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Can’t Is Not In My Vocabulary

By: Morgan Holen

Picture this: The year is 2002, I’m in my first year of acrobats at the age of five. Our class performed a dance involving a circular, wooden prop similar to a podium the ringmaster stands on in a circus. My job as the smallest performer was to stand on the top of the podium and bend over backwards in a backbend, while keeping my hands and feet stationary. Although the podium was nearly two feet off the ground, I still feared the possibility of misplacing my hands and falling headfirst to the hardwood floor. As the fear swelled inside me, Miss Kitty, my 80-year-old dance teacher, took me by the hand and insisted that I could accomplish this trick. In fact, using the word can’t was an automatic set of 20 pushups as a simple reminder it was not welcome in our vocabulary.

A classroom taught by Miss Kitty carried a certain level of expectations: respect was present, perseverance was inevitable and hard work was a requirement. Miss Kitty didn’t hold a doctorate in dance nor study the techniques to manage and motivate a dancer. Instead, she took the time and effort to intentionally invest in my growth as a person. She built trust and loved with no personal agenda.

In high school I met Mr. Lambert, the choir instructor. Growing up I loved to sing, but let’s be clear I was not heading to an American Idol audition anytime soon. In addition to singing I liked getting involved in a number of activities in school and thrived on a busy lifestyle. In a time where most coaches want students to hone in on one activity, Mr. Lambert noticed my passion at an early age and not only allowed my involvement, but encouraged it. As a dancer and performer I found myself auditioning for show choir. On the first day of rehearsal, Mr. Lambert walked up to the whiteboard and scribbled his cell phone number. He told us he would always be available in time of need. He wasn’t a counselor; he didn’t have all the answers to our problems, but what he did provide was unwavering support and an unmatched level of trust. He is just as much a fierce competitor as he is a listening ear.

Difference Makers: the people who invest in you as an individual and leave a positive impact on your life. It’s easy to believe someone can only make a difference if they have the proper training or knowledge on the subject. It’s as though there are requirements or qualifications needed to give the right advice. What may be missing are an individual’s most important assets—time and a willingness to be available.

How will you choose to invest your time?

I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorite speakers and authors, “It will be people with the greatest love, not the most information, who will influence us to change.” –Bob Goff


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