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Don't Stop Believing

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
Don't Stop Believing

Probably my favorite viral clip from the past year is the “Pep Talk” by the young man portraying the character of “Kid President.”    It makes me happy every time I watch it. One of my favorite parts in it is this:

“This is life, people!  You got air coming through your nose. You got a heartbeat. That means it’s time to do something! 

A poem: Two roads diverged in the woods and I took the road less traveled… and it HURT, man! Really bad. Rocks! Thorns! And Glass! …  Not Cool Robert Frost! 

But what if there really were two paths?  I wanna be on the one that leads to awesome.   It’s like that dude Journey said: Don’t stop believing. Unless your dream is stupid. Then you should get a better dream. I think that’s how it goes. Get a better dream and then keep going, keep going, keep going, and keep going.”

I love this, for many reasons. First, it makes me laugh. Second, it reminds me that we have one very precious and exquisite life at our hands, and if we wait for “it” to come to us, we will spend our days doing just that… waiting.

Life has been juicy for me lately—there have been plenty of opportunities to stop waiting and instead just show up… to say YES, to meet new people, join new communities, explore new opportunities—even if I’m unclear on where those paths may lead.    It’s been exciting and fulfilling and also exhausting. Not to mention vulnerable—to put yourself out to the world’s table and say “I’m here, I’m ready for the ride!” takes an enormous output of energy and courage. It can be tempting (for me at least) to crawl under the covers and just let life do its thing without your participation, hoping somehow it might throw you a bone as it saunters by. But the thing I’ve discovered is that life will throw you a bone, but if you don’t actively grab it it will quickly find someone else to play with.  Opportunities present themselves every day, but they also pass us by everyday.      Many  a wise person before us has said some version of the idea Mark Twain expressed when he said:  “Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Take this ridiculous example:  Some years back my husband worked on a Canadian tour for the comedian Billy Connelly.   Connelly enjoyed my husband’s company and invited us to his CASTLE IN SCOTLAND.    What???   We didn’t go… using some silly excuse like “not having the money” or something. So now we forever get to tell the story of how we almost came close to spending time in Scotland with Billy Connelly in his castle.   And That. Story. Is. Lame.      I talked last week about the split second chances we have every day in our personal life.  I believe the same idea is true for our larger life choices—whether or not we show up and say YES to the career move, the relationship, the once-on-a-lifetime opportunity.

I am continually reminded that in this life there is no great reveal around the corner; there is no discovery on down the road; there is only what we make and re-make. The road that leads to awesome is always there, but we have to actively pursue it; it won’t come find us. If we have a dream, we must follow it—even if it means walking a yet un-paved path filled with rocks and thorns and glass. If we are seeking adventure we must put one foot in front of the other. If we have a passion we must share it. If we find our one unique contribution, we must offer it.   We can easily choose to be spectators on the sidelines of our life rather than jumping into the game. But holy WOW, when we do join in. The knocks may be harder… but the rewards are bigger, too.

A final thought from young Kid President:

“We were made to be awesome. Let’s get out there! I don’t know everything—I’m just a kid. But I do know this: It’s everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance. So get to it. ”

How can you take the first step on your own road to awesome? 


Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share?  E-mail her at erika@tlpnyc.com.


Taking my brief summer hiatus - see you in August!

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.