Posts tagged inspiration

Be Remembered, Not Forgotten

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I so admire people who can walk up to a complete stranger and get that person talking about their life or thoughts. I myself am fairly good at this from time to time, yet nothing like the lady I ran into at a recent 4th of July BBQ. There were about 40 of us out there on this 4,500 acre ranch next to Tom Ford’s massive property outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many of us didn’t know each other, yet most were happy to have you introduce yourself and engage in a few minutes of small talk. And then, there was this pretty lady, probably in her late 40’s. She marched up to me and told me she wanted to know more about my Olympic win. She had such a light in her face and keen interest in her tone of voice. She made me feel interesting and important. And though I tried to turn the conversation back to her, she successfully navigated me in another direction. Throughout the remainder of that day, I observed her chatting earnestly with quite a few others, and I was amazed at how easily she could engage just about anyone. Driving home from the ranch that evening, I thought of the people I had met and realized that although there had been a lot of nice, ‘well to do’ people there; the conversations they initiated were always about ‘them’ and how important they were. The one exception was that wonderful lady and how she made me feel special. As I turned off the dirt road to enter the highway, I thought of a quote from the late, great Angelou Maya, “People do not remember what we do or say. They remember how we make them feel.”

 

cc:  danahee 2014

 

 

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The Parting Gift of Life

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I’m not really sure why my mom thought of the name ‘Bathsheba’ for my  little ball of fur puppy. Yet the name stuck, although mostly she came to be known as ‘Sheba.’ Now, fourteen years of happy life later, my now beautiful loyal Akita/German Shepard dog is on her last days here in this world.

Many people here in my one-horse rural town think of dogs as a tool for guarding, hunting or herding livestock. They would not understand my devastation about my dogs recent stroke and resulting paralysis of her hind legs. They cannot relate to the sense of stress and sorrow I feel as I monitor her hour after hour, day after day…awaiting the inevitable…her death. I pray the Lord will take her, yet her apparent joy for life is still strong, and indeed it may be my decision to have to put her down. So I have made time to be with her a much as possible in this tiny window between now and tomorrow…between life and death.

I find it fascinating that she herself seems to know this and is also taking full advantage of our last minutes together. Normally, my very ‘lady-like’ ‘Queen’ Sheba would never venture outside in the heat of the day, with all the dirt and bugs. It is customary for her to be disdainful and aloof all other critters and people. No longer.

As if she is preparing for her reunion with Mother Nature, she seems to revel in the feel of the dirt beneath her hide, lying watchful under the stars at night, enjoying the sun warming her body during the day, and showing keen interest in the friendships of all other life around her. She can no longer see, yet she turns her head at the sound of voices near, and chickens there. This morning, she even laid down with her handsome kennel mate with one paw stretched over his foreleg in a completely abnormal, yet loving embrace.

Her obvious love of life in these final days, truly makes me aware of how we are all interconnected here on this earth. It makes me realize that we often take this gift of life for granted…choosing not to risk the inconvenience of dirt or bugs, not to let the sun embrace us or enjoy the stars above, choosing not to allow other people into our lives. Sheba’s last days here on this earth are a great reminder to me, to treasure each and every moment, and to embrace all living creatures in my circle of life.

Yes, perhaps many here in this tiny little town will not understand the depth of my sorrow when she transcends this world. But I do wish that they could witness this beautiful gift of the joy of life that she is leaving behind.

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Quitting Is NOT An Option! an Olympic moment

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The 16 members of our U.S. Olympic Taekwondo team rounded the corner of the third mile running at a good even pace.  We were lined up two by two, keeping pace with each other in uniform rhythm…except for me.  Little by little I had dropped back in line, until I took up the last position at the rear, and was still loosing ground.  My heart was racing and I could not get enough air into my lungs.  My legs felt like lead, and I was light headed from the effort and lack of oxygen.  

Panicking, I slowed my pace even more, watching in dismay as the gap between my team and I grew further apart.  The farther the distance grew, the more my resolution weakened, until finally, I decided it just was not worth it!  In my mind I heard the voice of my mother, “You are not good enough, and you never will be!”  Giving up, I came to a stop, feeling that familiar disappointment of defeat.   Dropping my head in chagrin, I stood there with my head bowed, my hands on my knees, struggling to breathe.  

Feeling a vibration and pulse of movement, I looked up and discovered that my entire team had circled back towards me.  Coming up behind me, the two lead runners caught my arms and pulled me with them back into line without breaking the pace.  Forced to jog alongside, I willed my feet to move forward.  The entire team started a military chant to help us keep pace; and falling into this rhythm helped to distract me from my agony. 

I forgot about my misery and weaknesses.  I blocked out the memory of my mothers voice.  I focused only on the chanting words, my breath, and the next running step forward.  At certain intervals within the chant, our team leader would yell out, “Hee…Woman!”  And then the entire team would clap three times in unison.  Each time, a sense elation at this show of support surged through my mind and body.

Before I knew it, we had finished the five mile run.  I had made it!  It was not pretty.  Yet with the help of my teammates, I had done what was necessary.  As I made my way wearily back to the locker room, mopping my wet face with a towel, I realized how much is possible if I can just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sure, maybe I was not as good of a runner as my teammates were; maybe I did not have their endurance or strength of will…but I WAS learning. 

I was learning that my mind could be my worst enemy or it could be my best friend. Success or failure is all a matter of focusing on why you can…or why you can’t.  As I entered the locker room, I realized that quitting is a choice, and the choice is mine to make!  As I collapsed onto a bench inside, I realized that if I wanted to become an Olympic champion, ‘quitting’ was NOT an option.

Now, at the age of fifty two I find this lesson to be extremely helpful as I face a new and daunting challenge in my life.  Many times it seems that for every step forward I take, there is one that sets me back.  There are moments when I get frustrated and just want to quit!  Yet each time, I force my self to keep stepping forward while my team’s voice echoes in my ears, “Hee…Woman!”  

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Finding Strength In Adversity

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Dressed in my pink and white polk-a-dot nighty, I poke my head around the corner of the doorway and watch as my parents yell and scream at each other in the living room. Toe to toe they stand facing each other…my dad with his hands on his hips…my mother gesturing wildly. Spinning around, my mother strides angrily to the nearby dining table, grabs wildly at the used dish ware and begins hurling cups, glasses and plates at my father. My father shields his face and dodges the flying saucers, as they smash and splinter against the brick fireplace behind him. Sobbing and holding my hands over my ears, I stumble through the room towards my father before tripping on the hem of my nighty and falling on the broken pieces. I roll over and sit there waling, seeing my bare knee and the bright red blood…as my father turns his back and stares with stony silence into the dark empty fireplace. The last sound I remember before waking up alone in an orphanage is the loud slamming of a door as my mother storms out of the house.

And now? I look at my life today, and I acknowledge the years of turmoil, of living on the streets, in Half-Way Houses…the Government Shelter and Foster Home.  I recall some desperate times of pain and near suicide.   And I find that I am grateful for all that has happened in the past and all that happens in the present. The hardships, the pain, the obstacles…they serve to make me stronger. They teach me to find faith, to hope, to persevere. I believe that it is because of the difficulties in life that I have achieved so much. Even today, as I strive for my next big achievement, I know that it is the bitterness that helps me savor the sweet.

Life is not over when one door slams closed.

 

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cc:  danahee June 2014

 

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A Quote From A Real Life Champion!

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 “In life, and in my line of work as a Stuntwoman, Olympic athlete, and Motivational Speaker, change is the only constant.  Necessity is my mother of invention because she causes me to create and adapt.  Perseverance is my rock solid companion that always gets me home safely; and passion is the life-blood that drives me beyond the ordinary.”

 dana hee

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A Little More! Innovation Secrets Of A Champion

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Dana Hee, Olympic Gold Medalist, Award-Winning Stuntwoman, Life Survivalist and top Motivational Speaker, shares innovation secrets that propelled her to the top of four separate distinguished platforms of life.

Dana’s Principles Of Innovation

 1. You must be willing to risk failure to achieve greatness

 “Whether they consciously realize it or not…the majority of people here on this earth let fear of failure stop them from doing what they truly want to do. What they don’t acknowledge is that it is ‘fear of failure’ that is holding them back. What they don’t realize is that this fear is an illusion created from the depths of our mind and perpetuated throughout society. Just imagine what is possible when you can understand that failure is only a stepping-stone to greatness!”

 2. Thinking outside the box is key to utilizing what is at hand, and/or doing what is necessary to develop alternative resources.

 “So many professionals, workers and athletes believe that ‘X’ is absolutely needed to accomplish ‘Y.’ Yet the truth is that there are often infinite ways to reach the end goal. One must learn to let go of pre-conceived notions of absolute truth and develop their own rhythm and dance in climbing that ladder to ultimate success.”

 3. Enhance your vision of success from the power of YOU.

 “Every single one of us has an amazing resource of individuality within us. We are born with this miraculous version of ‘us.’ Identify your strengths, your creative ‘turn-ons’ and use this power to visualize and develop your ultimate results.

 

 

 

 

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Dream The Impossible Dream! Innovation = Success

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If you ‘think’ your dream is impossible, think again!  It’s truly up to YOU whether you succeed or fail with your desired results!  And often, it is innovation (thinking outside the ‘box’), that can be your best friend!

I was in Toronto, Canada on a film called “The Long Kiss Goodnight.” I was the stunt double for the lead actress, Geena Davis, and we were filming five months of mostly nights…in one of the worst winters Toronto had seen. Of course Geena had to look good for camera, and her wardrobe was designed for looks and not practicality for the weather. And of course, I, as her stunt double…needed to figure out how to appear like ‘Superwoman,’ even though I was feeling like a ‘Do-Do bird’ as I put that wardrobe on and stepped outside.

I immediately began slipping all over the place in the snow and ice, in the thin-soled, high-heeled designer boots (two and a half sizes too big!)…while trying to balance myself with a 30lb rifle in one hand, and 20lbs of ice skates slung over my shoulder! Thinking of the high action stunts that I needed to do the next day in the snow and ice, I was horrified and my heart caught in my throat. I was an athlete…not a magician! Yet…what could I do? The wardrobe group offered no solution to the problem. They said that there certainly was nothing they could do by the next morning!

Well…I thought about it for a while, and after work, set off to a cobbler shop in one of the underground malls. There…I purchased similar looking boots in my size, and then convinced a cobbler to install sharp golf cleats on the bottom of the soles. On the set the next day, no one knew or cared about what I had done with the shoes…all they cared about, was that I could do what was asked of me…without looking like a duck on ice! You just got to love innovation!”

 Bottom Line:

 Identify desired result

Acknowledge obstacle

Use resources at hand to eliminate obstacle

Achieve success

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Dana Hee on Leadership and Success

Dana Hee being interviewed about Success and Leadership by NAVALLO, a site that features interviews with the worlds most successful people

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Here are the questions and Dana’s response

1. How do you define success?
Happiness in each and every moment that is good, as well as tolerance and acceptance of those bad things that you have no control over.

2. What is the key to success?
For me, being “present” or “in the moment” as much as possible. Also, persistent education about the world around me, combined with open mindedness that I may not always be right.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
No. For the first 23 years of my life I felt like a complete failure, and I had very little self confidence or self-esteem. I was so afraid of failure that I was too afraid to accept a challenge, too afraid to take a risk, and too afraid to even try.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
The knowledge that the thrill of victory is worth the possible agony of defeat. I know, because the first 23 years I felt like a failure for being too afraid to even try. Fortunately, I learned that there are consequences for our actions, and especially our in-actions. Sure, there is often a price to pay for victory, but the cost of not rising to the challenges in life are far greater. Victory is here, and then gone, yet the pride and satisfaction to have the courage to go for what you want? That lasts a lifetime!

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
To be humble in my greatness, to be accepting of my weaknesses, to be happy with this life I have been given, and to be proud of even the smallest step with courage.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love riding horses, living a simple farm life with my animals, and I love any opportunity to interact with others in the interest of helping to elevate the human spirit and show others just how much is truly possible.

7. What makes a great leader?
Passion, compassion, and interaction along with the ability to help others build their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Innovation is key, yet do not forget to always be growing your area of knowledge and expertise to stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, global education and interaction is critical, regardless of whether you interact outside your country or not.

Interview from http://www.novallo.net   NAVALLO, a site that features interviews with the worlds most successful people  http://www.navallo.net/dana-hee

Success and Leadership

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‘The Power of the Mind’ A True Story Of Dana On The Streets

THE POWER OF THE MIND…FREEZING – BEACH STORY

A real-life excerpt by Dana Hee

Heading back to my little shelter three miles from the grocery store, I tore the wrapping from the Hostess Twinkies and wolfed them down, licking the last of the sticky frosting from my fingertips.  Wiping my fingers on my jeans, I pulled the light windbreaker tighter around my lean torso, trying to get more warmth against the cold frost that covered the shadowy trees and grass of the perfectly manicured suburban lawns in the darkness of the night.  The sky was crystal clear, my breath filled the air with thin white smoke and each icy inhalation sent a chill deep into my lungs.

As I quickened my pace, I shivered uncontrollably against the cold wind as it picked up gusto.  The fall leaves rustled across the sidewalk and dropped from the almost barren tree limbs.  Fascinated with their frenetic journey as they brushed past my feet and slammed themselves against the sides of the houses and fence posts, I tried to lose myself in the mysteriousness of their dark journey.  Like me…they were like lost souls hurrying here…then there…hopeless, afraid, with no place to really go.

My jaw chattered like a Halloween skeleton and every muscle in my body tensed unbearably against the constant heavy trembling until it felt like I might snap in two.  I would’ve broken into a jog-trot to try and help my body warm up…but I was exhausted from lack of sleep, lack of nutrients, and the ravages of extreme emotional distress.  So as I forced myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other to close the distance to my little shelter, I tried to focus on something that might help me fight the coldness creeping into my limbs like a demon trying to take possession of my body.  Only, my mind was almost as numb as my body.

Shaking my hair free of my eyes, I looked upwards into the sky…hoping to see any kind of cloud cover.  None!  Looking upwards again, I saw the distant glowing of stars and I thought of how wonderful it would be if only it was one of those hot, August days on the beach in Santa Cruz with my girlfriend, Marylyn.  Losing myself in that thought…I recalled the last time we went there.  That day when we skipped out of school at lunch time…

Heck…it must’ve been over a 100 degrees out, and her ravaged, little VW bug almost overheated on the steep hill up the mountain as we headed out of the stifling heat of the valley and upwards into the balmy heat of the pines…and down towards the often cooling breeze of the ocean winds.  Only that day….there were no cooling breezes.  Windows down…no air condition, and the heat from the engine block filling the tiny space inside…the sweat dampened our hair began to drip down my torso as we fought the stop and go traffic to the parking lot, and then creeped round and round looking for one of the rare openings.  At last!

We found tiny opening and tumbled gratefully out of the unbearable heat of the car and began unloading our ice chest and chairs.  “Thank God for sandals!”  I thought to myself, as we picked up our supplies and trudged through the parking lot while the heat waves shimmered upwards from the burning tarmac.  Reaching the crowded boardwalk, we maneuvered through the suffocating throngs of people until we found an opening onto the long hot stretch of sand.  “Wow!”  “Not even a whisper of a wind!” Marylyn whined as the sweat now poured down both of our faces.

Navigating the sea of roasting bodies and damp beach towels…we finally found a space and set out the chairs and towels.  I plopped down onto the already hot towel, as Marylyn dropped into a chair, reached into the ice chest and handed me a dripping wet, frosted, ice cold beer.  Popping off the lid, I rolled the smooth coolness of the bottle against my forehead before taking a long refreshing swig.  “Ahhh….”  “Much better!”  We both said at the same time, and laughed at that cool, odd connection we always had with our line of thought.

Snapping back into the present…I realized I had almost reached the old orchard where the abandoned newspaper recycling bin awaited me with it’s protection from the wind and the subtle warmth of its half filled mattress of stacks of old un-used newspapers.  As I passed the last of the perfect little suburban houses with their perfect, laughing families watching TV and eating their perfect dinners…I looked with envy into the warmth of their houses…their soft lights glowing from un-curtained windows.

That’s when it hit me…that, I wasn’t cold any longer!  My body no longer shook.  My muscles had almost completely relaxed and my jaw was no longer clenched and chattering.  The astounding realization that my thoughts about the hot beach trip had triggered this unnatural warmth…hit me like a ton of bricks.  And I smiled to myself as I climbed through the small opening in my precious little shelter.

That was just my first experience of many, about the amazing power that we can create with just our thoughts!

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