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“You must do the thing you think you cannot do” Eleanor Roosevelt

 

This is one of my favorite quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt. 

 

Let’s just pretend for a moment.  If given the opportunity to sit down with someone from the past and have a conversation with them, who would you choose?  It is fair to say a family member, but who beyond them?

 

I would sit down with Eleanor Roosevelt.  To my admittedly limited knowledge, I believe her to be an incredibly strong and courageous woman.  Her mother, who was beautiful, always reminded Eleanor that she was not a beauty (according to her mother’s standards).  Her mother called her “granny!”  Her mother died when she was very young and by the time she was 10 years old, her father was gone also. 

 

Eleanor was sent to a school where she experienced some of the best times of her life.   Well educated on social issues, she then was well educated in the good, the bad, and the ugly, as her headmistress took her around the world. 

 

As she grew in wisdom, confidence, and courage, she faced incredible hardships:  the death of a child, feelings of confinement in both personal and political arenas, and a husband who had an affair that, basically, never ended. 

 

Yet, she fought for the rights for women, racial equality, and never forgot the military.  Never wavering in her mission(s).  Just reading about all of her accomplishments is exhausting!

 

Many years ago, when I was living a life of fear, anxiety, and having these constant negative conversations with myself, I ran across this quote attributed to Mrs. Roosevelt:

 

            “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

 

Part of my story is that I am a (basically) 25-year, 4-year college graduate.  I really wanted to go to college, even right out of high school.  Since that didn’t happen, I held that dream close to my heart.  I would take a class or two at the community college, then start this negative self-talk (you really are not smart enough, just occasionally lucky).  Then anxiety would set in (when will it be discovered that I’m not that smart).  Until finally, fear would creep in and win.  Until the next time.  I repeated this cycle time and time again. 

 

One day, talking to a neighbor, she questioned my reasons for not being enrolled in school the following semester.  AND then I also read the quote by Eleanor.  It was on some random quote board.  Good thing I don’t believe in coincidences!  I registered for the next semester and have never looked back! 

 

Ok, Eleanor, I will do the very thing I think I cannot do:  I will graduate from college with top grades.  And I did.

 

I began shifting the way I thought about hardships.  Recognizing them as opportunities to learn, grow, and become courageous; and my confidence grew.

 

Thank you, Eleanor Roosevelt, for your words, your example, your courage, your confidence, your love of country, and your love of humanity.  I am a benefactor of all your work.  I repeat your words often.

 

And so I ride my bike for miles on end: don’t think you can do it?  Think again!

 

And so I show up at the gym, pushing myself with the help of Mendy (most awesome trainer), doing one more push up, one more row on the machine, one more squat.

 

And so I stand in front of strangers and friends alike, sharing my story so others may make a choice to move forward from where they are stuck.

 

And so I hold the hearts of the hurting, the fearful, the lost, as they make some choices that bring empowerment, confidence, and success.

 

Yes, my friends:

 

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

 

Until next time,

Keep changing the world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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