Lessons Learned from a Kid with No Limits

This is a story about belief. This is a story about overcoming self doubt and having an “I can do it” attitude. This is a story about perseverance, commitment and confidence. But mostly this is a story about a mom inspired by her 9 year old daughter to take on a challenge.

Almost 10 years ago my oldest daughter Leila was born with a severe hearing impairment. What this means is, without the use of hearing aids, she is essentially deaf. Fear, worry, anxiety are just a few of the emotions I felt when I was first made aware of her disability. Fortunately, Leila never got the memo that her mother was worried for her future. She had a plan. She knew it was all going to turn out OK. She knew she would be able to do whatever any typically developing kid was able to do and better. Her determination and her unstoppable spirit are what helped guide me to parent her down the path of opportunity and achievement, instead of a path of self doubt and limiting beliefs.

We were told there was a possibility she wouldn’t speak well because of the level of her hearing loss. Leila apparently never got that memo. Her deafness is barely detectible in her speech. She also never got the memo that she might not attend mainstream school. She’s a straight A student in her public school class. As a matter of fact, this year she was accepted into the gifted and talented educational program, having scored in the top 95% of kids tested nation wide. Last season, Leila’s soccer coach nicknamed her the “bulldog” because of her fearless defensive skills. Apparently she never got the memo that having a disability meant she couldn’t be a superstar athlete. Oh, and least I forget, she never got the memo that she couldn’t stand up on stage at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles to perform in the lead of role of a play in front of hundreds of people. She does this every summer with unabashed self-confidence. Where does Leila get this I can do anything spirit? Unfortunately not from her mom. But inspired by my sassy little 9 year old, I am about to change all that.

But first, let me go back a few years to give you some background on a program that has nurtured my confident little kid. For the past few years, Leila has had the privilege of participating in the No Limits Theater Program. No Limits is a non-profit whose mission is to enhance the confidence and self-esteem of kids with hearing impairment through the theatrical arts. When you walk in to their office, you are greeted by three signs which read as follows:

Confidence: I CAN DO IT
Commitment: I WILL DO IT

Every day after they end their activities, the kids stand in a circle holding hands taking turns shouting out “I can do it”. You see, the human spirit, like a campfire, needs to be constantly rekindled. Stating positive affirmations like this have been proven to help the mind adopt these thoughts as truth. The first time I witnessed the kids doing this exercise, it brought me to tears and inspired me to complete training for a half marathon at a time when I was about ready to give up. I blogged about it back then in this post. This time, I have been inspired to take on my own personal challenge of overcoming self doubt and limiting beliefs. Besides embarking on a new business/personal development challenge for myself, I am going to be taking on a new physical goal with my next 90 day challenge. In my next 90 day challenge I am going to train to participate in an amateur beach volleyball tournament. I have been playing recreational beach volleyball for years. I love it and look forward to it every week and I am a huge fan of the sport. Most professional beach volleyball players are tall, lean and ripped and they compete in bikinis. I am 5″4, weigh over 160 lbs. and wear a size D bra. To say that I am not built like a beach volleyball player would be an understatement. But I know that I am a good player, I am athletic, and I am no longer going to allow my limiting beliefs to keep me from achieving whatever I set my mind to. I am going to commit with confidence and persevere no matter what. I am excited to be taking you all on this journey and share my progress with you. In the next 90 days, you are going to watch me rise to the top of my company’s comp plan, change the lives of hundreds of people, and compete in this tournament with the belief and confidence of the athlete that I am. Who wants to join me?


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