Three years ago during the Winter Olympics, NBC ran a story on Alex Bilodeau, a Canadian freestyle skier. From the beginning of the piece, Alex talks about his brother, Frédéric.
My brother, he’s my ground. His everyday life brings me to reality.” Alex Bilodeau
Ten thousand tear drops later, I finished the clip. And then replayed it. Again and again. For the first time, someone put into words what I had been trying to say for years. Alex shared that same source of motivation that fires me every single day.
That source? Our siblings.
Frédéric's spirit and happiness in life reminded me of my oldest sister, Christina.
Last year, my co-worker asked if I would be willing to share Christina's story with our viewers. Before we shot a frame of video, I sent her Alex and Frédéric's story. (If you haven't seen my sister's story, here's the link.)
Everyone goes towards Frédéric and says how Frédéric inspired them. The story inspired them way more than the performance of the medal.” - Alex Bilodeau
For those of us who grew up with siblings with disabilities, we are a direct result of their influence on us. At our most influential ages, our brothers and sisters wove life's most important lessons straight into our DNA.
I believe in the end everything we accomplish becomes a tribute to them. Our stories start with their story.
Book of the Week: The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee
"Ellen, I love how you're always singing and so happy," our studio camera technician told me last week as we did our live cut-in for CBS This Morning.
While I'll take that compliment, it's not completely accurate. I'm not always happy. I definitely have bad days when I can't kick my own grumpiness. Come on! Life is messy and I'm a perfectionist - those two factors don't mix so well.
But I can see why my co-workers believe I'm harboring some secret to happiness because I admit - I'm a glass half full kind of gal. An eternal optimist who believes in happily ever afters.
And you know why? Because I choose to be happy.
You are as happy as you make up your mind to be." - Abraham Lincoln
So why would someone who seems genetically programed to be happy read a book about achieving additional happiness? Because I'm a perfectionist. Did you miss that part up above?
And here's the thing, reading The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee helped me understand that what makes me happy might not be what makes you happy.
But I'm not you. And what makes me happy might not make you happy.
Yes, some general practices apply like choosing happiness and being grateful for even the smallest joys in your life (i.e. blasting country music on your drive to work or eating a Kit-Kat in the middle of a newscast).
But you might not get the same thrill from organizing your bathroom cabinets that I do.
So find your own happiness. Don't settle for a mundane life. Figure out your happiness style and embrace it. (Here's a link to the author's happiness style assessment.)
You have passions, you have talents, and you have something to contribute to this world. We need your contributions. Don't let your discontentment with life today stop you from finding your happily ever after.