I AM I CAN I WILL
I joined LAPW three years ago because I wanted to be a part of an organization that connected women personally and professionally. I wanted to meet new people, build new business connections and develop new friendships.
I’ve had the privilege of serving on the Leadership Team in a couple positions, but I am honored to serve as the 2016-2017 President. When Christie moved to Arizona I felt very strong that someone from our current leadership team should step up because we had seen incredible growth in our organization this past year and I wanted to keep that momentum going. I saw it as an opportunity and a challenge and knew I would be surrounded by a wonderful group of women that would support me.
I grew up one of two girls. My Mom worked full time at the hospital in Glenwood and believe it or not it was her one and only job and she worked there for 50 years until she retired a few years ago. My Dad was an Electrician in Glenwood and then worked in maintenance at the Hospital until he was forced into retirement due to getting cancer at age 62. My family was my biggest support system growing up and they definitely made me who I am today. My Dad was my biggest inspiration and my biggest fan.
I played sports in high school and college and was taught to never give up, set your goals high, believe in yourself and to always follow your dreams. My Dad always made sure we knew that “girls could do anything better than boys” if we set our mind to it. My sister and I were often the only 2 girls to play open gym basketball with the boys. I would often play tennis against the top boy tennis players in Glenwood and my Dad would play softball catch and take us down to the field to work on hitting. I truly believe this is why we got where we are today. I was never afraid of a challenge. I actually looked forward to one. I grew up believing women could be strong and accomplish great things when you put your mind to it. I have always fought for women’s rights and want a better future for the women of tomorrow. I want girls to believe they can do anything and just love themselves the way they are.
One of my basketball camp coaches and a teacher of mine once shared a quote with me that has stuck with me my entire life and one that I live my life by. It is “I AM I CAN I WILL”. For example, in basketball, I said this all the time…..every time I went to the free throw line….In my head was “I AM I CAN I WILL”.
A moment I will never forget and that I am very proud of is when I was playing high school basketball on our home court in Glenwood. I always dreamed of scoring 1,000 points in basketball. I was at the Free Throw Line and had 999 points; going to shoot a One and One opportunity. Growing up my Dad always told me that a Free Throw was a free point and you should never miss them. We always practiced them to perfection. In my mind I didn’t want to let my Dad down. And in my head I was thinking “I AM I CAN I WILL” when I was at the line. So I put up my first shot….and I made it. I just made my 1,000 basketball point in high school. They stopped the game and presented the basketball to me. And of course I then had to go back to the Free Throw Line to shoot the other one!!! Talk about pressure….. I once again, relaxed, went through my routine….shot the ball and it went in. It is an example of when you set a goal you CAN achieve it!
I guess I have carried that quote with me to every aspect in my life. It doesn’t matter what you are doing in life - you can apply it to. You just have to stay positive and believe in yourself. I used to coach tennis and basketball and I’m sure the kids heard it a million times. I have shared it with my Niece Sydney as she competes in swimming. Whenever I hear the words “Can’t” --- I always turn it around to “I CAN”.
When you say “I Can’t” you are putting boundaries around yourself. I never want to say “I can’t” do something or “I don’t think I can”. I want to say I can and I will.
I want to share with you some examples where I have turned “I can’t” into “I can and I will”…..
My husband and I went to Las Vegas one year and we were sitting at a bar towards the top of the Stratosphere and we were watching these people fall outside the building and wondering what they were doing. Well, wouldn’t you know it, you can jump off the Stratosphere in Vegas! My husband thought this was a fabulous idea and I didn’t think it was. I thought he was crazy and there was no way I was going to do that. I couldn’t do that!!! We went downstairs and before you knew it we were in the elevator in full gear heading up to jump off! I wasn’t going to let my husband experience something without me. As scared as I was I thought if he could do it, I could do it. But I had to jump first because I was scared if I was left alone up there I couldn’t do it. So I jumped 829 feet off the Stratosphere straight to the ground! I guess I CAN do it!!!
Another example is: My dream was to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr. someday. I knew it was a long shot but I thought “I CAN DO THIS”. It took me a few years of attending his Celebrity Sport Auctions and bidding on his Meet & Greets to finally get to meet him personally. My determination and competitiveness came into play here. I wasn’t going to back down when I was bidding the final year we were there. My husband knew it was a dream of mine and he was so supportive. So in October of 2008 I met Dale Jr. My husband and I were able to spend 20 minutes alone with him. It shows that dreams do come true. I even had him sign my ankle and had it tattooed on the way home!
Sometimes it is hard to say “I CAN” do something when you think there is no possible way you can do it….like play piano at your Dad’s funeral. My life completely changed on December 16, 2006 when my Dad passed away unexpectedly at the age of 66. My Dad meant the world to me and made me the person I am today. I was definitely Daddy’s little girl. When he died, I felt like I couldn’t go on. I felt like the world was coming down around me. My first challenge was finding the strength to play piano at his funeral. As strange as it was, I had just made him 2 Piano CDs for a Christmas Gift. My entire life I had wanted to make him a piano CD and never did. But that year, I told myself I am going to make this happen and find a way so I did. One CD is called “My Inspiration” meaning my Dad and the other is called “My Christmas Gift”. My Dad went into the hospital that Wednesday, Thursday my husband said I should give him the CDs so I did. We played them non-stop in his room. Friday we were told he had 24 hours to live and he passed away that Saturday evening. It shows you how precious life is and how you can’t take life for granted. Tell loved ones you love them because you never know when they will be taken from you. So my CDs were used for all the funeral music before and after and I was able to play two songs live for my Dad. I played “Valentine” because he was born on Valentine’s Day and “The Prayer”. Music used to be my source of comfort and I stopped playing after the funeral. I always played for my Dad and I just couldn’t anymore. My niece would ask my Mom all the time “Will J.J. ever play piano again?” It was a matter of time….. It took me six months before I could play again…..I was on my way home from work and heard a song on the radio that I used to always play for my Dad and I thought to myself it was time, I could do this….I needed to play again. So I played through the tears…lots of tears and did what I could. It was the first step but it was me saying I CAN do this! I continue to play today and I will always play with my Dad in my heart.
There is so much power in the first two simple words of the quote “I AM”
What follows these two words will determine what type of life you live.
I am strong
I am less
I am healthy
I am attractive
The “I AM’s” that come out of your mouth will bring into your life successes or failures.
What follows the “I AM” will always come looking for you and you get to choose what follows the “I AM”. I am strong - strength starts tracking you down. I am so worn out - you are inviting fatigue into your life.
Look into the mirror every morning and say to yourself those two words I AM followed by something positive…. I AM beautiful; I AM strong; I AM confident. I AM amazing.
Take what you have in life and make the most of it. There will never be another you.
Think to yourself……what kind of “I AM’s” are coming out of your mouth? You can either bless your future or curse your future. You can make the choice of what follows those two words.
Never say negative things about yourself. I know sometimes this is hard…..I admit I often do it to myself. We don’t have any problems criticizing ourselves but we would never criticize others. Talk about the way you want to be.
So your homework is to make a list of your “I AM’s”.
Remember what follows the I AM will come looking for you.
So for the upcoming year…..whatever the circumstance….I am going to live by my motto and my theme for the year: I AM I CAN I WILL and I hope you will join me. You have to have the mindset that no matter what you are going through, no matter what challenges you are facing right now, that you CAN get through it and you WILL make it through it.
Remember…..I AM I CAN I WILL.
Before I close, I want to share a couple photos of my husband and I and our two “fur” babies that make up our family.
Thank you and I’m looking forward to a great year!