In my many years as an employment consultant for people with disabilities, I became acutely aware of the fact that many people with disabilities have pictures of themselves that are less than flattering. Many of the people I encountered did not believe in themselves. Much of this was hammered into them by their experiences of being “different” from others. Perhaps, they viewed themselves as “less than.” I would like to suggest that many of us — disability or not — have or have had less than desirable pictures of ourselves.
Over the years, many folks I supported were shocked and did not believe me when I suggested that they could live their dream. As a matter of fact, dreaming was difficult and often would not happen for individuals until they had proof that the picture they held of themselves did not need to be the only picture. There could be a vision of a life and future far more attractive than they initially believed.
This is a classic scenario of self-fulfilling prophecy, a term that I learned in one of my many rehabilitation psychology courses. “A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that causes itself to come true due to the simple fact that the prediction was made” (Psychology Glossary). This happens because our beliefs influence our actions. In other words, what you believe about yourself determines how you will lead your life. Stated another way, “a prophecy, strongly held belief, or a delusion, declared as truth when it is actually false may sufficiently influence people, either through fear or logical confusion, so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false belief” (Wikipedia).
This can be dangerous. However, it can also be spectacular! Think about it. You can have the picture that you will lead a life full of friends, love, achievement, growth and happiness! You can also have a picture that you are ugly, not intelligent, that you don’t have friends, that you are different from everyone else, and therefore are doomed for a life of mediocrity at best. Which picture would you rather hold in your mind?
Aren’t there people who have defied the odds, created a successful life even though at a glance, we would have thought that a successful life was beyond their grasp? Look at Bill Gates. Here is a guy who dropped out of Harvard in his junior year. Typically, we would think that dropping out of college before achieving a degree would lead one down a path of disappointment and failure. Yet, Gates is chairman of Microsoft Corporation, the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions. He is seen as one of the most successful people in the United States. Look at Becky Hammon. A professional basketball player in the WNBA, Hammon plays for the San Antonio Silver Stars. At 5’ 6” tall, she defied the odds, when everything and everyone in the world said she shouldn’t be a professional athlete. All the experts said that she would never amount to much in the basketball world, yet Hammon had a vision. This vision fueled her dreams and led the way for her to have one of the most illustrious and prolific basketball careers in South Dakota, at Colorado State University and, even though not drafted for the WNBA her rookie year, finally in the WNBA as well.
Consider Oprah Winfrey’s story. Who would have guessed that a black girl born in Mississippi in 1954 to an unwed, teenage mother would have evolved into the woman who CNN stated was arguably the most powerful woman in the world.
There are countless examples of people who have positive visions for themselves and allow those visions to create their futures without regard for what society or anyone else says. These pictures that people have of themselves are a key to their success. They are pictures that have allowed them to envision the life that they desire to live. Each of the above individuals and many more are shining examples of people who create the life they want by first designing a positive picture of themselves.
What’s the lesson from all of this? In my mind, it is this: If you can see it, envision it, dream it and hold onto it through all the rocky roads, then you can create it. Please note that I said “create.” I am not talking about dreaming and envisioning and then hoping for the best. I am talking about dreaming, envisioning and then taking action! Think of the story of Seabiscuit, the unlikely champion thoroughbred horse of the late 1930s. He was small. He was knobby-kneed. He was the butt of many jokes in racing circles. However, Seabiscuit had a turnaround when bought by a new owner who saw something in Seabiscuit. He had a vision. Additionally, the trainer who was hired and the jockey who was too big also had visions for Seabiscuit’s potential. Perhaps, they received their vision from Seabiscuit. This horse became a national champion and could beat any horse in the country at the time. He was described as “the little engine that could” — “I think I can. I think I can!” What a great lesson that is.
It’s a choice. What picture do we see for ourselves? Do we allow ourselves to dream? Do we give our vision a voice? In other words, do we articulate our dream reality out loud? Do we see ourselves living our dreams? Are we compassionate with ourselves when we struggle? Do we see ourselves as someone who will never amount to anything, so we don’t even try? Or do we allow ourselves to make mistakes and to learn from them, knowing that we are still on the path to our desirable reality? We set the tone. We determine our fates. The picture that we have of ourselves is where we begin. If we don’t have a vision of our future, how will we know it when we get there? How we see ourselves determines how we will lead our lives. Make your picture spectacular!
Again, I always find myself with much to share. The first is an announcement. Safe Space Life Coaching is going to be offering a four-part class in the fall that will take place on Saturdays. The title of this course is Caring for the Caretaker: Wake Up the Vibrant, Sexy and Alive YOU with ZUMBA® and Personal Life Coaching!
This class is designed for individuals who find themselves in caretaking situations. This could be through parenting, taking care of people on the job, taking care of aging parents or siblings or spouses. We have long known that Latin dance is an excellent way to wake up both the body and the senses. We have more recently learned that life coaching gives us new perspectives and fresh insight to our life and what we can get out of it!
This will be an in-person class. The cost is $150 for the four sessions. Each session is one hour and 45 minutes long. The dates of this class are (Saturdays) Sept. 15, Sept. 22, Oct. 6 and Oct. 13. Class will run from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and will be held at Harmony School in the dance studio. Register with a buddy and both you and the buddy will receive a 10% discount. For more information, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, I decided that I wanted to share one of my all-time favorite recipes with all of you. For those of you who are less familiar with me, I will state here that my partner, Kim, and I like to eat healthy and we put energy into cooking healthy. This is quite simply one of my favorites, and it’s easy to customize to your tastes. We actually don’t care for sun-dried tomatoes, so we just omit them from this recipe. It’s great when you get fresh corn, and I highly encourage you to use heirloom tomatoes. This was an introduction for me to heirlooms. Once you taste them, you may never go back to plain tomatoes. Therefore, without further ado … this is a recipe from the “Flat Belly Diet” (2008). Enjoy!
Sizzled Shrimp with Heirloom Tomatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons finely chopped, oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 medium ears of corn)
3 medium heirloom tomatoes, chopped (about 3 cups)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup torn fresh basil leaves
½ cup snipped fresh chives
Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp and sizzle for 1 minute, or until partially cooked. Transfer to a small bowl.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet along with the sun-dried tomatoes, onion, and corn. Cook for 6 minutes, or until the onion and corn are browned. Stir in the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.
Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil and chives. Spoon the shrimp mixture into 4 shallow bowls. If desired, garnish with avocado.
Here is another Ralph Marston slideshow that fairly recently showed up in my inbox. I found it truly inspiring, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I also thought that I would share the following quote with you, as I think that it is aligned with this e-newsletter.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
— Carl Rogers
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching