Olympic flame - No need to be a sporting champ for hope to burn
By Catherine DeVrye
Ever had one of those bad hair days? Or weeks? Or months? We all do and
it's on those occasions when we think we're the only people in the world
who feel that way.
Reflecting on my life, I can barely believe I was honoured to carry the
Olympic torch on the day of the opening ceremonies of the Sydney 2000
Olympics. It hasn't always been a smooth journey from the foothills of the
Rockie Mountains, where I started life in an orphanage, but it's always
been an interesting one!
People ask how, as a motivational speaker, I stay motivated myself? I
read and listen to uplifting books and tapes, exercise and meditate in
nature, place inspirational sayings in easily visible places and talk with
trusted friends. Still, there are still some days when I, too, get down in
Most people are surprised to learn that I'm not always 'up'. They
visualize me on stage, bright and bubbly, flying around the world, staying
in 5 star hotels, meeting interesting people. All that's true. But, they
forget that I spend endless hours in an airport waiting for lost luggage
or a delayed flight, seated in the smoking section of a restaurant or
alone in an empty hotel room. At times like these, I need to remind myself
of a favourite quote and silently repeat it, almost as a mantra:
'Things work out best for the people who make the best of the way
things work out.'
I then approach 'challenges' more calmly, focusing on what I can
do in the given situation, rather than get overly stressed about events
over which I can't control.
I haven't always believed this, even though my wonderful (adopted)
mother always used to say something similar:
"Things always work out for the best dear."
As I last saw her in hospital, dying without dignity, tubes protruding
from her frail, cancer ridden body, I thought of her words and couldn't
for the life of me see how things could ever work out for the best again
in my life. It was two days before Mother's Day in 1973.
Exactly 25 years later, I found myself about to address an
International Year of the Oceans conference. Jean Michel Costeau was the
other speaker. A helicopter lifted us from the front of the luxury
Vancouver hotel to spectacular views over Whistler Mountain. It was hard
to believe I was the same person who had dejectedly left that hospital
room when my Mum had drawn her last breath, so soon after Dad had also
died of cancer the year before.
An only child, frightened and alone, I was faced with two choices. I
could wallow in self-pity and resort to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.
But, that would not bring them back and there was little point in looking
backwards. After many tears, I chose to look forwards and make the best of
a bad situation. I still had no faith in my mother's words that things
always work out for the best. but must admit that there's much wisdom in
that cliché. But, I firmly believe we must progress one step beyond those
words. Things won't work out for the best unless we take
personal action to ensure:
'Life works out best for the people who make the best of the way
life works out'… and like the Olympic flame, hope can burn
eternal in our heart, if we give it a chance.
About the author: Catherine DeVrye is the author
of the #1 best seller 'Good Service is Good Business' and the newly
released inspirational gift book 'Hope Happens!…words of encouragement
for tough times'. Winner of the Australian Executive Woman of the Year
Award, she speaks internationally on managing change, customer service and
turning obstacles to opportunities. www.hopehappensnow.com
Phone: 61-2-9977-3177. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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