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- Overcome to $uccess
By Forbes Riley
You are the sum of the obstacles you overcome: If you are lucky to live long enough, you’re likely to go through some pretty bad stuff, whether it’s the death of loved ones, losing all of your money or possessions, sickness and injuries, and other traumatic events. At best, you find that you come out of it—you’ve lived through some horrible circumstances or even seemingly improbable near-death experiences, and you discover yourself on the other side of it. You also realize that some people don’t make it through similar circumstances, literally, by not escaping death or succumbing to suicide, but here you are, you made it through.
The powerful thing about living through the horrible times isn’t just in the survival. I have learned that when you come through a personal tragedy, you come through different. Life is never about what happens to you; instead it is about how you choose to handle the hand you’ve been dealt. Under the same circumstances handed to two different people, one shuts down, wallows in self-pity, succumbs to fear, and uses their hardships as an excuse, while the other takes the challenge head-on, gets up, pushes back, and uses their forcefulness in pain as their entire motivation to persevere with all their might—and may come out on the other end as a multi-millionaire.
It isn’t only about the single obstacle, either—how you show up and respond during the most gut-wrenching times of your life seems to add up.The more you succumb to fear, the further you seem to sink; whereas the more you handle your trials with a sense of perseverance and grace, the more powerful and successful you tend to become. This might also lend to building wisdom, helping you avoid some pitfalls while also helping you build an arsenal of skills to better deal with the next heartbreak coming your way.
This is a reoccurring lesson in my life that has ultimately lead me to build several highly successful businesses from my acting career, become the two billion dollar TV host, a world-traveled keynote speaker and professional coach and, most importantly, an incredibly proud mom to a pair of amazing twins. I’ve overcome everything from the death of both of my parents within a short period of time of one another, several near-death experiences including the 9/11 disaster, the murder of my husband’s younger brother Dexter, the sudden death of one of my business partners, and many other lesser traumas and trials. When going through each of these experiences, they were all uniquely horrific. However, I got through them—stronger, wiser, and more determined than ever to succeed and persevere.
Leap and the net will appear. There’s a joke among magicians—a young boy goes to his parents, who are both doctors, and he asks them what they think he should be when he grows up. His parents tell him,”Well, son, you should be a magician.”Said no parent ever. As parents, we want more than anything for our children to feel safe and to be safe, and too often that can result in us giving horrible advice such as, “Honey, it’s okay if you want to follow your dream to be a rockstar, but you should have a Plan B in case that doesn’t work out. Why don’t you go to school to become an accountant?” As though this child who dreams of being a rockstar should be perfectly happy as an accountant. I get it—the parents are thinking, well at least it’s safe. He can get a secure job with benefits, develop a respectable skill that is widely needed, and so on.
But I ask you, how safe are you if you never dare to live your dreams? You’re not safe from depression, stagnation, dissatisfaction, or regret. I promise you that those are serious problems that can fester and grow until they turn a person bitter and angry, causing havoc in relationships with family, friends, and at work. Also, what is a “secure job?” People get fired and laid off all the time. That seems to be a false sense of security if you ask me.
In my opinion, not only should you not have a Plan B, but Plan Bs are dangerous, can lead to self-sabotage at worst, and at best can be serious distractions from allowing you to ever create the life of your dreams or to live your fullest potential. If you never take risks, always attempt to “play it safe,”and fail to dedicate yourself to your passion, or at least your insatiable curiosity, I think that you cheat yourself by failing to live life fully. It just doesn’t make sense to me that you wouldn’t live out your dream—this is your life right now, and now is all you have for sure, so go out and give your dream 100 percent of your effort. And if you have a Plan B, throw it out because if you spend any time at all on your Plan B you cannot possibly give 100 per cent to your passion, and less than 100 per cent is not good enough. You’re better than that, and you deserve better than that.
If you worry about the net and don’t take the leap, nothing great is likely to happen. But if you go out, say this is what I want and I’m going to get it no matter what, and you take that leap—that’s when dreams start to manifest. Knowing what you want is critical, too. I have a philosophy that if most people were to get one chance to stand before a genie to have one wish granted, they wouldn’t know what to ask for, and that’s because most people have no idea what they really want. If you don’t know what you want, go figure it out. Dare to be bold, claim your passion, then go out and get it. This magical thing happens when you are crystal clear about what you want—the how to get it starts coming into focus, and you see opportunities and blessings everywhere.That’s not to say that it’s an easy road, but it’s a clear path. You’ll come upon obstacles, you’ll get knocked down, and you’ll even screw up—maybe even a lot—along the way. But if you continue to show up every day and do your part to fulfill your dream, you’ll find that what you need will just be before you—the tools, resources, and opportunities just show up. The net appears.
In my life I leap and take risks all the time, and I’m not only more secure financially and otherwise than many people, but I know I look forward to always having more opportunities to leap. In fact, I live for those opportunities. My family’s financial livelihood depends on my embracing these moments with everything I have. My personal security is realized by forever leaping. I’ve never had a “job” in my life—for me jobs are always ending: a movie, a TV show, an infomercial, a speaking gig, coaching retainers—these all come in finite intervals, and they are all scheduled to end on purpose. I am always out of a job and starting anew, and leaping. Through it all, one thing I can tell you for sure is that life’s not long enough to have a Plan B.
How you do something is how you do everything. People think that they can lie to other people and to themselves about who they are and how they go about their lives. If you are a neat and organized person, your life will be neat and organized. If you are a mess, your life will be a mess. But, it goes deeper than that. You can tell a lot about a person by noticing how they do car, how their clothes are put together, the shape of their nails and hair, how they write an email, how they speak and the words they choose, whether or not they follow through on promises, if they make excuses, complain, or are argumentative and contrary, or if they seek out ways to find common ground, solutions, and cooperate with others. These are all powerful tales about a person. Beyond being able to decipher if a person is messy or organized, it also says a lot about integrity. Does what they say match what you see?
There are two other well-known phrases that relate to this:
“If you want to know a person, pay attention to what he does
and ignore what he says.”
“When people show you who they are, believe them.”
This concept is not only about deciphering the motivations of other people, but also of ourselves. “How you do something is how you do everything” is an important tool for personal checks and balances. Ask Yourself/’Are my behaviors and habits consistent with the person I am?” If yes, great. If no, it’s time to take inventory of your life and priorities and get your act back together. Be honest in all you do, and be mindful of dishonesty from others. We can all have moments of discombobulation, missteps, mistakes, and mishaps. However, it is our actions and behaviors that truly define who we are from every level of our existence. Clean out that closet, commit to keeping your car organized and maintained, seek out opportunities to be playful with others, and to find ways to come together as a team when you’re faced with opposing views. At every level, be authentic and live a life of personal integrity.
Each of these bits of wisdom I have learned, reinforced, and relearned time and time again through the very first one: “You are the sum of the obstacles you overcome.” Wisdom is not about knowledge so much as it is about continuous application and depth of knowledge. The most important lessons in life, I believe, is that you are required to learn them more than once, and then the lessons learned hit a deeper cord each time. The more fully you live, the more obstacles you overcome, and the more hardship you push through, the more leaps of faith you take to live the life of your dreams, the greater your depth and personal accountability towards integrity, and how you go about doing everything in your life, then the richer your life will become. My greatest gifts by far in all of my life are my son and daughter twins, Ryker and Makenna, and they are also my greatest teachers.Through them, every day, I am reminded of all I have learned in my life and also of how much I can still learn, love, and live. No matter how much professional and financial success I may achieve in this world, nothing beats that. Give more than you take, fake it till you make it, and enjoy this journey called life as it’s a shorter rollercoaster than you imagine!
“You are the sum of the obstacles you overcome,” Forbes frequently says as she turns her dreams into reality time and again. From launching her career as an actress on Broadway, film, and television to launching her own fitness and health empire and film and production studio, Forbes is committed to manifesting dreams.
Riley is recognized internationally as an award-winning two billion dollar TV host, spokesperson, celebrity fitness and lifestyle expert, professional coach, keynote speaker, actress, and author. She brings forth a clear message to empower people to dream bigger and bolder, and to work to achieve their dreams.
Forbes lives her mission that health and fitness is a lifestyle and not a fad. While she is considered a wild success in her professional career paths, she counts her greatest success of all to be her family. Forbes is the very proud mother of boy and girl twins, Ryker and Makenna, whom Forbes raises with her husband and business partner,Tom Riley, in their bi-coastal homes in St. Petersburg, FL and Los Angeles, CA.