You have all heard the thoughts, “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” -Charles Austin Beard; “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” -Proverb; “To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don’t worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest.”
I heard a thought the other day that continues to elicit this sentiment–that beautiful things are created in darkness. A baby grows and develops for months in darkness; a seed grows for days, weeks, months in complete darkness. Many ideas are created when things may seem dim. The best of who you are shows up when you are in a transition of some kind.
Here are some empowering stories that began as tragedy & turned into a light of hope.
Read this, and let it really sink in… Then, choose how you start your day tomorrow…
Jerry is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant.
The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.
I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested. “Yes, it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”
I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gun point by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”
“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Jerry continued, “…the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man.’
I knew I needed to take action.” “ What did you do?” I asked. “Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.’”
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
TRUEHOPE & Empowerplus: A story of hope stems from a bipolar disorder & the suicide of Anthony’s wife. His wife’s father had done the same thing 16 years previously. A year later two of Anthony’s children were diagnosed with Bipolar I (the most severe form of the illness). Anthony, in desperation prayed for an answer and direction to save his children from such a tragic fate. One direction after another led him to a biological scientist & doctors who helped him create a product that has helped not only his children, but hundreds of others who have suffered from this terrible disease. Out of darkness, sprang light.
Keep On: When Colonel Harland Sanders retired at the age of 65, he had little to show for himself, except an old Caddie roadster, a $105 monthly pension check, and a recipe for chicken. Knowing he couldn’t live on his pension, he took his chicken recipe in hand, got behind the wheel of his van, and set out to make his fortune. His first plan was to sell his chicken recipe to restaurant owners, who would in turn give him a residual for every piece of chicken they sold–5 cents per chicken. The first restaurateur he called on turned him down. So did the second. So did the third.
In fact, the first 1008 sales calls Colonel Sanders made ended in rejection. Still, he continued to call on owners as he traveled across the USA, sleeping in his car to save money. Prospect number 1009 gave him his first “yes.”
After two years of making daily sales he had signed up a total of five restaurants. Still the Colonel pressed on, knowing that he had a great chicken recipe and that someday the idea would catch on. Of course, you know how the story ends. The idea DID catch on. By 1963 the Colonel had 600 restaurants across the country selling his secret recipe of Kentucky Fried Chicken (with 11 herbs and spices). In 1964 he was bought out by future Kentucky governor John Brown. Even though the sale made him a multi-millionaire, he continued to represent and promote KFC until his death in 1990.
Colonel Sanders’ story teaches an important lesson: its never too late to decide to never give up. In desperation, keep on.
Earlier in his life the Colonel was involved in other business ventures–but they weren’t successful. He had a gas station in the 30’s, a restaurant in the 40’s, and he gave up on both of them. At the age of 65, however, Harland Sanders decided his chicken idea was the right idea, and he refused to give up, even in spite of repeated rejection. He knew that if he kept on knocking on doors, eventually someone would say “yes.”
Well, I hope these stories shine brightly within your heart & make a small difference in your day. In any transition you are experiencing you can look for the moments of darkness & seek the light from a distant star to give you hope.
Peace to you today. -Heather