Two years ago, on a chilly January day at 12:30 in the afternoon, I was brutally attacked, beaten and robbed – in the alley behind my house. At the time, I did not know or even fathom how I would get beyond the experience and the fear that surrounded me inside and out. But, I kept working on some very important projects and I knew that there was a part of me that was fierce and strong and would be able to get beyond the terrifying feelings. With focus and work, I continued, and the memory began to fade, until I was asked to view photos of potential suspects. It was like being traumatized all over again. And yet, I knew I could conquer this and it would not define who I am or how I am in the world. It was not without work.
Last January, I realized the long, put-off spine surgery was going to have to happen if I was going to get back to and maintain a level of vibrant activity that I have always enjoyed. Walking a block and being in tears was not acceptable to me. Two spine surgeries later, I am better than new with my “bionic” spine, and I am ready to rock ‘n roll. The decision to move forward with an unknowingness of how the surgeries would turn out was initially challenging. And, then it was not. In the words of my surgeon, I just knew it was time.
How often do we just know what we must do, what we must keep working on to be authentically who we want to be and who we are? My guess is that this happens frequently, without much thought. We just know. There are times, however, that those decisions are fraught with concerns, unknowns, uncertainties and fear. It is in these times that resilience, passion and purpose are driving forces that need to be drawn on to forge ahead.
Resilience cannot be overrated. It is necessary to bounce back. Situations in life are not always kind and not always fair. It is that fierce flexibility to adapt and keep at it; a certain type of “grit” or toughness that takes over because what we want to achieve is so important to us that we will make it happen, with a lot of work, determination, intention, focus and commitment.
Purpose cannot be overrated. No matter how you define purpose, the reality is that it is something that you can create and “find” in any task you take on or any job you do. My coaching and consulting philosophy is grounded in helping clients discover the purpose and goals they want to achieve. Reaching top leadership goals, creating cultural change and being the most effective you can be at what you do is not for the fainthearted. To get there, you also must want to make it happen, with a lot of work, determination, intention, focus and commitment.
Which brings us to Passion; this also cannot be overrated. It is that hunger, that strong desire to be a better you, create a better workplace, family, community, or world that is necessary for motivation to create actions (whether the steps are done in small increments or large leaps) that will get you closer to your goals. And, of course, you must want to make it happen, with a lot of work, determination, intention, focus and commitment.
I recently had a friend state that she thought I was a bit of a “badass.” At first, it surprised me as I had never thought of myself in that way, and I am not particularly fond of using similar terms. When I determined what that meant for me, I happily embraced the description. To me, it means confidence, being authentic, not afraid of what others think, and a willingness to challenge the status quo, step out, speak up and create change. As I look back over my life and accomplishments, and live authentically, my connotation is an accurate description. Another friend recently gave me a bracelet that states, “She’s Fierce,” which fits, I agree with and claim. To look at me, you might not see these qualities. To know me, is a different story. For grins, I did one of those exercises online that took my historical postings into account that was supposed to give me a “motto” for how I operate. The phrase I received was, “Wake Up, Kick A*%, Sleep, Repeat.”
I believe that resilience, purpose and passion are my fuel. What is your fuel? How resilient, purposeful and passionate are you about what you want to accomplish in your career, life, organization, community? Don’t underestimate the importance of these three things. They are the ingredients that create change.