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Activity to Create a Compelling Future
03 July 2013
What is worse than being blind? Having sight and no vision. Helen Keller.
seemingly inconsequential personal decisions changed the course of a
young woman’s life forever. To know the true depth of how profoundly
different life can be, you first need to know who this incredible woman
meet many inspiring women and recently spent time listening to a truly
incredible life story and learnt much about how one woman created her
compelling future. Born in jail to a young drug addicted mother she
moved between institutions and foster homes from birth to the age of 16.
In this time she was exposed to sadness, poverty and violence. At age
16 she ran away, deciding she was “old enough” to leave and lived on the
streets and in boarding houses, mixing with the wrong crowd and earning
a living through prostitution. She survived a violent knife attack and
glassing in the face. At age 19 she had a breakdown. She describes it as
the moment she finally asked herself, “who am I, what’s my story, what
is my life purpose?” Now, more than 20 years later she is a remarkable
gift to the world.
My question to her was how did she create a compelling future for herself, and more importantly make it a reality?
The incredible shift came when she made just three distinctions.
first distinction was that she decided that life events are neither
good nor bad, and so she didn’t need to label them. She told me that
everything in life just “is” and when she stopped beating herself up by
labelling everything as either good or bad she became more peaceful and
much happier. She used to label being born in jail as “bad” until she
decided that it simply was and she did not need to give it a negative.
she decided that she was resourceful. A youth worker volunteer she’d
connected with spent what she describes as a good few years continually
reinforcing to her that she was an incredibly streetwise and resourceful
person. When this was reinforced enough, she decided one day to
actually believe it to be true and to use this skill to make her life
she decided that she could trust herself, and part of this was making
trustworthy decisions and not cheating on herself. In small ways she
started being trustworthy to herself in small everyday events and then
expanded on this when she had the evidence.
And who is this woman today. For a start she is now 35 years old and is a gift to humanity.
pathway was incredibly rough. Her scars will be with her for life as a
reminder of the circumstances she was in as a child and troubled teen.
The rest of her is a truly remarkable example of the power of mind to
overcome the dread, fear and sadness of a life labelled “bad” and make
it something worth living for.
my thinking the resources she used to create a compelling future seem
so distant from what one might imagine was needed. I am sure the three
decisions she told me about were just a starting point. What is truly
remarkable is the power of the human mind to make decisions and to step
up to a higher level or meaning, trust, discipline and success. This
amazing woman created this from a depth that I cannot fathom, and yet,
for each one of us to apply her distinctions is an internal self made
lives in Brisbane and has created an incredible vision for her life.
She went to TAFE to finish year 12, then went on to study social work.
Today she mentors young women who like her late mother are mixed up in
drugs, crime and motherhood. In her own life she is happily married, has
two children who she describes as her best creations and lives in a
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