Several years ago, after attending another boring but educational lecture, I had an idea. What if we sponsored a breakfast speakers series that would be inspirational in nature — people could come for breakfast and leave ready to try new things, step outside their comfort zones. I even had a name for the series, JOLT (Jump on Life Today). I shared the idea with some colleagues, to lukewarm response. So, I dropped the idea.
Flash forward to earlier this academic year, when I brought out the JOLT idea and shared it with my friend Tricia, our campus counseling center director, and Layne, an amazing young professional in my department. They met, without me I might add, and decided that it was time this idea became a reality. The three of us collaborated, brainstormed, and began the series in February. Yesterday, we held our third JOLT event and it was amazing!
Our speaker, Dr. Deann Fitzgerald (check out her website http://www.docfitzgerald.com) blew us away. Dr. Fitzgerald and her team have changed lives in a big way both here in Cedar Rapids, and in Kenya (their latest project will bring clean water to 32,000 people). She talked about failures (“they’re all outcomes…you just like some outcomes better than others”) and she talked about inspiration and passion being things that you have to go looking for…they don’t just appear. They come when you take a step forward — in any direction — and decide to take another step. She also says this is the way each person can change the world: one step at a time.
After Dr. Fitzgerald finished speaking, she gave her email address and encouraged everyone to write if they had questions, ideas, or wanted to create change in the world. I listened to people saying they want to go on medical mission trips, that they were moved and inspired to act by being in Dr. Fitzgerald’s presence…and that is when it hit me that JOLT was serving as a vehicle for inspiration — just what I imagined it could be when I first had the idea.
One thing that stands out for me today as I have spent some time reflecting on this experience is that I let naysayers prevent me from jumping on life, from taking a step forward in a direction I was inspired to go. Thank God for Tricia and Layne, who talked back to the negative voices (those of my colleagues, and those in my head which suggested that others knew better than I). They gave me a true gift when they joined hands with me to take that first step. I am thinking it is about time for me to trust my own inspiration and creative energy. Next time, I take the step forward on my own.