Knowing that you want to change something, or reach for your dream is one thing. Getting on and doing it is another. One of my most inspiring lessons which helped was the gift of a young equestrian paralympian called Lauren Barwick seven years ago.
This young woman was giving a lecture at a natural horsemanship demonstration I was attending. She told the story of how, at the age of 22, her back was broken and she was left with no movement below the belly button. Once a talented young horsewoman with aspirations to become a stunt rider she now faced life in a wheelchair. She talked about how she had struggled to come to terms with her injury and could not even bear to go and see her horses out in the paddock at her home. Her life, and her dreams, had been shattered along with her spine.
And then, one day, she found the courage to go out to the paddock in her wheelchair. There was one horse who immediately came to the gate. The mare looked over the gate as if to say “Where have you been? When are you going to play with me again?” Lauren described how she had then entered the paddock and how her horse had greeted her, first nuzzling her legs which lay lifeless in the chair. She told us how this had made her cry. But then as she reconnected with her horse and took comfort and courage from her, the words which had been haunting her for weeks “Why me?” – they changed. Instead she thought “Why not me? Why should I not play with my horse again, or even ride? Why should I not have some new dreams?”
So this remarkable woman set her sights on becoming a Paralympian and she achieved her goal and more, winning gold at Beijing in 2008. Not only did she win, but she had also trained her horse herself from her wheelchair rather than turn her mare over to other professionals. Her relationship with her horses remained more important than a medal.
Those three tiny words. “Why not me?” struck me with their power. They almost felt like a battly cry, rejecting the helpless, defeated voice of the victim. And they were full of hope. This young woman whose spirit would not be limited either by her body or her negative thinking changed everything with those three words. Whenever I have wavered since that day and the insidious whisper of my self-critic calls “Are you really good enough?” this simple phrase immediately connects me with the possibility of my own potential and power. They help me stay true to my vision. Why Not Me? Three words which can change a life. Could these words work for you too?