When you flatly refuse to take “no” for an answer, some pretty remarkable things change in the way you approach your dreams.

If failure isn’t an option, then what?

Image: Ballerina Misty Copeland in a beautiful leap in front of a warehouse window

Source: PBS

Have you heard the extraordinary dancer, Misty Copeland, who grew up nearly homeless and yet overcame other tremendous odds to become only the second African-American woman ever to reach the level of soloist at American Ballet Theater?

If you have, you may not know the whole story, and Misty’s journey lays out more than a few bread crumbs for the rest of us when chasing our own dreams.

Let’s start with a very short but powerful piece featuring Misty in an Under Armour campaign which shows fierce female athletes using their will power to tune out society’s standards in order to achieve their dreams.

The narration in Ms. Copeland’s video is a little girl reading rejection letters that Copeland received prior to being accepted to one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world.

This is an inspiring story with relevance to anyone who has ever suffered rejection…

Have you ever heard your own versions of those disparaging words? I know I have. And yet Misty persevered.

Let’s get some basic facts about the magnitude of her obstacles and her successes…

Via: Ovation 2

Now this is an accomplished artist and thought leader. If Misty’s example is any proof of what’s possible, then it seems obvious to develop a part of your game that completely obliterates the power of the things you can’t change.

Now let’s fill in some many of the blanks in Misty’s story…

Makes you think about what’s possible, doesn’t it?

Take your own dreams…

Here are some of the things we might take away from Misty’s story for our own aspirations:

“Ignore what the uninspired people around you say.”  – Dr. Lynda

That may be our rule number one.

Have you ever noticed how some people just have a disenchanted way about them. There will always be the nay-sayers. Some people can be generally sour and intellectually lazy when it comes to change.  Even the “experts” will not see the next big thing when they’ve given up growing their ideas about what is possible.

I know and love some people like that, but I don’t take their advice.

“Not having was never a reason for not doing.” – Rahzel M. Brown

Misty’s story demonstrates “The American Dream” is still alive and well. No matter your beginnings, if your work is exceptional and your attitude lifts others up, then you will find yourself rising through the ranks in your field.

There are no short cuts. If your work is not exceptional then study, practice and persevere. Sounds like Misty did a lot of all that.

“Never forget that you may be championing the next big leap in perspective. Humanity is depending on you!”  – Dr. Lynda

One thought leader often inspires another and in that domino effect, Misty’s work expands all of us.

Take this final video for example. Here’s a very short but inspiring bit of artistry by Sean James and his Student Athletes Foundation:

Beauty is absolutely everywhere, isn’t it?

Did you catch Sean James comments about showing kids that there is an intellect that comes with getting to the top of your game with sports or the arts?

Image: Football player and ballet dancer spar with a football

Source: Sean James

“You create your own luck by developing the habits that increase the chances that good things will come your way.” – Dr. Lynda

Today’s featured EWC Thought Leader  – Misty Copeland – decided to focus on finding a workaround for every single roadblock.

We can do that too.

Stay open, curious and optimistic!

~ Dr. Lynda

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Notes:

  1. “Misty Copeland – I WILL WHAT I WANT.” YouTube. Under Armour, 30 July 2014. Web. 24 Oct. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY0cdXr_1MA>.
  2. “Misty Copeland Is Breaking Barriers in Ballet.” YouTube. Ovation, 31 May 2016. Web. 24 Oct. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXIapH9kc20>.
  3. “Ballerina Misty Copeland Stands out in World of White Swans.” YouTube. PBS NewsHour, 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 24 Oct. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-VgXR_rl9U>.
  4. “Sean James Student Athletes Foundation “Athlete Meets Artist”” Vimeo. Bunker Media, 14 Nov. 2011. Web. 24 Oct. 2016. <https://vimeo.com/32099042>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.