Last week I attended a professional event called Speaker’s Spotlight – a showcase of speakers for marketing and event planning folk. When I first learned about it I was thrilled to learn that David Usher would be there to speak about creativity. As a long time fan, I was looking forward to seeing him within a different setting beyond the many concerts I’ve attended.
But aside from being focused on David, I had no specific expectations of the event. What a surprise it was. That morning not only did I coo, but I laughed out loud and even shed a tear. From learning more about social media (in some cases gone wrong), to laughing with the Levity Effect, and then Amanda Lindhout’s heartfelt story of being kidnapped in Somalia for 15 months, it was an unexpected roller coaster ride of emotions.
As Amanda spoke you could hear a pin drop. Riveted by her every word, I could not imagine all that she has survived, and moreover how she has thrived. She says that “suffering is an opening to a new life, as long as you don’t run away from it.” And run away she has not.
Instead of choosing bitterness, she chose forgiveness.
Since being freed, Amanda has dedicated her life to breaking the cycle of violence in Somalia of which she was victim. To that end, she established a not-for-profit called the Global Enrichment Foundation dedicated to “promoting peace and development in Somalia through sustainable educational and community-based empowerment programs, while undertaking humanitarian and life-saving emergency interventions in times of crisis.”
I was humbled in her presence. People like Amanda are proof that we are capable of great things. That we can survive the unimaginable. That we can become better because of it.
So I urge you to think about her story if you are putting off a dream, doubting your abilities or complaining about the little stuff as we all do.