A tortoise no more…

Tonight I had the privilege of watching a group of people in the midst of their own transformations. My friend is a Dale Carnegie trainer and tonight was graduation…the last class in a 12 week series. Part celebration, part opportunity to put into practice what they have been learning, each participant gave a three-minute speech about their takeaways from the course and their visions for the future. The speeches were given in front of fellow classmates, Dale Carnegie staff, and invited guests. It was humbling to sit in the back row of the classroom and watch ordinary people as they struggled to overcome their shyness to talk openly about their interpersonal difficulties and hard-earned triumphs as they slowly try on different ways of being. But not only humbling, motivating as well. It reminds me of the definition of courage – that it doesn’t mean you are without fear but that you feel fear but do whatever it is that scares you anyway!

Time and time again I’m struck by the power of being real. In recent weeks I’ve shared my desire to reinvent myself with people from all parts of my life. Something about this sharing gets people to open up about their own dreams. The medical assistant at my primary care doctor’s office shared with me that she longed to be on Broadway and then hugged me for the first time in the 15 years that I’ve known her. My next door neighbor shared that she’s been brainstorming what she wants to do next; at the top of her list is to become a beekeeper! She tells me this with her face aglow. I could go on…

Many years ago my therapist at the time told me that there are two kinds of people – eagles and tortoises. Eagles, because of their ability to take to the skies, take the long view which means they are dreamers and planners. Tortoises, on the other hand, are firmly grounded here on earth and prefer to take one step at a time, usually not spending too much time thinking about the final destination. I used to be a tortoise (and so was he!) but I’m thinking I may not be anymore. I used to think I was inherently wired not to be a dreamer but if that is the case, my wiring has been tampered with because now I can’t seem to stop dreaming.

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