Hello. My name is Alexandra Franzen.

I run a communication agency, write books, and teach courses on how to clear mental resistance & do things you never thought you could do.

I believe that we get one beautiful shot at life, it’s a privilege to be here, and it’s never too late to make it count.

Who do you want to become? Today is not over yet.

Keep writing the damn alphabet.

Like most people, I like to be excellent at things immediately, without much effort, and get even better from there. (“I’m already AWESOME! Wheee! Look at meee! Now I am even MORE AWESOME!”)

It’s fun to do things that you are “already pretty great” at.

It requires much more humbleness, grit and courage to do things that are not instantly easy.

A little while ago I started physical therapy on my leg so that — hopefully, soon — I can start walking again.

Throughout my life I’ve been a semi-professional dancer, as well as a yogi, rock climber, and weight lifter.

At physical therapy? None of that mattered. There was no leaping. No climbing. Zero frolicking. Not yet, anyway.

My primary job was to try to “write the alphabet” with my toes.

Such a simple task, yet I could barely do it.

It was not instantly easy.

I was not instantly good at it.

In fact, it was really painful and hard.

After my first PT session, I went home and cried. It sounds so unbelievably privileged and disgusting, but I am not used to things being that painful and hard.

I couldn’t understand why things weren’t getting easier right away, like they usually do.

Absurd, I know. But that was the runaway thought-train in my mind.

Here is what happened next:

I kept writing the damn alphabet.

It was boring and painful and the progress seemed practically non-existent. Some days I couldn’t tell if it was “working” at all. Most days, my “Z” looked like my foot was having a spasm. Not going to be winning any foot-calligraphy contests anytime soon.

But I kept writing.

Ten days later, give or take, a miracle happened.

I walked.

Well, sort of. I took a few half-steps using one of my crutches instead of two — kind of like a super-sized cane, supporting most of my body weight. Tiny, hobbling, baby steps. But I walked. I WAS WALKING. For the first time since breaking my leg.

My physical therapist congratulated me and said that the stabilizing muscles in my foot and leg were already much stronger.

My boyfriend hugged me and his arms wrapped all the way around me. Only one metal stick inside the hug instead of two. That’s fifty percent less crutch. Progress. I cried again.

Do I even need to spell out the “moral to the story”? I don’t. You’ve got it.

Here it is, anyway:

Some miracles do not come easily or quickly. Some goals, as my friend Nicole puts it, require “thousands of tiny, unsexy steps.”

It’s tempting to give up after one or two frustrating sessions. Tempting to say, “Well, obviously, that’s just not for me. I quit.”

Don’t quit.

Keep writing the damn alphabet.

Keep taking those aggravatingly slow, tedious steps.

Commit: one day, one week, one month, one year longer than seems reasonable.

If the goal you’re working towards is “worth it” to you, and you know it, keep marching.

The miracle you’ve been waiting for… could be right after the letter “Z.”

Trying is always worth it.

“Who can tell me why it’s important to do CPR?”

My fellow students and I at the CPR training class stared back at the instructor blankly.

It was early and I hadn’t had my coffee. I shriveled in my seat.

She repeated question again:

“Anyone? Who can tell me why it’s important to do CPR?”

Finally, one brave student ventured, “To save someone’s life…?”

The instructor smiled.

“Correct. To help save a life in situations where someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. Why else is it important to do CPR?”

Total silence.

“What if CPR isn’t enough?” the instructor continued. “What if the ambulance does not arrive in time? What if, despite doing everything correctly, the person cannot be saved? Is it still worth it to attempt CPR? Should you still try?”

We nodded, catching on, slowly… though not quite knowing where this lesson was going.

The instructor proceeded to roll out three damn good reasons to try — no matter what the outcome may be.

1. Because people will see you in action. Bystanders will see someone (you) acting courageously in spite of nervousness, adrenaline, and chaos all around. These people might think to themselves, “I wish I was empowered like that. I want to learn how to do that.” They might sign up for a CPR course, get trained, and save someone’s life in the future. Because you tried.

2. Because you will provide greater peace of mind to people who are grieving. Family members won’t have to agonize, wondering, “But what if someone had known CPR?” They will know that every possible action was taken to save their loved one. Because you tried.

3. Because somebody else might get to live. Even if your victim is dead and cannot be revived, performing CPR helps to circulate blood through the victim’s body, which means that some of their organs may still “live” long enough to be transported to a hospital. If the victim is an organ donor, that means that their organs can be given to someone who desperately needs them. You will be fulfilling the victim’s dying wishes and be saving a life… even if the life you are saving is not the person lying in front of you. Because you tried.

By “Reason #2,” I was already quietly crying. Eyes brimming with tears in the back row. (One of many instances where I wept during that class. Awkward, public emotions. It’s how I roll.)

I’m not writing this story to share CPR tips, of course.

The message runs even deeper than that.

What I learned in that classroom is that trying is always worth it.

You might take courageous action and get no visible result.

You might pour in your heart and soul, you strain, you fight, and yet…

The book doesn’t get picked up for publication. The company crashes and burns. The relationship doesn’t last. The victim does not wake up. Crushing defeat. Abject failure.

But that’s not actually the case, because when you try your best you never really “fail.”

Simply by trying — especially when nobody else is willing or able to act — you become an inspiration to everyone you meet.

There are hidden benefits — hidden miracles — that become unlocked when you try.

You might not “see” these miracles unfolding in front of your eyes instantaneously. But they are unfolding. Because you tried.

Trying is not pointless.

Trying is not stupid.

Trying is always worth it.

I’m not lying. It’s just that the truth has changed.

“Mom, Dad… I’m gay.”

Tears splashed onto my laptop as I awkwardly came out to my parents — who lived thousands of miles away — over Skype.

They told me they loved me. They told me they wanted me to be happy. They asked if I had a girlfriend (“I’m working on it!” I replied). That was that. I was out.

Fast forward seven years or so.

“Mom, Dad… so… I might not be gay.”

They laughed (hard) and told me they (still) loved me. They told me they wanted me to be happy. They asked if I had a boyfriend (“It’s complicated” I replied). That was that. I was un-out. In. Somewhere in the middle. Un-labeled.

Back when I identified as a lesbian (who would definitely, never EVER be with a man, EW, GROSS) that feeling of certainty was real. As real as anything I’d ever felt up until then or since. The emotions were real. The love I felt for my first, second, third (etc.) girlfriend was real. The obsessive mania with which I soaked in episodes of The L Word was real.

I was who I was and I felt unshakable in my truth.

Then my feelings changed.

I fell in love with a man and believe me, nobody was more astonished than me*.

For a while, I felt ashamed. Like I’d broken some kind of holy vow because my feelings had changed. I spent tormented nights wondering, “Was I deceiving myself all along? Was it real? Or is this real? What’s true? Am I crazy?”

Eventually I forgave myself and flatly decided, “Love — in every form — is awesome and so am I. The heart wants what it wants. Hearts are smart. The end.”

Changing your mind, your writing style, business model, your profession, how you choose to express your gender, your orientation, your anything-ever-whatever, doesn’t necessarily mean the past was “wrong” or a “lie” or that you weren’t being “real” or “authentic.”

Your skin sheds 50,000 cells every minute.

Every single cell in your skeleton is replaced every 7 years.

Things shed.

Things grow.

Things change.

If the change is leading you in the direction of that which you love now… why fight it?

Be the “you” that you are today, even if it’s not an exact replica of who you were yesterday.

You’re allowed. It’s OK.

My current boyfriend teased me recently for changing my mind about some insignificant something-or-other.

“Liar!” he said with a smirk.

“I’m not lying,” I replied. “It’s just that the truth has changed.”

*I am aware that “nobody was more astonished than I was” is the grammatically correct sentence structure and “nobody was more astonished than me” is not. Or is the other way around? Don’t remember. I used to care about having perfect grammar. Now, obviously, I do not. Instead, I prefer sentences that rhyme in pleasant-sounding, lyrical ways, putting paragraph breaks in totally inappropriate places, and sometimes using an ellipsis to indicate that you should read… a bit… slower. Things change.

Tell me everything.

Tell me about a moment when you quit — and regretted it later.

Tell me about a moment when you quit — and did not regret it later.

Tell me about a moment when you felt intense shame.

Tell me about a moment when you felt intense joy.

Tell me about a moment when you felt like your world was ending.

Tell me about a moment when you felt like your world was beginning.

Tell me a secret you’ve never told anyone else.

Tell me about your current hero and why you admire them.

Tell me one thing that would feel like a miracle for you right now.

Tell me how I can help you to create the miracle you want.

Email these questions to someone you love. Or sit down and ask them in person. Listen. Learn. Connect. Discover something beautiful, new and true. Switch roles. Take turns. Share your own stories. Reveal what it feels like to be you.

Whatever it takes.

Can’t drag yourself to the gym unless you know your best friend / mom / sister / personal trainer is going to be there, waiting, holding you accountable to your goals?

Whatever it takes is whatever it takes.

Can’t finish your writing project unless you check yourself into a hotel for a week (or many months) of undisturbed creation? (Hey, it worked for Maya Angelou. Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith, too.)

Whatever it takes is whatever it takes.

Can’t focus on your work unless your sink is empty, those crumbs are swept off the floor, and your magazines are arranged in a perfectly symmetrical fan shape?

Whatever it takes is whatever it takes.

Can’t show up for appointments on time unless you set an alarm on your phone, and then a back up alarm, and set your clock to run twenty minutes fast?

Whatever it takes is whatever it takes.

Can’t function, think clearly, or move your cause forward unless you meditate for an hour (or two) every day? (That’s how Gandhi rolled.)

Whatever it takes is whatever it takes.

There are a million and one factors at play, every day, threatening to derail you from the projects and priorities that truly matter.

A million and one forces of distraction, pulling at the corners of your mind, careening you off course. It takes a lot — coffee, conviction, coaching, community, rituals, sometimes, utter ridiculousness — to keep yourself on track.

Instead of feeling “guilty” for having so many “needs” and “requirements,” feel triumphant for giving yourself a competitive edge. Feel proud for giving yourself what my friend Dyana calls “the necessary conditions for Greatness.”

What kind of person do you want to become?

What kinds of ideas & projects do you want to bring forth into this world?

What is it going to take in order for you to be Great?

Meet your personal conditions.

Give yourself every possible advantage.

No self-judgment. No drama. No shame.

Whatever it takes.

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