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
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
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 the dumps.
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
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
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
'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: