Normal is So Overrated

Sunday 7/26/15 - Louisville, KY. Bonnie St. John, Elysia Valdivia-Giauque
Sunday 7/26/15 – Louisville, KY. Bonnie St. John, Elysia Valdivia-Giauque

On Monday July 27,2015 I was fortunate enough to meet Bonnie St. John and hear her speak at a gathering of Administrative Professionals in Louisville, KY. What a gift  to my spirit!  Bonnie’s topic was “Why Settle for Normal?”. Great topic. How many of us just want to be normal instead of appreciating our unique identifiers? I know I have desired “normal” for myself and my family.

If you have never heard of Bonnie St. John, here is a brief description taken from her website:

Bonnie has risen to the highest levels of achievement in a variety of endeavors throughout her life.  Despite having her right leg amputated at age five, she became the first African-American ever to win Olympic or Paralympic medals in ski racing, taking home a silver and two bronze medals in downhill events at the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria.  In recognition of this historic achievement, Bonnie was quoted on millions of Starbucks coffee cups and was honored at the White House by President George W. Bush.

Bonnie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, taking an M.Litt. in Economics.  After returning to the US, she began her business career at IBM where she won awards as a sales rep.  Soon, though, Washington came calling and Bonnie was appointed by President Bill Clinton as a Director for Human Capital Policy on the White House National Economic Council.

The celebrated author of six books, Bonnie co-authored her most recent #1 bestseller, How Great Women Lead, with her teenage daughter, Darcy.  Together they traveled around the world on an extraordinary mother-daughter journey into the lives, and life lessons, of fascinating women leaders including Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, fashion designers, CEOs, women’s rights activists, and many more.  – From <>

good one

Talk about rising above challenges and going beyond “Normal”.  Bonnie inspired me to look deep inside my personal goals and dreams. Why would I want to be normal when there are far more opportunities to go above and beyond?  I know I am not a star athlete or a skilled artist. I do know that I have something to offer my fellow brothers and sisters. And so do you! We all have that one thing that others appreciate in us and which also brings joy to ourselves and to the people around us.

I remember listening to a friend share how she had once prepared a luncheon for a women’s event.  The keynote speaker was a well-known celebrity at the time. My friend was honored with the opportunity to serve a woman who had such a powerful message. Then something happened. This said speaker expressed at the podium, her amazement in the rose shaped strawberries and what a wonderful talent to be able to create such beauty!

It kind of reminds me of a part in the movie “The Breakfast Club”, when the students start sharing their unique skills. The one line that I always remember is “Everyone has something they can do”.

This is true. We may not all be actors, models, athletes, artists, engineers or scientists. But we don’t have to be. We can go beyond normal using our very own distinctive talents! You might not think much of your skills. But to someone who does not possess them, they are just the bee’s knees…

So today, appreciate and celebrate your uniqueness. Whatever it is. I will share something I can do: I can pick up objects with my toes, toss them in the air and catch them. Ha! And…I actually do this joyfully, blissfully!

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

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