Sunday, January 24, 2010

Amazing Things Will Happen

I couldn’t help but take notice of the drama that has unfolded these past couple of weeks between two unlikely people, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. Who would ever think these two comedians would be at the center of such controversy! I haven’t followed it too closely, only catching brief clips from their late night monologues which have been hilarious. I heard someone comment that some of their best jokes ever have come out of all us and I have to agree.
I watched Conan O’Brien’s farewell signoff yesterday and was deeply touched by his words. Hosting the Tonight Show is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for him and I can only imagine how painful it must be to step down. He has handled this whole ordeal with such integrity and grace. If anyone has a right to complain, be cynical or angry he certainly does. But he has chosen not to go that route, knowing as we all should remind ourselves, nothing good ever comes of it.
His closing words really spoke to who he is and I think the qualities and mindset that have allowed him to be so successful. He spoke with complete conviction, directing his parting words at the younger views but I think his words are something we all need reminding of, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get but if you can work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you amazing things WILL happen.”
The one thing we can guarantee in life is that it will throw us the unexpected. Sometimes the unexpected is just a bend in the road and other times it’s a sharp curve we didn’t see coming, like in Conan’s case. It’s how we react to the unexpected that separates the winners from everyone else. We all have a purpose and I truly believe that when the unexpected comes up, it’s because in God’s plan, it’s time to move on. In essence, our work is done there and new opportunities await us. As they say, when one door closes, another one opens. We have a choice when the unexpected happens. We can stall out, get caught up in self-pity and allow it to divert us from our true purpose or we can choose to move forward in faith knowing something better is out there. It’s those sharp bends in the road that truly test our faith. We need to have enough faith to be still, place ourselves in God’s hands and allow Him to be the driver because when you do, as Conan says, “amazing things will happen”.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

When You Wish Upon A Star

This past week, we took a family vacation to Disney World. It was very cold but we still really enjoyed our time together and of course, visiting with Mickey and the gang. Disney truly is a magical place filled with the energy of dreams and possibilities. To think it all started with a mouse.

That thought keep going through my mind as we visited each of the parks. I've been to Disney before but it never struck me until now what an incredible individual Walt Disney truly was. Perhaps it was having older children now and not having to strategize for the next character greeting that allowed me to relax and really take in what Disney is all about.

Walt Disney had a dream and that dream did begin with a little character named Mickey Mouse but that dream didn't end there. He had a vision for so much more and lived everyday to make that vision come to life. When you look back on his life, it was by no means absent of criticism or judgment. What would stop many of us in our tracks he found the courage to press through. He never let fear stand in his way. He embraced his dreams with an enormous amount of energy and spirit that we should all aspire to and lived his life remaining true to his passion. Imagine if he surrendered his dreams to the person who told him a cartoon about a rodent would never make it, his animated feature film, "Snow White" had no place in the movies or gave into the critics when he bought swamp land in Florida to build a theme park. In fact, Snow White was dubbed "Disney's Folly" because the movie studios were certain it would be a failure.

He always moved forward despite what others thought, trusting his instincts and believing in his dreams to the fullest. He saw possibilities where others didn't. That was the secret to his success and I am awed by what he accomplished in his lifetime taking a no excuses approach to realize his vision. Disney showed us how believing in yourself and your dreams with an unwavering faith can accomplish what others deem impossible. I left Disney World this time with something more precious that I could have found in any of their gift shops. I left with a renewed appreciation of what living your passion is really all about.

In creating Disney World, I think Walt Disney wanted to give us glimpse into his world. How he thought and the magic and energy he saw in the world around him. He envisioned a place where people could be inspired to dream, believe in fairytales and make wishes come true. I wonder if he hoped we would take a bit of that magic home with us and carry it forward into our own lives. If that was part of his dream, he did succeed with me. Disney left a legacy that is magical and I'm truly grateful for that.