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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Part I: Impossible Equals "!'m Possible." Audrey Hepburn, Michael J. Fox & Me

Thought for the Day: I came across the above quote by Audrey Hepburn this morning: "Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, I'm possible." It's a quote that inspires a Florida teen, Conor Boss, who is the 1st legally blind Miss Florida USA contestant. The teenager's story is certainly inspiring, but the quote made me curious about Audrey Hepburn's life.  Then I saw a picture from Back to the Future on Facebook showing today as the "future" date Michael J Fox's character, Marty McFly, wanted to visit. It made me think about his challenges. He has dealt gracefully in his battle with Parkinson's Disease & used his notoriety to found the Michael J. Fox Foundation to raise awareness & funds for research. My own challenges seem miniscule compared to Parkinson's, but Audrey Hepburn's quote resonates with me & will be one that will always inspire me. When things seem impossible to you, what helps you keep going?

      When I researched Audrey Hepburn's life, I realized how little I know about her. I loved her in Gigi & Breakfast at Tifany's. I vaguely knew that she had been from an aristocratic family. Her image on stage & film lead me to believe that her life must have been charmed. I learned that her mother was a divorced Duchess with two children before she married Audrey's father, a British banker. Despite their wealth, her parents fought a great deal over money. Audrey spent much of her time with nannies & her 2 step brothers. At the tender age of 5, Audrey was sent to boarding school. During the Nazi occupation of Holland, sixteen year old Audrey worked as a volunteer in a hospital & helped the underground. During the war to fight hunger pains, Audrey ate tulip bulbs & tried to make bread from grass. Throughout her career, she was a philanthropist who worked tirelessly for UNICEF & other humanitarian causes. Although she only appeared in 27 films, she is one of the most well-know actresses of all times. Her outstanding stage presence & awards as an actress portrayed an outgoing confident image, but Audrey was introverted & did not feel qualified as an actress, dancer or singer.  She worked hard to succeed at her dreams.

     Michael J. Fox on the other hand is someone everyone watched grow & evolve as a person & performer. First as a teenage actor in the TV program, Family Ties, then in the Back to the Future films, he grew up before our eyes. His public announcement that he had Parkinson's Disease in 1991 at age 30, was felt by fans around the world. Seeing the photo on Facebook which showed today as the day his character, Marty McFly, in Back to the Future wanted to visit made me wonder if he really would have wanted to have known his future back then. (It turns out that the real date he wanted to travel to was in 2015, but the question remains appropriate.)

     If we knew that a physical challenge was in our future, would we want to know? Would we behave differently? I've never met Michael J. Fox, but I believe he is a what I call a 'Wake up' dreamer, someone who has been living his dreams every day of his life.  He would not have done anything differently, just kept on doing what others might have seen as impossible, like Audrey Hepburn. Even as he struggles daily with Parkinson's he is living proof that he "is possible." He continues to act, direct, travel & research happiness.

    As I stretch my reach as a psychologist by writing a book & reaching out to share my knowledge of positive psychology with a broader audience, there have been multiple hurdles in my way. As I climb over the hurdles, I must admit doubts arise, but something keeps me believing that where there's a dream there's a way. This summer,  I am on the verge of passing many of the hurdles. I will be announcing many new accomplishments in the next couple of weeks that will show how I have worked around all the challenges.  So stay tuned to see how impossible becomes possible!

Who has inspired you to believe that your dreams are possible? I'd love to hear how they have helped you to tell yourself "I'm possible," even when you feel challenged.

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