I live in Chicago, a very long way from South Africa. About four years ago I had the privilege of visiting South Africa and it was there that I learned a lot more about this incredible warrior and liberator, Nelson Mandela.
I’m embarrassed to admit that in 1993, I was so busy raising my children and starting my business I didn’t pay close attention to Mandela’s greatest milestone, fighting for and guaranteeing full rights for all black citizens. When I visited in 2009 there was no sign (to me) of apartheid. People compare Nelson Mandela with Martin Luther King, Jr. for their unwavering efforts to give all people of color the right to live freely in a country that touts justice and liberty for all.
With the recent passing of Nelson Mandela I couldn’t help but think back on some of the amazing forces that have fought for human rights and inspired me. Going as far back as Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and of course Rosa Parks. There is Desmond Tutu and one of the more recent, young activists for human rights, Malala Youzafzai.
The common denominator amongst this group of individuals, (yes I know there are many more), is leadership. Taking the risk for something they believe in and doing whatever it takes to bring justice to fruition. These individuals took the helm at a time where death was always a potential outcome yet never wavered from their convictions. Compassion is also a strong part of their DNA. Because of their personal struggles, they rose above to save others from the same fate. Humbles me just thinking about it. Risking ones life to save another.
I have always been drawn to those individuals that lead with integrity, honesty and passion. It is empowering to see that because of people who dared to dream and take the risks to make it a reality our world is a better place.
There is no doubt Nelson Mandela has touched an infinite number of lives, mine included. How lucky for those that knew him personally. He was a force to be reckoned with if he wanted change yet he was a consummate peacemaker. How one can combine those qualities and create the changes he has can only be explained as extraordinary.
My feeble attempt at honoring a man who is responsible for positively changing so many lives is shared below. Please enjoy some of my favorite quotes by not only Nelson Mandela, but the others who also fought for the rights of so many. As a mom, woman, business owner, community advocate, and volunteer these quotes and many others, have helped me become a better person.
“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.” -NM
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – NM
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” MLK
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” MLK
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” AL
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” – AL
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” – FD
“Without struggle there is no success” – FD
“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right. ” – RP
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” – RP
“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” – DT
“When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.” – DT
“I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” – MY
“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.” – MY
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On September 11, 2013 11 Comments
Let’s stop the whining and the “its not fair”, and get on with it!
When I was raising my kids there was this disturbing culture in children’s sports, everyone wins. As a young, naive Mom I went along with it. No matter what happened during a game, no matter who screwed up, everybody got a trophy or ribbon. WTH?
If there is one thing I regret as a parent it was raising my kids with the everybody wins BS. What a disservice to my kids and all of the other kids that grew up believing no matter what, they will always win. Wow. And some people freak out about the Santa Clause myth.
A friend of mine recently shared a link (if you’re offended by foul language I encourage you to let it go and read it), it inspired this blog. Reading it I was reminded of two things. First, I wished I raised my kids with the understanding that there are winners and losers and there is a direct correlation between the actions of both.
Second, winners know failure is part of the success equation and they take failure as a lesson versus their fate. Losers give up based on the belief that failure is their fate.
Personally, I, we, can get awfully comfortable. When I do that I forego my innate desire to push forward and make an impact, a big one. This article reminded me to re-energize, re-focus and hop back on that horse. These two words jumped out, giving me a much needed swift kick to the head. Bitter vs. motivated, wow. The writer went on to say, “….largely determines whether or not you’ll succeed in the world.”
Think about it. All those kids raised to believe they automatically win are likely bitter that the world didn’t deliver. Hopefully there are those that escaped never-never land and realized you win when you exhaust all avenues and continue full speed ahead. They also likely recognize failures even if they briefly divert their efforts as simply lessons in what not to do and move forward.
I think success is also a matter of action versus reaction. Winners constantly take action willing to risk failure because they know its temporary. Losers react to the negative letting it permeate their psyche ultimately stifling growth of any kind.
Aside from getting a good laugh at Lenny Kravitz’s expense, this article made me think and inspired me to do what I do best, full speed ahead, filling voids, making a difference with ‘ner a thought of the f-word – failure, just to clarify.
If we look at the 18-30 year old kids that we raised with the “everyone wins” mindset, they were set up for failure. For those that have figured it out and moved onward and upward, good on you. For those that haven’t here’s my advice:
1.Read the article again.
2. After you read the article, stop making excuses for your failures and recognize and embrace your talents, perfect them, find a void and fill it, keep pressing on.
3. Remember the only way one can win is to rid themselves of the belief that everyone wins just because. It’s that thinking that will hold you back and prevent you from being an authentic winner as a result of hard work, focus and the desire to positively impact your world. You don’t just get to win, you have to earn it.
Do you think success is a right or a privilege?
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.
By Nicki On July 7, 2013 3 Comments
I have always believed that in order to be successful, you must be engaged with something you’re passionate about. That goes for all aspects of life, not just work, but everyday life. Keeping passion alive is what makes every day an adventure. How I love adventures!
Some say that optimism is inherited while others think it’s simply a matter of making the choice between happiness or staying angry at the world.
I really believe that happiness and success is a direct result of doing what you’re passionate about, plain and simple. Very often grumpy people complain about everything including their job. I wonder if things would be different if they sought out something that they’re passionate about? Maybe the idea is just to daunting or they’re content where they are. Sometimes it’s easier for people to stay with what’s familiar even if it’s fruitless.
In the last year, I’ve been so lucky to get involved with things I am passionate about. Both my work and volunteer world adds excitement and purpose to my life. People ask me why I would sell my business only to work even harder and I quickly respond, “It’s not work when you’re doing something you’re passionate about.”
If you feel like you’re stuck, stand back and take a look at the big picture. Is there any aspect of your life that excites you? Is there anything you’re doing that triggers passion? If not, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate and see what you can change. The truth is that you will never be successful both personally and professionally if you settle, and you will most definitely not be successful if there’s no passion.
Find your passion and you’ll very likely find success!
Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!