“If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford
Did you ever have that one teacher, mentor, coach, partner or friend who pushed and prodded and believed in you? Maybe she encouraged you to try out for that team, seek that promotion, beat that diagnosis, overcome that grief or strive toward that goal? Did you find that, not only was what this individual did for you important, but equally as important were the words she shared with you?
My friend, so many people have deeply impacted my life by their words. One such individual was a young National Hockey League player named Gino Cavallini.
Gino first visited me when I was nine years old, in the hospital after I’d been burned on 100% of my body. He came back repeatedly over five months, always smiling, encouraging and bringing the perfect gift for a sick little boy (signed hockey sticks, pepperoni pizza, the entire St. Louis Blues team and even a seven foot tall stuffed bunny wearing a Blues sweater!).
Soon after I was released from the hospital, he called and asked if I could go to a hockey game as his guest. Unable to play due to his own injury, Gino picked me up, chauffeured me to the arena, walked me through the locker room and watched a game with me from the owner’s box. It was a night I’ll never forget!
On the drive home he asked if I wanted to learn to play hockey. I replied in a high-pitched voice, “Gino, I can’t skate. I can barely walk! And I could never hold a stick, anyway.”
He looked over at me and said, “Superstar, whatever you think and say about yourself becomes your reality. When you think or speak badly about yourself, you become it. But when you think or speak positively about yourself, you become it, too.”
My friend, we hunger and thirst for individuals in our lives who might step forward to encourage us, walk with us or carry us toward the possibility of our lives. We long for individuals capable of speaking boldly, acting courageously and impacting profoundly our lives through theirs.
Most heroes don’t wear capes or hockey uniforms. They seldom have massive following through social media or talk about themselves on television. No, most are single parents or time-challenged couples. They work as executives, sales people and coaches. They serve in boardrooms, showrooms and classrooms.
Your great opportunity, my friend, is to realize the truth that you are intended to be a hero for others. My encouragement before you grab your cape or hockey stick and race out the door is to realize this: your ability to positively impact others hinges on your own thoughts and your own words.
Rudyard Kipling wrote, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” As with any drug, our words can be either life-giving or life-depleting. Choose today to use your words to encourage others to take back their life, ignite their possibility and change their world.
And in wondering where to begin sharing heroic optimism with others, consider starting with the reflection in the mirror.
Click here for the short video I created a to help you be more aware of your thoughts and empowered to share heroic optimism.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you about “heroic optimism” and your life!