At the "Coaching with Excellence" workshop in May, 2012, Dan Miller gave a piece of advice at the closing. He said, "When you leave here, if you learn one thing from all of this, it is to 'take action.'" I'm probably paraphrasing his exact words, but that little piece of advice has been drilled into my thoughts since then. I have a sticky note on my desk to remind me of this each day.
One of the things I had been putting off for several years was a book to help families with deaf and hard of hearing children. Right after the workshop, I went to work on that book. I had only written a few pages over the years. I worked on it during the summer months, which was a real challenge because my kids were home and I was training for barefoot tournaments. In September, I released "The Parenting Journey, Raising Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children" on Amazon.
It hit a number one spot in its category and Lee Woodruff from CBS This Morning gave it a tweet:
The book has lead to several speaking opportunities as well. But the reason I'm writing to share this is the REAL purpose behind the book-- I wanted to reach out to families and make a difference. I wanted to take all the lessons I learned as a mom of three deaf and hard of hearing kids and share them--and perhaps make the journey a little smoother for others. Three days ago, a review came in which made tears run down my face:
As a mother to a child with severe hearing loss, the emotions I felt were different and scary. Leaving me feeling all alone to cope with the loss of my dreams for my daughter. I felt selfish. Guilty, angry, confused and so on. After sitting down to read The Parenting Journey, Raising Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children - I feel MORE confident in making decisions for my child. I no longer feel alone and I feel I have a better understanding of how to cope with my own sadness of my daughter's hearing loss. My daughter failed her newborn hearing screening and for 3 long years, I was told by 4 different doctors that she was fine and I was just a nervous mother and I even had a doctor refuse to see her because of my voicing concerns. My entire family sided with the doctors, I was constantly told to push her harder to speak and to not speak for her. Her father, my husband, felt the same as the rest of the family, that nothing was wrong with his babygirl. It was a steep uphill battle for me to get someone to take me seriously. Finally, an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor listened to me and sent us to an audiologist. She confirmed my fears and my husband looked devastated. I cried. But my daughter - she smiled. For her, this is not new. She's been hearing impaired since her creation started - she's not sad, none of her dreams have been crushed, she's a happy 6 year old. She has had her hearing aids for 2 years and 4 months, she loves them. She goes to a school with a class for the deaf and hearing impaired. She is behind in her language, which ALL the teachers and doctors have me a nervous wreck about making sure she can make a certain sound before she turns 7 - so no one older than 7 has ever learned a new word? A new language? Please, there's no age limit on education. I'm 31 and I learn new things each and everyday. Reading this book made me realize that there is no wrong answer, mistakes can and will be made but you will learn along the way. I don't have to make my daughter only use her words, she can also use ASL unlike what her teachers and speech pathologist say. I have also realized that I am strong enough to raise a happy child regardless of her hearing impairment. I felt little, weak and over my head before I read this. I needed this confidence boost. But mostly, my daughter needed me to have a boost, to realize that I'm not the only parent in the world who got little to no information along with little to no support, so I could regain my confidence to be the best mommy I can be. We still have our struggles, and when times feel overwhelming, I turn to page 117 and I read that quote. I can honestly say that this book really reached out to me. It truly helped me. If I could shake Karen Putz's hand - I would be overjoyed. Her book gave me my confidence back. I sincerely thank Karen Putz for sharing her insight with me through this book.
I'm sharing this today because I hope Dan's words will encourage you to take action on something you've been dreaming about for a long time, something you KNOW you want/need to accomplish, something you're born to do but have been putting off because of doubt/fear/whateveritis -- take action TODAY. Every day, with every action, you're either moving toward your passion or away from it.
What about you? What will you take passionate action on?