Monday, March 11, 2019

It's time to rise up


Sometimes things happen, and it's as if someone is trying to get a clear message to you through related events. 

I will try to weave the pieces of the story together here, and share my reflections of the past week.

Piece #1... 

Last week, American Idol returned to television for its seventeenth season. I'm a sucker for reality TV, especially when it includes singing (something I would LOVE to be able to do well.) 

One very talented singer brought Lionel Richie to tears, and her story is captivating. 

Shayla Winn, who goes by Shayy, is a 17-year old from Virginia who started going blind about a year ago. 

Being a blind singer is not the inspiring part. How Shayy has handled this right turn in her life is what is extremely inspiring. (What else inspires me?)

During the show last week, Shayy says that about a year ago she was having trouble seeing the whiteboard at school, so she thought she would need glasses. At the eye doctor, several tests were run and the optometrist told her that she needed to go to the ER immediately. 

After having an MRI, Shayy was told that she has a brain tumor. 

On the show, Shayy says, "I got dragged to my MRI and that’s when they found a tumor in my brain. One doctor was like, ‘Okay, Shayy, I’m going to try and save you from going blind. I was like, ‘What’d he just say?'”

Shayy shares that when she got home from the hospital, she couldn't see well and going back to school was hard. Kids were cruel. They kicked her cane. 

On American Idol, Shayy shares that she asked her mom at one point, ‘Why did that happen to me?’ 

Shayy also says, "But on the other side, I have people that have been really supportive and I have made new friends. There’s a whole other side to life that I never knew about. People are always going to say, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ But you can do it. You got it!”

I love how Shayy says that she has made new friends and there's a "whole other side to life." Finding new friends as a teenager is HAAARD. Shay is a champion. She shows that it can be done. She reminds us that for whatever struggle we may be going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and we will be stronger for it. 


If you can't see the video on your device, watch here: 

Take a few minutes to watch the video above. Go ahead. I'll wait on you. 

Shayy has an amazing voice, and her choice of song is spot on. "Rise Up" by Andra Day is a perfect song for this inspiring teenager who we can all learn from. 

Rise Up

You're broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can't find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I'll rise up
I'll rise like the day
I'll rise up
I'll rise unafraid
I'll rise up
And I'll do it a thousand times again
And I'll rise up
High like the waves
I'll rise up
In spite of the ache
I'll rise up
And I'll do it a thousands times again
For you
For you
For you
For you

When the silence isn't quiet
And it feels like it's getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we'll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
We'll take it to its feet
And move mountains

And I'll rise up
I'll rise like the day
I'll rise up
I'll rise unafraid
I'll rise up



If you believe in yourself and work hard, you have a fighting shot at having your dreams come true.  
-Mindy Kaling

Piece #2...


Yesterday, on Sunday, I saw an Instagram post by my friend, Sarah Johnson. 

It read, "Came across this photo of my first principal experience. Loved those kids, that staff, the community and remember this moment vividly. That lady at the wheel had no idea the fires that would forge her into the woman she is today."

Having walked across come hot coals in my life and career, I could totally relate to Sarah's words. I immediately thought of Shayy and the positivity she exuded on American Idol as she had a fire that she had to walk through to get to the other side.  

We say "iron sharpens iron," but it's really the iron PLUS a significant amount of heat. We need the fires, plus the iron, to mold us into the strong leaders of today and tomorrow. 


"Isolation does not breed confidence."
-Suzanne Roff, Ph.D.


Piece #3...


In our most recent podcast episode of Rising Tide Radio, Allyson Apsey (@AllysonApsey) and I discuss the value of reflection. 


You can listen to Episode 4 above. If you cannot view it on your device, you can play it here: https://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/333441/59183740

Through these three seemingly unrelated events, I've realized a few things.

The first is the value of having a strong support system as a conduit to confidence. Confidence comes when there are others who can empathize, challenge, and appreciate the meanings that we make in our lives. 

Ultimately, confidence and the ability to rise up comes from within. It means changing the inner narrative to one of positivity and hope, and it may mean changing long-held negative beliefs about one's self. 

It's time to set the bar high and have tough-to-reach goals. 


As these three pieces of the story weave together, the message comes through loud and clear...


It's time to rise up. 









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