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Lessons Learned On The Road

I am passionate about learning and teaching, and I have discovered that when you teach you to learn, and when you learn, you expand your capacity to teach. That’s why I love public speaking and attending conferences, seminars, workshops… and all types of live events.

I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Arizona and be part of the Disney On The Road experience for Disney Social Media Moms (more on that here), and, as usual, that required transportation arrangements from and to the airport. Taxi drivers and car service drivers are probably the most interesting people in the world, and they add generously to my lessons learn on the road.

Abraham Lincoln — 'We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.'

I once read that Abraham Lincoln said: “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” and it now feels that he was comparing my two drivers.

Driver #1

A beautiful lady whose name I did not have the opportunity to catch. I made small talk about flying in and out the same day because of my little baby, and she started talking about her own daughter’s birth. She complained the entire 30 plus minutes I was on board. It had been a horrible experience for her. She ended up having a c-section, her husband was not supportive, the staff was indifferent, she was helpless… I felt her pain.

“I’m sorry this happened to you, but now you have your daughter…” I tried to console her.

—”Yeah,” she exclaimed in a meh kind of tone, and then continued, “but you can see it’s been 23 years and I am still angry about this.” And she continued to vent and rant. 

I soon realized she wanted to be angry… so she was. I honored that and I continued to listen.

I  have learned that sometimes the best way to help someone heal is not through healing words but through healing ears.

And so I decided to be happy I could help her how she wanted to be helped.

Driver #2

His name is Gerald and he spoke of his parent’s painful divorce: he didn’t have a father… or a childhood. He wasn’t angry, though; he had the biggest smile on planet earth as he told me he quit his managerial job to become a driver and this week would be the 30th anniversary. He always wears a tie and he turns his phone off when he is home.

“I knew that I wanted to be the best father, put my family first, and give my children a great childhood. Working for myself has made that possible… and now I can say my two boys have grown to be great fathers themselves.”

And he was obviously passionate about his career:

“I’ve met people of virtually every country and have had the privilege of people opening up to me in such an authentic way… like to a best friend or counselor. I’ve learned more being a driver than in the 4 years I spent in college.”

It was such an uplifting conversation. I especially liked how he spoke of his wife as “his ticket to Heaven.” I’m a hopeful romantic! I honestly didn’t want the ride to end.

What a difference our stories make. It is the meaning we give them that determines whether they make us bitter or better.

the meaning we attach to our stories determines whether they make us bitter or better

Upon reflecting on these experiences, I realized that in life, we will share “the ride” with people in different stages on their journey: kindness is a must, acceptance is a virtue, a relationship is optional.

I know Gerald’s name, I saved his number “in case I ever need his services,” and  he took my business card so he can call me “when he’s ready to write and publish his book.”

While I kindly honor all people where they are at, I only pursue relationships with people who are empowered by their challenges and make sweet tasting lemonade out of painfully sour lemons. What about YOU?

Elayna is a single mom of 4, award-winning Storyteller, Story Strategist, and Student of Pain. She’s a bestselling author, internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, and 4x TEDx speaker. Founder of the Positive MOM® and creator of the S.T.O.R.Y. System: a blueprint to craft and share powerful stories that will transform your results, so you can have the wealth, opportunities, and freedom you deserve. Connect with Elayna Fernández at thepositivemom.com/keynote-speaker and follow @thepositivemom. To receive a gift from Elayna, click HERE.

Be Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna FernandBe Positive and You Will Be Powerful ~ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOMez ~ The Positive MOM
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Monday 30th of June 2014

Positivity is a very powerful thing. Your outlook will greatly impact your chances of success.

Crystal Green

Monday 30th of June 2014

I loved this post because I love learning from other people's experiences and hearing their stories a lot. I use to soak up listening to the elderly share their life lessons with me. You're right the way that we share them do tend to a make difference. I love how you used your "healing ears." My husband uses his "healing ears" quite often. (By the way, I'm snagging that quote from you and linking back to you!)

Lexie Lane

Monday 30th of June 2014

Wow! This is all so deep and thought provoking. You're so right though. Sometimes just because you're the person speaking and trying to teach, doesn't mean you know everything. Parents learn from their kids all the time. Life is all about that ... learning.


Monday 30th of June 2014

I am one of those people who can strike up a conversation with virtually anyone and then I just sit back and listen and don't say a word unless they ask me a question. I hope I have helped a couple of them over the years by just being a sounding board!