some thoughts for finding and experiencing joy in your life. Ifthere were one thing I could wish upon my family, friends and the readers ofthis Ezine, it would be joy in everything they do!
One of the most undervalued blessings is God's will to make every individual a unique creation. It takes all kinds of people to do the great work of the Lord's kingdom, and it's a good thing that each of us has special talents, callings, and gifts to serve this purpose. Working together, we can accomplish great things. Unfortunately, the world doesn't value unique character. In fact, being different often translates to being misunderstood.
Change Begins With Choice
Any day we wish we can discipline ourselves to change it all. Any day we wish; we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish; we can start a new activity. Any day we wish; we can start the process of life change. We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year.
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