January 19, 2009

Good day, team,

Two messages have come through to me loud and clear this week. One comes from our new President-elect, Barack Obama: “Yes, we can.” The other comes from Steven Spielberg: “I wonder if I can do that? I wonder if they will let me do that?”

Both of these sentiments inspire me. In the first case, regardless of political affiliation, most of us never thought an African American would be elected president in our lifetimes. It required great courage and hard work on the part of Obama as well as his supporters to make this a reality. No one can deny that he had a vision which became a reality because he did not say maybe. He did not say it would be great if we could do this. He did not say maybe in the future some time. He said, “Yes, we can. Now is the time.” And so this week those statements and his vision have come true.

Steven Spielberg’s comments come from a speech he made last weekend at the Golden Globe Awards when he received the Cecil B. DeMille award for his major contributions to film. Spielberg has been making films for 40 years, and from “Jaws” to the current Indiana Jones film, he has influenced generations of people with his cinematic talents and creative explorations in motion pictures. In his speech, he mentioned that every time he starts to work on a new film, the thought occurs to him, “I wonder if I can do that?” Could he make a shark look so lifelike on film that it would not only send chills up the spines of the audience in the theater, but would also make anyone who’d seen the film think twice before swimming in the ocean? Spielberg had to go way beyond what anyone else had done with a camera to make the shark in “Jaws” so lifelike. The question he asked himself propelled him to go beyond what had been done before. In the beginning of his career, the question “I wonder if they will let me do that?” meant that he had to challenge the status quo in order to experiment with new techniques and innovations in film making.

In both cases, I am inspired by the courage of these men to never stop striving to make their dreams come true. And, more important, I am inspired by their ability to see that the present moment is the right moment. Spielberg didn’t wait for someone’s approval to experiment, and he seized the moment to make his dreams come true on film. Obama told us that we can’t wait to deal with the environment, health-care system and current financial conditions and that he is the best person to lead us during these tough times. The time is now, and, yes, we can deal with these issues.

By embracing what the present moment brings, these men bring us into the moment, too. It’s inspiring to watch people recognize what is directly in front of them and then have the courage to be open-hearted and courageous enough to deal with it. This balance between living your dream and being present enough to take advantage of what’s actually happening in the moment is an unbeatable combination.

Your challenge this week is to focus on that thing you want to do, recapture that dream you talked yourself out of years ago, allow yourself to say, “Yes, I can do that.” Challenge yourself to put a stake in the ground by making your vision a reality and having the courage to do something you really believe in. Don’t let fear of failure stop you from sticking your neck out and pushing yourself beyond your current limitations. Don’t let other people determine whether or not you realize your dreams. Have the courage to believe in yourself and the people around you to seize the moment and make your dream happen.

Johann von Goethe wrote, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

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