Posts tagged courage

My Olympic Breakthrough, Preparation = Courage

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Jogging in place and waiting quietly to enter the Olympic stadium, the heavy door suddenly opened and two sweaty, male athletes strode into the holding room.  One was obviously ecstatic from his Olympic win.  The other young man was completely devastated.  As suddenly as their entrance, my confidence vanished and I felt a streak of inner terror run up my spine.

Thoughts from the past began streaming through my mind like flashing red neon lights.  “Who are you to think you’re good enough to do this!”  “What makes you think you are strong enough, fast enough!”  “You fool!”  “You’re not good enough, and you never will be!”  Panic-stricken, I bent forward on the pretense of straightening my shin guards…all the while, trying to draw deeper breaths and find some sense of composure.  “Dana,” I said to myself. “What are you doing!”  “Get a grip!”  Yet as the doors opened again, and I straightened up to move forward with our small group, a sinking feeling dropped into my stomach like an iron cannon ball.

My coach stepped through the doorway carrying our beautiful American flag.  As I automatically stepped after him, I gazed upon our countries’ flag, flowing proudly at his side, and my heart sank.  My recently found courage had deserted me.  I felt as helpless as an abandoned child.

Yet as we entered the stadium, my heart quickened at the cheers from the crowd, and my eyes sought out our USA section of the stands.  And there was my husband, so proud…waving, shouting encouragement and holding a banner with my name in big bold letters, “Dana Hee and NBC!”

All of the long hard hours of training, the blood, sweat and tears, the travel, the obstacles of my long journey flashed through my mind.  Despite everything, I had persevered.  I had triumphed.  I was here at the Olympic Games.  I was representing my entire country!  I had the speed, the strength, the timing and the endurance.  I had trained like a maniac.  I had done everything possible to be prepared for this exact moment.  And that is when I realized, that I WAS good enough!  Straightening my shoulders and holding my head high, I waved to the crowd…to my husband, and took that final step into the competition ring. 

The knowledge of my preparation gave me the strength of courage just when I needed it most.  The rest is history.  Gold Medal, USA.

 

cc:  danahee May 2014

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‘When POWER is a hindrance and not a help!

I have sometimes found that my ‘exuberance’ of life is sometimes mistaken as ‘ego,’ ‘Hollywood,’ or ‘falseness.’ What a shame. When the reality is that of a child of hopelessness finally finding the joy in living.

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“Dana’s Near-Suicide Story”

Light or Darkness. Which should you choose when all is lost?

When you fall to the earth and darkness closes in.  When the light of hope begins to dim.  Hold tight to your beliefs.  And one day, you will soar again.


 

 

It was warm that evening.  It was just about midnight.  Seething with self-disgust and emotional turmoil, I sat on the edge of my bed and rocked back and forth in silent agony.  As the minutes ticked by, my distress increased, almost to the point of hysteria.  I just couldn’t ‘take it’ anymore!  With a heart-wrenching sob, I suddenly sprang to my feet, grabbed my car keys and ran down the stairs to get my car.  Pealing out of the driveway, I raced off towards the nearby mountain highway.

With tears streaming down my face and my throat tight with constriction, I forced the accelerator down further and the car slid screeching around the mountain turn in the ‘inky’ blackness of the night.  With my face rigid with anger and self-loathing, I braced my hands on the wheel as I fish-tailed out of the curve and head down the last straight-a-way, and towards the death-defying hair-pin turn 500 yards ahead of me. I cleared the last stand of tall pine trees and raced into the night sky.

It was then that I was suddenly hit with the most beautiful, panoramic view of twinkling stars on the beckoning horizon.  Still on ‘auto-pilot,’ I punched the accelerator all the way to the floor.  Suddenly, my brain flashed back to childhood and to the many nights I gazed in hope at the stars in the night sky. One image from the past, stormed into my mind with the impact of thunder.  It was the evening when I saw that single star.  The evening when I made a wish.  I was only six years old.  But that simple wish gave me the hope and courage to walk into the following years with a tiny spark of hope.

“What happened to me!” I shouted in rage.  “I don’t believe!”  “I don’t believe!”  “I….”  My thoughts and speech were suddenly blocked by a single booming phrase that thundered through my mind, “Be not afraid!”  My mind cleared.  One thousand one, one thousand two…I switched my foot over to slam on the brake.  As the tires screeched eerily on the dark pavement, my car slid at frightening speed, straight toward the flashing yellow guard rail.  It was a flimsy barrier overlooking a vertical drop off of thousands of feet of solid rock.  “Too late,” I hissed to myself…

That one moment in time, changed my life forever.

Santa Clara Cherry Queen Promo Visit in Japan

 

 

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Fighting Fear With Courage! A Stuntwoman’s perspective on performing death defying stunts!


Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself where you started out in life…and where you are now. I was looking through some old stories that I wrote for magazines and such…and came across one from back when I first started out in Hollywood. My words from years ago help to re-generate my soul from time to time. Perhaps you can find your own cool stories to remember!

A Brave New World
“I still recall that day on the set of the Natassja Kinski film, “Bella Mafia,” as if it were yesterday.
It was the day I did my first car hit in my career as a Hollywood Stuntwoman. I remember standing on the paved road in my yellow sundress and strap sandals with the sun warming my back, and glinting off the metallic silver bumper of the car rapidly closing in on me.

It approached much faster than what I had envisioned it would. There was a moment of extreme panic and fear, and I felt like bolting from its path. Then, the fear was replaced by the sudden rush of adrenaline that surged like a locomotive through my body. Steeling myself to focus on what had to happen next, I bent my knees in anticipation of the slight thrust upwards I would make on contact.

As the bumper caught me and lifted me into the air, the ‘whack’ of my body slamming against the hood resonated in my ears for a moment before being swallowed by an intense silence, as I was spit up and over the top of the car. There was a surprising and disorienting sense of peace as I spun through the air, catching glimpses of blue, then brown…before landing with a resounding thud on the side of the road.”
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You know, you’ve really have to wonder about the Mario Andretti’s of this world! And, likewise, all of the skydiving, bull riding, bungee jumping extreme-adrenaline freaks!! Why do they do what they do? Why would anyone purposely put themselves in harms way? I wonder if it’s for the same reason I’ve been doing just that for the last sixteen years.

From competing in full-contact fighting in the Olympic Games, to performing dangerous and debilitating stunts for Hollywood films, I’ve evan had moments where I’ve thought that I must be insane.

What compels me to place myself in front of an oncoming car, or allow someone to jerk me thirty feet through the air and slam me into the nose of an airplane?

Hmmm….perhaps it’s because I’ve wanted to forget about the painful scars of my childhood…the years of life in an orphanage, with alcoholic, suicidal, abusive family members, on the streets, in halfway houses, a government shelter, and a foster home.

Maybe it’s been an effort to strip myself of my negative self-image, and cloak myself in the resulting praise and admiration of my peers. What I do know, without a doubt, is that I have been driven by the need to face my fears head on.

I guess if I had come into the world feet first, I wouldn’t have felt so compelled to challenge my fate, as I would’ve been able to hit the ground running.

As it was, my rocky start in life did nothing to ensure that I would be able to hold my head high in society. Indeed, I was handicapped with a huge lack of self-esteem and confidence.

Luckily for me though, I was too hardheaded to accept defeat with humility and grace. So after years of struggling against the force of the whirlpool trying to pull me down, I forced my head up out of the water, and struck out swimming.

You know, it’s amazing what one can accomplish with a spark of hope and a lot of determination.

When I finally took hold of my life I was actually able to make my dreams of Olympics, Hollywood, and life come true.

I guess it’s a tribute to the strength and courage of mankind that someone like myself was able to rise from the ashes, and hover in the clouds. Then again, maybe it has nothing to do with strength or courage.

Personally, I feel my successes in life have much more to do with fear…fear that I’m not good enough, fear of pain and humiliation, fear of the unknown, and most of all, fear of failure.

For me, it was fortunate that I finally recognized that, ‘that’ was what was holding me back in life. It is equally fortunate that I felt a burning need to change that. The fact that I chose to face and conquer my fears is commendable. The fact that I chose to face fear with more fear, is nuts! Or is it?

From stair falls, to car hits, that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I get when I face fear, and pull off a death-defying stunt makes me feel good about myself.

It reinforces the fact that it is possible to put my fears aside, if only for a time, and accomplish what I set out to do.

It’s a very empowering feeling! And it’s a recipe for success I’ve used many times now.

I wonder…. perhaps that is what drives the Mario Andretti’s of this world, this fear factor, and the need to face it…perhaps not.

All I know, is that when the paramedics are rushing me to the hospital after yet another near-death encounter, and are shaking their heads saying, “Why in the world would anyone do such crazy work!” I smile to myself, because I know the answer to that question.

Call me crazy if you want, but I have learned to fight fear, with fear. Instead of cowing away from the challenges and trials of life, I meet them head on, or upside down, or in front of a car. I now know that the only thing worse than failure is being too afraid to even try. Now, when someone asks me to jump, I say, “how high?”

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Imagine yourself walking on a very high tight-wire with your packed suitcase in one hand, and a martini in the other. A Stuntwoman’s perspective.


“FACING FEAR WITH FEAR!”

an excerpt from Dana’s life as a Stuntwoman in Hollywood…

“I can’t believe I’m about to do this!” This thought flashes through my brain as I lean forward to place tension on the thin cable attached to the jerk vest hidden beneath my baggy clothing. I slow my breathing down. The tension mounts around me, and the acrid stench of the torches burns into my throat. I can almost feel the simulated, nighttime darkness envelope me in its shroud.

You see, I am a stunt double for an actress; and I’m about to be shot with a flamethrower device and knocked backwards through the air, and down into a gully, as several bombs explode. I see everyone scurrying around me, and I feel like the calm in the center of a storm. The special effects guy double checks the fire squib he has placed on my stomach. My ratchet man is talking with me about my starting mark and my arm placement. The hair lady makes a final adjustment to my hair, as the bomb ‘squad,’ adjusts the propane bombs and debris cones that are on both sides to the front of me.

My boss asks if I am ready. I give a nod and a thumbs up sign. All of a sudden everybody scatters and disappears into the darkness. All is quiet. I keep the tension on the line and close my eyes as I hear the effects team say, “The bombs are going hot!” From my cocoon of darkness I hear the shout on the megaphone, “Cameras Rolling!” “Speed!” “And on three. One….two….THREE!” Simultaneously I feel the blast of heat, and I am jerked backwards and up.

My eyes open and I see smoke, then darkness. I feel like I am swimming in the air. I fly backwards, 10ft…. 20ft… Hmmm, I seem to be traveling further than I did in the rehearsals. I should be free falling backward to the pads by now! Then I drop. And just as the thought dawns on me that I’m going to miss the pads, I feel a mighty “THWACK” to my head, and all goes black.

Ahhh….the life of a Hollywood stuntwoman! Ok, call me crazy, but I’m perfectly happy to be flying through the air, jumping through burning windows and slamming myself into walls. Well…maybe I’m a little happier when there is no pain or headache involved, but still, I’m definitely hooked on this wild roller coaster of a career!

Now, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Why in the world would anyone choose such a hazardous career?” Well, have you ever wanted something so badly that you didn’t even try to accomplish it, because you were afraid you would find you couldn’t do it? I call it a fear of failure.

That was the story of my life; that is, until I learned to defeat my fears by facing up to the challenges of my mind. I came from a background of sexual abuse, abandonment, and the ravages created by suicidal, and alcoholic parents and relatives.

I had no self-confidence or self-esteem. What I did have, was a bad habit of thinking, “I can’t,” along with a petrifying fear of disappointment, anger, hurt, and humiliation. As a result, I would typically run from any challenge of the mind, body, or soul. I was my own worst enemy when it came to succeeding with something, and I was sick of it!

So when that first call came for me to double the villainess on the film Under Cover Blues down in Lafayette, Louisiana. I jumped at the chance. When the fear of those first few stunts started to get in the way, I pushed them ruthlessly aside and did what I had to do.

Afterwards, when I realized that I had completed the stunt successfully – even though my brain had been saying I couldn’t – I was enveloped in a euphoric, “walking on clouds” feeling of accomplishment.

At last, I had discovered a good battleground where I could focus on conquering my fears, and I was determined to win! So off I went to Hollywood.

Leaving behind my nine to five job in accounting, the Friday night parties, and Monday night football on the couch with my man, life, I jumped into my new career, and learned to face my fears on a daily basis.

As my experience and skills expanded, the jobs kept coming….Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Demolition Man, Lethal Weapon 4, Charlie’s Angels, Swordfish, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Independence Day, plus an ongoing list of television shows like Star Trek Voyager, The Pretender, VIP, and the X-Files.

Never would I have dreamed of being able to do the stunts I did with helicopters, jeep chases, jet ski-boat transfers, stair falls, saddle falls, jumps from buildings-through glass-over fences, hydraulic ratchets into walls – the ground- into other people. I would have never dared to be hit by a car wearing nothing but a sundress and sandals (Bella Mafia).

As one film led to another, I was swept up into a whirlwind of movie stars, travel, money, and extraordinary adventure. I spent weeks working with actors like Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, and Mel Gibson. I hung out on the set with George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, Charlie Sheen and Gwynneth Paltrow.

The productions flew me first class around the world to exotic locations to film. I galloped a horse in the sunset along the ancient cliffs and temples of Petra, Jordan (same local as Raiders of the Lost Ark). I fought in a hurricane in Wales, and then floated in a rickety boat down a mystical river in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, Thailand (Mortal Kombat Annihilation).

There were side trips for shopping in London, museums in Paris, lounging on exotic beaches. And now, after a brief sojourn in Rome working with Cameron Diaz on Gangs of New York, I am on contract with a great new TV series called Alias. Although the glamour of this business can be fun, it can also be overwhelming.

To keep my sanity, I try to balance my perspective of what is important, and what is real. (Imagine yourself walking on a very high tight-wire with your packed suitcase in one hand, and a martini in the other, and you’ll get an idea of how difficult this can be.)

Beneath the glitz and the glamour, I have found the real counter-balance in this rocky career is the underlying magnet of satisfaction and self-accomplishment.

After a lifetime of dealing with issues from my extremely difficult childhood, I welcome the challenges of this career. They have helped me balance and conquer those old feelings of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and my fear of failure. (Not that I would recommend all people suffering from childhood trauma jump from buildings or launch themselves 20 feet through the air by stepping on a seriously dangerous mechanical device called an air ram)!

And now, after ten years, thousands of stunts, hundreds of movies, over 2,520 days of pain (excluding the five hospital trips and numerous doctor visits for burns, stitches, pulls, breaks, and concussions), I can honestly say that I still enjoy the challenges of my work.

Sure there are times when I long for that nine to five, football night, bruise-free life. But when I’m sixty feet up on a huge 360 degree rotating shipping crane, about to start a big fight on a contraption consisting of a forklift, a motorcycle, and a car sandwiched together (Barbwire), I realize that, once again, I am conquering that debilitating fear I felt growing up
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You see I know that the only thing worse than failing is to let fear keep you from succeeding at what you want to do.

Hey, call me crazy if you want, but now, instead of running from a challenge, when I’m asked to jump, I say, “how high?”

copyright dana hee August 2001

http://www.GreatThingsArePossible.com

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"The Fly In The Kitchen Window" When the going gets tough, the tough get going!


They say that the definition of insanity…is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. Hmm… Perhaps…I AM a little bit insane, because I am very GOOD at doing the same thing over and over again. I was born in the Chinese year of the Ox. Go figure!

Then again…I do believe insanity runs in our Louisiana family line…I’ve heard of my great grandfather’s irrational temper and ugly nature…I’ve witnessed my brother’s often, un-realistic approach to getting what he wants in life…I’ve been the target of my mother’s narcissistic nature of, “I love you…I hate you…I love you!”….and of course, I acknowledge my own bull-dog nature of not wanting to let go of something once I’ve latched onto it.

How DO we know when good ‘ol perseverance has turned into stupidity? As I sit pondering this thought while sipping my morning coffee…I silently contemplate the nasty black fly throwing itself at the kitchen window over and over again in its’ desperate attempt to escape to the flowers and trees outside. Feeling a twinge of embarrassment, as I am reminded of the hundreds of times when I performed the same mindless ritual…I grab up the fly swatter and SMACK! One less thoughtless moron in the world!

As I head to the counter top to get a paper towel to clean up the evidence of destruction, a couple of thoughts leap into my head… “What WAS I thinking all those years?” “Especially when the KISS theory (keep it simple, stupid!) is easily the best way to keep perseverance from turning into stupidity.” Of course…it took ME about 40 years to finally learn that! “MORAN!” I exclaim to myself as I wipe the window clean once again

Perhaps it’s because I’m a woman that I constantly want to complicate things. It’s not good enough for me to know that I need to put water in the horse tank. I need to know how much water was in there yesterday, and if it was close to being empty…why did my boyfriend not notice this and fill it up when he fed the horses last night. And just why IS the hose lying out across the lawn in the hot sun…baking itself to a shorter life-span? And surely…there must be an easier way to get the hay droppings out of the surface of the water…I mean…why can’t horses drink without slobbering and dropping their feed all over the place!!!

Ahhh….there are times I would give much to have the mind of a man. They don’t stop and ponder all of these issues. They either see the tank is empty and fill it up…or they never notice it at all! How simple! And much less stressful than what goes on in MY mind.

No wonder some men are absolute masters at the kiss. That’s their secret to blocking out our multitude of thought waves and getting us women to stop thinking for a few minutes. Fortunately…I finally learned to use the KISS to my advantage also. Not that I can do it all the time…but when I can, dang, it sure beats banging my head against the kitchen window!

KISS…aka… “Keep it simple, stupid!”…Has been my censoring device for several years now. When I begin to realize that I’m not making the progress that I should be making, I now take a step back and take another look at what I’m doing. Is there an easier way? Is there a more effective way? Do I need to do EVERY LITTLE THING I’m doing RIGHT NOW?

“Hmm…perhaps, I can break the problem down to it’s simplest form…and build up from there. Kind of like…if I need water in the horse tank…just go get the hose and turn the water on…instead of spending needless wasted energy fuming and analyzing things that are not pertinent to the immediate problem!”

Of course…since I absolutely seem to LOVE fuming and analyzing needless things and I’ve spent the majority of my life doing just that…I’ve really had to work hard at re-wiring my brain to force myself to KISS instead of shit bricks. Ahh…welcome to my world of the ‘ox!’

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INTERNAL POWER BEGINS WITH A POSITIVE MIND-SET!


I find that when we seek to improve upon our sense of self…we often turn automatically to the external tools of making us feel better…getting our hair done at the beauty salon, going to lift weights at the gym, taking that cool Harley out for a ride, buying/cooking/eating delicious and satisfying foods, and sometimes in my case…going shopping. Hey…she who dies with the most shoes, wins! Right? Aghh! (buzzer sound). Wrong!

Now if only my ‘natural’ instinct was to work from the ‘inside-out,’ life would become much easier. My life would be filled with much more peace, power and happiness. But then, I’m the Chinese ‘Ox.’ I often put my shoulder into that ‘yoke,’ and choose to do things the hard way. Fortunately, since I am aware of my shortcoming…I now to work at changing my life-long pattern of behaviors so that I can achieve higher levels of love, satisfaction, and sense of ‘self.’

It’s my personal experience and feeling, that everything we want and desire is out there in the universe waiting for us to tap it on the shoulder and say, ‘Come here.’ It’s my personal belief, that ‘God’ wants all the best for us. So then…why do we not walk on that bed of roses, if what we want is so very possible? I believe it’s a negative behavior pattern learned from years and years of using ‘external’ power to try and satisfy our internal needs. Question is….how can we change this and tap into the riches of the world that awaits us?

I have discovered that a positive mind-set is the first step we can take to help ourselves.

“Nothing will ever change without movement!” I’m sure you’ve heard that quote. And it’s so true. Believe me I know. Because I did NOTHING the first 25 years of my life to change that which I needed to change! I ran from anger, confrontation, sorrow, and rejection. Heck…I even ran from opportunity because I was afraid I might fail! I refused to ‘step-up’ and take my place in this world, because I was too afraid to take a risk…too afraid to accept a challenge. I was too afraid to even hope. It wasn’t until I reached an emotional crises in life, that I finally began to realize that ‘this’ was no way to live! And so it was…that I discovered that ‘change’ begins with the power of the mind.

In High School, I was pretty much considered a ‘loner.’ I was tall and thin to the point of bony. I was extremely introverted and spent the majority of my free time in the library with my nose buried in a book. And on the special holidays that many kids would get carnations or cards in their lockers…I would often send myself a couple, just to make it look like I had some friends too.

I imagine that things would’ve remained pretty bleak for me throughout High School, if I hadn’t of discovered, that I had a real talent and opportunity to be successful in the track and field event of the high jump. Discovering that I was actually ‘good’ at something began to transform my soul…and with the emotional support of my new Foster parents, I began to train and compete. It didn’t take long before my self-esteem and self-confidence began to grow. Soon I was interacting with other students and participating in after-school activities. I had found a tiny star within myself and I was learning how to make it shine.

By my senior year in high school, I was a different woman. I had fallen in love, and had a fiancé. I had a good job, and I had started dressing nice and taking care of myself. Because of the high jump, I had received a scholarship offer and a training sponsorship with a top Stanford University coach. By the time I graduated High School, I moved out to live with my fiancé, and started taking college prep classes at the local Jr. College. I felt ready to take on the world.

But then, everything turned upside down once again as I was suddenly hit with the emotional whip-lash of being pulled into interacting with my mother (who was recovering from yet another suicide attempt…which she had done in the effort to pull me back into her life), and then I was hit with the news that my grandfather had just hung himself.

To try and keep my sanity, I shut myself off from my emotions, and retreated into the safety of my day-dreams and the sanctuary of hard training. And as I trained with that top coach, I began to day-dream of what it would be like to go to the Olympics and win an Olympic Gold medal. Deep down inside…I just knew that if I could win an Olympic Gold Medal, then I would really ‘BE’ someone. Then I would truly be happy. But just as the going got tough, I let my old fear of failure get the best of me. I couldn’t bear the thought of what would happen if I tried my best, and discovered that, once again, I wasn’t good enough.

It was just like that old saying…that the higher up the ladder you climb, the further you have to fall. And I had fallen so many times before, that I had become deathly afraid of the pain I would feel when I hit the ground. So one day, when I was frustrated and discouraged, I gave up. I just turned and walked away from my dream. I never even said good-by or thank you to my coach. I was too afraid to face his reaction.

Only something unusual happened that day. For the very first time, after spending years running away from any pressure or conflict, I realized what a coward I was being. Hey…I had the talent, and for the first time, I had someone supporting me. It was ‘possible’ that I would’ve been able to make my dream come true. But, now…I would never know. Because I had just given up without even trying! That thought settled in my brain and began to haunt my heart…as the rest of my world began to fall apart.

On the surface, I presented my survivalist ‘game-face’ that everything was just fine. But stressed out with inner turmoil, and emotionally shut-down, my relationship with my fiancé quickly deteriorated and fell apart. I was on my own once again.

To hide from my disappointment and anxiety, I quit college, buried myself in work and began training in the Martial Arts. To everyone else, my life seemed just fine. But deep inside, I was falling apart at the seams. I didn’t return phone calls, or follow through on things. I avoided any and all emotional connections. I didn’t even go to visit my grandmother whose health was failing…even though I knew it was the last chance to see her. I was going through life like a zombie…keeping myself busy, and trying not to think about anything, or feel anything. It felt like I was all alone in the ocean, slowly sinking in a rickety boat full of tiny little holes. I knew that I needed to rescue myself before it was too late…but I didn’t know how.

Just when I was about to capsize, my salvation arrived with my newly found talent in the full-contact fighting sport of Taekwondo. I had been training in the Martial Arts for about five years at this time, and had just started competing in sparring matches. Placing second in my first National competition in 1986, I discovered that this sport was to be introduced in the upcoming ‘88’ Olympics in Seoul, Korea. The revelation, that here was my second chance to make my Olympic dream come true, hit me square between the eyes.

At that moment, it became startling clear to me that I could not just walk away again. I’d been given a second chance, and by God, I’d make the most of it! I was tired of running away from everything. I knew that I needed to draw the line and make a stand. So I swore to myself, that this time, no matter what, I would take this dream and make it come true. And if I failed…well at least I would know that it wasn’t because I didn’t give it 100% effort. I would know that, for once in my life, I did not let my fears get the best of me! Like a drowning person clinging to a life-raft, I made the determination to save myself by clinging to my long standing dream of Olympic Gold.

So at the age of 25, I took the little glimpse of hope that my newly found talent gave me…I told myself, “Be not afraid!” and I took one tiny step towards my dream.

(Dana’s Olympic gold medal win. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44gy17PKDnk )

Ok….so ‘that’ was quite a few years ago. Yet that one step changed my life, because it taught me that good things ARE possible. We just need to know this, so that we can begin to BELIEVE it to be possible. Well through the years, I have taken that one step with courage to make my dreams come true. First with the Olympics (in the full-contact fighting sport of Taekwondo), then with my dream of becoming a top Stuntwoman in Hollywood, and now, with my dream of becoming a great motivational speaker. Sure, I know that I may never reach the heights I aim for. But I DO know that it IS possible. So when I stumble and fall, I pick myself up, brush off the dirt, re-set my mind, and reach out to claim my happiness from the universe.

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Increase Your Interactivity and Productivity by Holding Hands


Ok…my lesson from the past few days w/my good friend Doctor Mark Cheng is how I can multiply effective interactivity and productivity by ‘hand-holding.’ Sound strange? That’s what I thought at first!

First of all…I never really had anyone holding MY hand while growing up. So the concept is completely foreign to me! Yet…I can definitely see it’s value…especially as my goal is to reach out and help others achieve goals and happiness!
Can you imagine how great it would be to multiply YOUR results from YOUR interactions?

Hand-holding is a tool in interacting w/others. I have found that there are times as a Motivational Speaker, that I have not really ‘reached’ all of my audience members. So I’m constantly working on improving upon that. Dr. Cheng helped me understand an easy way to do this, simply by making sure to make that all important ‘connection’ w/each person in my audience by tying THIER personal experience and emotion into MY personal experience and emotion.

By tying an individuals own experience in with mine, it makes it easier for each person to truly relate and connect with what I am saying. This way, it’s as if each person is holding my hand and walking with me as I share my journey and experience with them.

‘Hand-holding,’ is a step by step process in helping your associate, your customer, your client, your partner, your loved one get in touch with their own personal experience/feeling so that they can then relate to the power of your story, and/or the benefit of your product.

For example, I have found that it’s our hopes and dreams that can keep us going in the toughest of times.

Have you ever experienced a moment or several, where you felt ‘abandoned’ or ‘un-loved? Perhaps there was a time when you were a child, that your mom or dad was late in picking you up from school or practice? And with each passing moment, you got more anxious and embarrassed. Where, one by one, all of the other kids were picked up and went off smiling and laughing, while you just stood there waiting? And the longer you waited, the more your feeling of rejection, anger, hopelessness increased. Now of course, I’m sure you did eventually get picked up, or you walked home, and probably forgot all about it a few days later. But, what if that happened to you over and over again? What if you kept expecting for your parent to show up, but they never did? Wouldn’t you feel even more hurt?

Now, take that feeling that you experienced, multiply it by 100 and you might have an idea about how I felt, so many times back when I was in that Orphanage. Here’s one particular story from my childhood, after my mother abandoned myself and my two brothers when I was three, and we were placed in the Masonic Home for Children, where we stayed for the next nine long years…

“My mother did finally get back in touch with us, and would occasionally write or call, with promises that she would come visit or come and take us out of there to live with her. I remember the rare times when I would receive a letter during mail call, and I would gallop all around the dormitory, waving that letter high in the air.

And then there was the time that I actually got to talk with her on the telephone, and she said she’d be coming to get us the next day to go spend the summer with her. I was so excited, I couldn’t’ sleep all night long. The next morning I convinced my housemother to let me wait for her on the front steps.

So shortly after breakfast I sat down on the cold stone steps…waiting, watching, hoping. As each car entered the long circular driveway, my heart would beat a little faster, and I would shield my eyes from the glare of the sun and try and make out who it was. As each car left with their excited, laughing children…my heart would sink a little lower.

Finally the bell rang for lunch, and I pulled myself to my feet, and joined the small line heading to the cafeteria. “Perhaps later” I said to myself! After lunch, my Housemother pulled me aside and told me that no one would be coming to pick me up, and that I would remain at the home, once again, throughout the long summer vacation.

Late that afternoon, I sat in the deep grass and clover on the playground, beneath a huge sweet smelling Magnolia tree. The gentle sun was fading as I watched the few kids that were left, playing a game of jump rope.

As I thought about that morning, the familiar pain of abandonment wrapped its tight hold around my heart, and a feeling of hopelessness spread through my soul. Just then, the bell sounded for us to gather in our groups and head inside the building, so I automatically wiped my face and walked across the immense lawn towards the front entrance with it’s huge stone steps.

I walked up the steps with the other girls, then paused for a moment before entering the door. I turned around to take one last breath of the fresh sweet air before heading inside to the dark, musty smelling dormitories.

It was then that I noticed…there on the horizon in the gathering twilight of evening, just above the tree-line…one single star glittering brightly. Quickly, I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and whispered to myself…“Starlight, star-bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might…have the wish I wish tonight. And I made that wish…just before the hall monitor, smacked me on the backside with a ruler, and sent me inside.

It was a wish that I repeated, year after year. And it was a wish that gave me a glimmer of hope…even in my darkest hour…for as a child, I believed in the power of dreams, wishes and stars. And my wish was for loving family, a place to call home, and a happier tomorrow.”


Well, that wish upon a star, that ‘dream’ kept me going for many, many years! And that’s why I KNOW about how powerful our hopes and dreams are to our sense of well being. They are the light at the end of the tunnel. They are the candle in the darkness of night. They are our salvation when we have nothing else to turn to. So, please. Whatever you do, do not abandon your hopes and your dreams!

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‘INTERACTIVITY’ is the word that explains my day. INTERACTIVITY is the beginning of Success and Happiness.

It’s been a REALLY hard lesson for me to learn, yet as much as I have fought this, I have found, that we are not alone.

Social networks…sad, but true…are one thing, that has helped to teach me the POWER of ‘interactivity.’
There are times that we NEED to reach out and ‘touch’ someone.
The truth, is that we DESIRE to know that we are not alone in this world.
The action of interacting with others has proven to me, that the wonderful thing about ‘connecting’ with others, is that it has truly given me additional power to make my dreams come true.
The power of interacting has given me happiness in ways which I could have never calculated or predicted. It is a power that is both ‘given’ and ‘gained’ What could be more wonderful than that!

How can the power of interactivity help YOU….and YOUR business? Believe me…there are 101 different ways!

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