Sometimes when things are tough for us it can feel particularly difficult to maintain our positive mindset and keep powering through to achieve whatever we have set our hearts on – whether that’s building a business or realising any kind of dream we hold in our hearts.
I know that feeling so well, it’s the sneaky despair that creeps up on us when we are tired, below par or just really butting our head up against a brick wall because we can’t achieve what we want to. It’s the little thought that says ‘you aren’t good enough to get where you want to be‘ or ‘you aren’t going to make it‘.
These are thoughts which have been swirling around me lately for one reason or another. When I feel like this I sometimes find it helps to look to people in our lives who we admire or who have achieved something amazing. Someone who is our hero.
One of my heroes is my Mum. But not in any showy kind of way. Not because she was a Nobel prize winner, a top entrepreneur or anything of that kind. She is my hero because she persevered, she carried on even when all the odds were stacked against her and in the face of everything she smiled, she laughed and she made others laugh too.
Pauline was born just before the 2nd World War and she lived in Ealing, West London. One of her first memories was of running across the green to the bomb shelter, her plaits bouncing against her back as she ran. She said they would hear the bomb, followed by silence, an eerie reprieve as they waited to hear where it would fall. Then she took my Grandmother’s hand and ran even faster.
My Mum was born with a hole in the heart, although they didn’t find that out until much later. By 23 she was married and in 1967 she was one of the first people to have open heart surgery to repair the hole. While it was successful enough for me to be born a couple of years later, it was never a permanent fix and it was an issue which caused her heart problems all through her life.
In her early fifties she went through breast cancer and a few years later she suffered a serious stroke. Yes she struggled with depression at times but she was also someone who was always searching for things to be better.
Before her stroke she started pottery and was very talented at it. When she lost the use of her right hand, pottery wasn’t possible any more, but instead she taught herself to draw – and even more amazingly she taught herself to draw with her non-dominant hand – this was not an easy task and yet the results were stunning. Was she frustrated that her speech and her movement were limited? Every day. Did she carry on anyway? Yes.
My Mum isn’t with us any more, but I’m not telling her story out of sadness.
I’m telling it so that I can take inspiration from it. So that I can remember every day that she did something remarkable. Very few people know about it but that doesn’t diminish it in any way.
You do remarkable things every day too, don’t forget that.
Who’s your hero? I would love to hear in the comments.