Enjoy a 1 minute clip or a 10 minute summary presentation, taken from Al’s Embracing Change talk given before a live audience of public and private agencies, military personnel, and professional staff.
Success requires a steady focus on the positive.
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Unexpected Life Changes – Asset or Liability
How comfortable are you with change?
“Nothing heals like the power of a true story. When someone is speaking from the inside of an event, they are speaking from a personal authority that pierces the veil of darkness. On the other side of that veil lies the light of hope, for them and for everyone else.”
NOTHING IS MORE UPSETTING to your life than unexpected change, yet nothing is as important to your survival as an individual as change. On the front end, our resistance to change is determined by whether we perceive the change as positive or negative and how severe the impact of the change on our lives. On the back-end, it is about how well we are equipped to deal with the change. Our attitude and ultimate acceptance of change is a function of how much resistance we invest in the change as well as the resiliency and coping skills we have developed within our support system. As the Borg in Star Trek would say, “Resistance (to Change) is Futile.” Change is constant, and we all need to know how to deal with it.
Are you afraid of the unknown? Do you have to believe and feel that the risks of standing still are greater than those of moving forward before you’ll move? Do you fear not being able to make the transition very well and perhaps fail? We tend to like routines. Familiarity breeds comfort.
My experience with unexpected change…
I understand these feelings of the unknown and impending failure. For many years following my crash, I dealt with great loss and great change. My biggest fear was that the doctors could be right, that I may never walk, talk understandably or drive. I feared that I would never bring value to anyone in my life, that I would be an anchor and that my support system, the people I loved and cared about, would resent me.
The jewels of experience that are shared in Achieving NO LIMITS- Embracing Change proves two life lessons, the power of resiliency (coping skills) and the life-changing influence of choosing to have a positive attitude.
My life experience alone is not sufficient to prove how strong and how resilient the human spirit is. Many others have gone, and continue to go through more trying times than I can even imagine. In proving the strength of the human spirit, I mention some of these individuals, but my experiences with despair, loss and rehabilitation are the only ones I can speak to with authority, so my story is where we begin.
I will also prove to you the unbeatable power of an attitude that accepts the things we cannot change. Part of the skills we need in life is about being positive; standing firm, not giving up and making changes in our lives. Positive thinking is real and does work, but it must be balanced with a willingness to accept the inevitable.
Sometimes we need to accept that we cannot have everything we want and that events will not always turn out as we would prefer. We must know that there are some realities we must accept, no matter how painful. I believe that most of our suffering in life comes from fighting what cannot be changed. Learning to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have replaces our immobility with mobility and springboards us back into life. One of the happiest moments you will ever have is when you feel the courage to accept what you cannot change.
Achieving NO LIMITS-Embracing Change follows the plunge from my heights to my depths. Then it explores how I and numerous others have pushed past our comfort zones and faced our fears, finding opportunities for learning and positive growth.
Achieving NO LIMITS—Embracing Change shows how our reaction to change is something everyone can control. Once accepted, change can be empowering. We may frequently not have control over the change itself, but we always have control over our reactions to it. Mastering the art of acceptance removes us from the ranks of the victims, those who are controlled by changes, and places us among the victors, those who respond to change by using their power to control their attitudes.
If you want to respond to change with the confidence of a seasoned Sea Captain who looks into a squall and shouts, “Do your worst for I shall do mine” then Achieving NO LIMITS—Embracing Change is for you; it will give you the steps to build such an attitude. How we habitually respond to our obstacles determines our destiny. The strength of our attitude determines how many obstacles we overcome. That sounds bold, even arrogant, but the people portrayed in this book are proof!
Whether you are facing physical challenges or not, you may have been told you will only achieve a certain amount or reach a certain level of recovery, yet thousands of people do more than expected and many survivors surpass the expectations of the healthcare system. There are no cookie-cutter solutions for doing either life or rehabilitation. We are all different. Each individual’s injury and healing are different. I believe, in most cases, you can accomplish more than the professionals in a field tell you. All they have to go by are averages, but if you have a stronger support system than average, if you work harder than average, or if you are luckier than average you can achieve more than average.
The ABC’s for Success
While the challenges many of us face are bigger than anything we imagined, the universal solution is as simple as A-B-C. To clearly understand the formula for success that I discovered through my many mentors and role models imagine that we are all born with a book of blank pages.
A is for Accept the book you have been given. How thick the book is or whether it is a gold-embossed leather bound hardback or a cheaply glued paperback is not up to us, but what the pages say is up to us.
Achieving NO LIMITS-Embracing Change describes how to live a story people want to read because it fills them with inspiration and hope in their own possibilities. And it shows how following certain steps enabled myself and others to live hopeful lives and write happy endings. Accepting ourselves and others enables us to be our best and to enjoy positive relationships.
B is for Believe you can write a happy ending. Believing we can write happy endings enables us to bounce back from anything. We have choices. In other words, we are in control of our attitudes, which puts us in control of our stories.
C has been the most significant for me. Caring about others took the focal point off me and expanded my world of self-inflicted isolation. The real keys to happiness are the intimate connections we have with the people in our lives.
The key to happiness has nothing to do with money, fame, beauty, etc. Happiness is founded on how the people around us treat us. If the people in our lives treat us well, chances are that we are happy. If not, chances are we may not be so happy.
My hope is that reading this book inspires you with a Winners Don’t Quit spirit and attitude. The most important aspect of this spirit is that you will feel and act like a winner because you won’t quit Accepting, Believing and Caring.
Using all three Winners Don’t Quit formulas (A-B-C), results in complete acceptance of the way you are and complete acceptance of the way everybody else is; thereby building the connections we need for eternal happiness.
If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough. The world will stand aside to let anyone pass who knows where they are going.
There is one thing that we all have in common. At some point, we all face life-changing events. It’s not a matter of if, but when. I have come to realize that the difference in our success or failure is not what changes. Changes do not determine our destiny. It’s how we respond to change that determines where we end up and how we get there.
My hope and desire for you is that your life book includes much happiness!
Good luck to you!