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My four strategies or my four leaps to overcoming past pain, again, I will call them leaps, because it is about jumping over our pain. It is about not just walking softly. It is about really overcoming.

Number 1: It starts with making a decision. You have to decide. Do you want to live in the pain or do you want to take control of it? Right now I am thinking, you know what, I am greater and better than this pain. It’s so important to keep that in mind.

Number 2: Take ownership. Be responsible. Don’t blame yourself but take control of it now. Say, you know what, I cannot go backwards, and if I could rewind and start over again, I would but I can’t. So now what do I do? I have this “whatever” going on in my life. I could start right now, today.

Number 3: Find the opportunity. I know for a fact that in every adversity, every pain there is an opportunity or in other words, a lesson. What’s the lesson that can be learned right now? And that’s where it begins. Once you say, there is a lesson here or even an opportunity. It may not be very obvious right now but I can guarantee you, it is there for you. I love Byron Katy. She says, “Things happen for you, not to you.” Have you noticed? It is for you to grow if you decide that you want to grow.

Number 4: Create out of the pain. What does that mean? I was at a school not long ago and this girl raised her hand and she said, “I like to bake.” I said, “OK great!” So, now instead of being depressed and being sad with whatever is going on in your life, you can now dedicate the rest of your life to overcoming all your pain by dedicating time to baking. That is YOUR time, that’s YOUR time of doing something positive and creating something. I have had students say, “I am an athlete”. I say, “Great !” So now you can dedicate your time now to becoming a better athlete training at a higher level. I mean you don’t have to be an artist or a musician. For me specifically, I have done a couple of things. When my sister was killed back in 2001, I was devastated. In fact, it devastated the whole family. It was a ripple effect. It caused so much pain. From one man’s selfish act, it caused so much pain and it just rippled through a community. My family was terrified.

I went through this four leap process even though I did not know what I was doing at the time. I knew I did not want to live in this pain anymore and I could not bring my sister back. I wish I could, but I couldn’t so I am going to own up to it right now and I am going to find the opportunity. Well, what’s the opportunity? The opportunity was, I can be of service to others. In fact, I started with helping my nieces. We raised money for their college. And then, I decided a couple of years after that that maybe it would be best served if I raised money and awareness for domestic violence. That’s what I started to do.

You can take something that is so painful and you can turn it around and create awareness. In this case we raised a lot of money for many organizations. One of them is called WINGS which is a domestic violence organization that helps women and children in need.

So these four strategies or four leaps are very simple. Use them to fit your needs. Again, I am not the answer for you. I am not the answer for anyone but myself. But I just put some ideas out there and you can take it and you run with it. Remember, it has to start with YOU or it doesn’t start at all.