The Invincible Strength of the Human Spirit

I'm struggling to put into words what I've experienced in the past 24 hours...

I'm in California this week.  Yesterday, I had the honor of presenting a keynote address at the 2019 CalWorks Conference. CalWorks is an organization committed to lifting California families out of poverty through education.  There were more than 400 people in the room, representing Community Colleges, County services, and students who are using the program to radically change their lives for the better.

It's impossible for me to imagine what it would be like to grow up with both parents incarcerated.  Or to survive domestic violence. Or human trafficking. Or to be a single mom trying to get by on welfare while going to school and working all day.  The odds of making it through these kinds of challenges seemed almost insurmountable.

Until yesterday...

Yesterday, I saw the invincible strength of the human spirit.  I saw people with hopes, dreams, courage and vision who found the strength inside them to rise to a new possibility.  And I met a brigade of purpose-driven professionals who devote their lives to helping people make extraordinary changes in their lives.  

With each encounter, I thought to myself... "This is how we heal the world."

What if every hardship and every challenge brings with it a hidden gift that can only be received if we have the courage to rise to it?

What if we refuse to step into the label of "victim" and choose instead to lead the way as "survivors" and "thrivers"?

What if we recognize that there is nothing the human spirit cannot overcome...  if only we are willing to reach out for help when we need it, and pay it forward when we can?

Share your comments in our What If UP Online Community this week as I share a special "California edition" of "What If Wednesday." This week, we explore the incredible resilience of the human spirit and how we can tap into it when we feel we've reached the end of our rope.

I've shared some stories, highlights and insights from my week (including the inspiring theft of my suitcase!). Plus, I invite YOU to share your own possibilities for beating the odds and using each experience to rise to new heights.

Kurt Hahn once wrote: 
“There is more in us than we know. If we could be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.”

May today be a reminder for you of the strength that is within you, the resources that surround you, and the future that awaits you.

Happy "What If" Wednesday!
Mendhi Audlin
Author of "What If It All Goes RIGHT?"

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