From Disbelief to Belief
By Catherine DeVrye
'We grow when we move from disbelief in others to a stronger belief
On 11 September 2001, the world stopped, stunned in disbelief as planes
crashed into buildings and New York skyscrapers crumbled before our eyes,
bringing terror to the hearts of good people everywhere and challenging
past beliefs. It remains indelible because of the live news coverage
arriving in our homes via satellite in a way that seldom brings every man
and woman's everyday disasters to our attention. Yet, ultimately, it's the
personal 'mini' tragedies in life that cause greatest grief for
That same week, a friend phoned to say her mother had died. She shared
compassion with thousands of strangers on TV but the loss of one life
weighed far heavier on her mind. To her, this was more than a media
cliché about the world changing. The world always changes, but her own
life had tumbled and changed irrevocably with the death of the one person
who had always been central in her world.
My friend's mother wasn't a princess nor a celebrity, but one of the
thousands of women - mothers, wives, daughters, grandmothers or aunts, who
die daily. I shared what I reminded myself of time and time again after my
biggest personal tragedy…that we can't always control change but we can
always control our attitude toward it.
People often asked how I coped at 21, when my parents died. What was
the choice? Cope or crumble? I had no intention of crumbling. Sure, there
were days of despair but we only find courage if we look for some glimmer
of hope on the horizon. We can choose to look backward or forward.
I urged my friend who lost her mother to look forward because today is
always the first day of the rest of our lives. I knew, all too well, this
was easier said than done, and my words may have seemed hollow in her
sorrow, but they are words that ring true in experience.
On that same day, on my way to speak at a customer service conference,
I felt lost for words. As I stopped for petrol, a stranger, overhearing my
North American accent, gently touched me on the arm and stammered 'I'm
sorry'. His accent was European but his kind gesture resonated with
universal eloquence and helped me find the words for my presentation. That
act of simple kindness made me realize that we must think, not only of
service to our customers, but of service to our families, communities and
our planet. And, to view quality not just as ISO 9000 or TQM but also as
the special quality of life we've come to take for granted in free
countries. We can no longer take for granted our special quality of
life, but each of us should do whatever we can to live this day the best
However hard, we must get on with getting on. And, get on better with
others regardless of race, because we must remember we're all part of the
Whatever our country, by birth or by choice, now is the time to
unite with one voice, as we look to the future with respect for the past,
and to strive in the present for dreams that will last. We must strive to
reach our potential as one, while giving all a "fair go" without
hesitation, and regardless of faith, to keep faith in our future, our
country and ourselves.
John Lennon said…'Life is what happens when we're making other
plans.' We need to keep our plans and dreams alive and not be swamped by
nightmares of despair. What practical things can we do in this regard?
Here are some ideas:
- Create a clearer vision for our own reality by focusing less on bad
news, and more on good news. Take a short time each day to be grateful
for what we do have, rather than focusing on what we don't have. In my
own case, I give thanks for such things as clean sheets, a hot shower,
good food, good friends and freedom of speech.
- Smile at a stranger in the street, and smile at the person in the
mirror every morning, making sure it's not a stranger who smiles back.
- Determine what gives us joy and schedule time for ourselves on our
'to do' list.
- Think of someone less fortunate and do something to help, even if
that help is as simple as giving a word of encouragement.
- Contact someone you love, or contact someone who has made a
difference in your life and communicate how you appreciate him or her.
- Focus on what we can do and don't waste energy on what we can't.
Life, with all that is tragic and magic, is a continual learning
exercise. In times of adversity, learn to more fully appreciate your inner
strength, because belief in yourself is like a muscle. It is strengthened
only by constant and careful use. There's no time like the present to flex
your inner resolve and remember …
We grow when we move from disbelief in others to a stronger belief
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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