I’m Diana Swillinger, and you’re listening to the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 39 You Can Do It.
DIANA: Hey. Hey. How are you doing? Today? 2020, the year of the pandemic. It’s almost over, you all, but it kind of continues to mess around with us in the holidays, I think. But that’s okay. I don’t know if you knew you can decide that, but you can. I’ve decided it’s okay. And no matter what happens, everything’s fine. That means I get to feel peace about it. So, yeah, Thanksgiving was different. We didn’t have our extended family gathering. We had a, uh, simple Thanksgiving at home me, my hubby, and our kids. And it was nice. My mom and stepdad drove over 45 minutes, and we stood outside more than 6ft apart for about 15 minutes and just saw each other’s faces and enjoyed some in person time that we weren’t getting with everybody else. So, you know, we may do. And I’m grateful.
There’s so many things to be grateful for. So today on, um, this episode, I want to do something a little different. I don’t have a tool that I’m going to teach you. Instead, I’m going to tell you a story. I’m going to read a short story that my dad wrote a long time ago. Before I read it, let me set the stage and tell you a little bit about my dad. My dad grew up in the 1950s, and he loved growing up in the 50s. He swears it’s the best of times. I imagine when I grow up, I’ll say that about the 80s. When I grow up, I, uh, think I’ll tell my grandkids that the 80s were amazing, just like my dad says the 50s were amazing. So he loved his childhood, and he was a big believer in the idea that your life is going to be whatever you make of it. I know my grandfather probably had the means to pay for my dad to go to college, but my dad never asked him for money. He had decided he was going to make something of himself and he was going to do it on his own. So he worked full time all throughout college. He was a shoe salesman. In fact, I remember growing up, whenever we went to the shoe store, you know how they used to have salespeople come over and help you all the time? They never bothered with us because my dad was right there being the shoe guy and fitting us for shoes.
So if you need help picking out some shoes that fit. I know how to fit you. Anyway, he put himself through college, he got married, and he put himself through dental school while married and starting a family. And he never went into debt. It’s not the debt or no debt part that’s important to know about my dad. What is important is that he made a decision to go to school and dental school without going into debt, and then he actually did what he set out to do. So for me, he was a living example for me and my sisters that you can just decide what you want to do in life, come up with a way to do it, and maybe you have to change your plan a little along the way, but you stick to it. You just don’t stop. You just make it come true. He set out to be a successful dentist with a family and a house in the suburbs, and he did it. So from here, I’ll pick up with my dad’s words. This story was published in a book called Build a Better You. Starting now. And it was the 6th volume. That’s how we got inspirational stuff in the 80s. We didn’t have the Internet, we had books. Anyway, it was kind of cool he got his story published. So here we go, right out of the book. It begins on May 23, 1970, with the birth of a baby girl. Two weeks later, while I was on a business trip, I called home and was told that this little baby had developed a fever. The next morning, she was hospitalized with spinal meningitis. M. She had been admitted to McConnell Air Force Base Hospital. That’s where my dad was stationed at the time, doing dental work. Okay, back to the story. She was admitted to McConnell Air Force Base Hospital. But at noon, she was transferred to the pediatric clinic at St. Joe’s Hospital in Wichita, Kansas. Her condition was critical, and she was not expected to live through the night. During the next 18 hours, I drove the 1200 miles to Wichita. She was still alive. My daughter had convulsions for five days, during which she was given enormous dosages of antibiotics. When she was dismissed from the hospital three weeks later, the neurologist and the pediatrician stated that she most certainly had suffered brain damage. By the time she was three years old, it was obvious that this delightful little girl was of normal intelligence. However, she experienced difficulties with motor coordination and had diagnosable learning disabilities. She attended a school for children with learning disabilities for the next six years and is presently in the public school system’s LD curriculum.
With that background information, I want to tell you what this girl accomplished. In the spring of 1976, nearly three months before her 6th birthday, she came to me and said, dad, take the training wheels off my bicycle. I’m going to learn to ride without them. Before my birthday, nearly every day she did. What I am asking you to do that is set aside 15 minutes a day to work on your goals. Day after day, she sat on that bicycle, moving it back and forth in the driveway, tipping it from side to side, trying to balance on it. One day a month or so after the training wheels were removed, I watched her from the window. I concluded that she was not likely to accomplish her goal, but, uh, much to my surprise, she came to me a few days later and said, dad, get some film tomorrow. I’m going to ride that bike, and I want you to take a picture of me. I had recently bought a sound movie camera, and I want you to know what I captured on that film. We took the bike over to a neighbor’s driveway, which had a slight incline, and that almost six year old girl coasted down the driveway and then began to pedal. As, uh, she came past me with her face full of excitement and exhilaration, she shouted in a voice that was partly laughing and partly crying, I can do it. I can do it.
That story, yeah, it’s about my dad, but it’s about my big sister Michelle as well. She was the baby that had spinal meningitis, like the story said. My dad recorded it on, um, the film movie camera from the I’ve watched that tape many times. I can still hear her voice crying out, I can do it. I can do it. My dad died in 2017, and as our family reminisced, of course, we talked about his I can do it story and how he went on to run marathons wearing a bright green T shirt that in white letters across the front read, I can do it. Bystanders along the marathon route would see him coming with his bright green shirt. And as he got closer to them, they could make out what it said on the front. I can do it. And they would cheer him on. Then, as he ran past them, they could see the back of his shirt. The back of his shirt read, you can do it. You can do it. My dad taught this concept, and he spoke this to me all my life. And you know what? I have to admit, I think I selectively believed it. I believed it in the short sighted things. Like, I could conquer anything in a moment. When I was a teen, I would win, uh, sailboat races. Like, I could win that one race in front of me as a homeowner. I’m like, I can change out a light fixture. Watch me. I can do it. A work project that’s right in front of me. I can do it. But big things, big goals, like building a better future, building a bigger career, long term projects, they freaked me out. And I didn’t believe in me. I didn’t believe I could do it. But all this time, it was just in my head, the only thing holding me back from going for bigger goals. The only difference between that and shrinking back and not trying was my belief about whether I could do it or not. Now, I believe my dad. I really do. I believe I can do it.
That’s why when it came to making a podcast that people would have interest listening to, I decided ahead of time, I can do it. When I decided to be a life coach and I would impact and help people’s lives, I had doubt. But then I also had to decide, I can do it. My husband and I are setting goals for our marriage. Well, and as you know, we saved our marriage. Guess what? I had to decide, can we fix this marriage? I can do it. We can do it. And now I believe that for you, too. I don’t know what you’ve got in front of you that you’re thinking of. What is it that’s big that you want to do? What goals do you want to accomplish? What do you want to do to improve your life? None of that stuff is easy, and that’s okay. But what I want you to know is that you can do it. Listen, my sister, who almost died from spinal meningitis and was told she was going to have lasting physical and brain damage as a six year old, was determined and decided she could do it. She could ride a bike.
My dad didn’t even fully believe it. She changed his outlook on life, and guess what? She’s gone off to live a successful life as an adult. Nobody believed she was going to be able to do it. And she’s an amazing human being and one of my best friends, she can do it. My dad can do it. I can do it. And just like the back of my dad’s shirt, that big green shirt said, you can do it. If you don’t believe it yet, guess what? I believe it for you right now, today. And I hope you will start saying it in your head and out loud, too, and work on believing that for yourself. I can do it. That’s the thought I’m giving you today. All right, before I sign off, I want to invite you to my free online class this month. It’s managing stress during the holidays. Anybody need to do some of that? The date is December 17, 2020, and you can sign up rympodcast.com. If you scroll down just a little bit, you’ll see a bar that says Free Monthly webinars.
Click on the link that says Registration page. It’s not hard. All you got to do is put in your email and your name, and I’ll send you the link and a reminder and a calendar link to join the class when it comes. If you can’t make it live, not a problem either. I’ll send you the replay but you got to sign up if you want the replay. You can have peace during the holidays, no matter how other people act. And I want to show you how you can have peace during the holidays. Even when you’re busy, there are strategies you can put in place. You can have peace during the holidays instead of stress. If you want that, you should totally sign up. All right, y’all. That is what I have for today. Thanks for listening to my very special family story that’s so important to me. I hope it inspired you. I will catch you next week. Take care of you.
As an advanced certified life coach, I Help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and. Step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or free coaching call.