At our monthly team meetings, one of our crew members discusses one of our five values: strength, courage, commitment, heart, and trail-blazing. This is Dawn’s reflection from this month’s meeting.
Strength. It comes in all forms: physically, mentally, socially and spiritually, and I’m sure there’s so many more. A quick Google search came up with two definitions of strength: the quality or state of being strong, in particular, and a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing. At YACC, we our definition of strength is “We are strong and offer strength to those in need.”
So how do I live by this YACC value personally and professionally? It’s a funny thing about strength. Most will never say “I’m so strong!”, it’s something others usually say about you. “She’s so strong, she can get through anything” or “She’s so strong, she can bench 100 pounds!” I’m probably more critical of myself than anyone else could ever be, so I’m going out of my comfort zone here to try to be positive about me and how I’m strong, and how YACC has helped make me even stronger.
How many times have you heard “you just never know how strong you are until presented with a challenge”? And I’m sure you sure as hell didn’t fell that strong in the moment.
Offering strength to those in need is easy; it comes by naturally, whether it’s family or a friend who needs some of your strength and a positive spin on something, or at work when attending an event like Survivor Conference where our whole team pulls together to pull off something amazing that brings young adults dealing with cancer and their partners or friends together. We offer them strength and hope to know they are not alone.
To do this, you have to be strong and—to tie in YACC’s other values—you have to be courageous to take what you feel is the right path, you need to be committed and confident in your ambitious vision (whether it’s to box like my friend Racquel, or do everything possible to ensure YACC doesn’t have a deficit so that we can reach more young adults), you need heart to be bold and brave and compassionate, and you need to blaze trails to be engaged, anticipatory, change-oriented, and self-initiated. It just all ties together; you need a little or a lot of courage, commitment, heart and trail-blazing to be strong and offer strength.
How do I do this personally? I don’t really have an answer, I just do. I’m far from perfect (a wise man once told me that perfection is a myth, anyhow), but whether I was faced with not knowing if I’d walk again, or helping my son through his disappointment of not making a team ,or my friend through a breakup, or dealing with a deficit at YACC, I had my moments, but I also had the benefit of receiving strength all around me from my family, friends, colleagues at YACC, and the hundreds of young adults we work with—some of whom I’ve had the privilege to meet, and some who I have just heard their stories.
So the next time you think you just don’t have strength, whether it’s to go to the gym or to deal with a crisis, give yourself time, that takes strength, too. It will come. And lean on others as they’ve leaned on you. Strength: it’s a powerful thing, just like Popeye and his spinach.