Remember who you are.
Earlier this year, I forgot my own power.
I was having one of those weeks where everything felt overwhelming. Too much to do. Not enough time. Too many obstacles. Not enough energy to clear the boulders out of the path. I felt weary and discouraged and not very powerful. Self-pitying. Woe is me.
When I feel powerless about my present circumstances, I look to the past.
I turn towards my ancestors. I think about their stories. What they survived. What they did not survive. What they built out of nothing. Their courage, resilience, and strength.
My ancestry is a mixed-bag of several things including Jewish heritage. When I think about what the Jewish people have faced, it humbles me.
Just a few years ago, I learned that during World War II, inside the Terezín concentration camp, imprisoned Jews performed an opera called Brundibár.
They put together an opera. While starving and dying. Inside a camp.
These brave people knew they were facing their final moments of life before a brutal death, and what did they do? They joined together. They raised their voices. They sang. They wanted to make art and do something beautiful with those final seconds of life, and make every moment count.
The human spirit is powerful beyond belief.
My people are survivors and artists, immigrants and entrepreneurs. My people fled villages, traveled to new lands, taught themselves how to speak English, how to run a business, how to build something solid with the most limited resources.
If they could do all that, then I can handle tough things, too. A pandemic. A recession. All of it.
I can. I will. I must. I have no excuse.
Briana Saussy, author of Making Magic, writes in her book, “No matter who you are or where you came from, there is magic in your ancestral lineage.”
Whether you hail from Nigeria, Mexico, Ireland, China, Sweden, or numerous places, there is strength, resilience, and a powerful story in your bones.
You are the sum total of your ancestors. All their power is harnessed within you.
The grandfather who sailed to America with $20 dollars and a dream.
The grandmother who was widowed and raised five children on her own.
The ancestors whose names you don’t even know because their names were never recorded, or the papers were burned.
All of their love, grit, hope, and potency is inside you.
Let this be a reminder that you can conquer whatever is on your to-do list today, and 100x times more.
Yes, you can find the courage to send that email. Yes, you can ask that client to hire you. Yes, you can pitch your book idea. Yes, you do have what it takes. And yes, you can have a difficult conversation, go to that rally, stand up for what you believe, take a risk, advocate for yourself or someone else…or whatever you feel scared to do.
You can do it.
You have the capacity in your cells. In your DNA. Passed down to you.
You are brave enough. You are strong enough. You can do hard things.
Our ancestors are watching. Let’s make them proud.
Remember who you are.
. . .
PS. How will you make your ancestors proud today?
PPS. Also, how will you learn from your ancestors’ mistakes? How can you be better and do better?