On 3/1 I had the great pleasure of hearing Ingrid Vanderveldt (@ontheroadwithiv) speak about making the Impossible possible.

It’s almost all about your perception of yourself and your life.

She told a great story about how when she was growing up she was forced to go to a “special” school because her teachers believed she was developmentally challenged.

To get to that school she rode in a “special” bus all by herself. Since one child on one bus was gumming up the works, she ended up being given a “special” parking spot.

So she here she was going to a “special” school on her “special” bus that parked in a “special” spot and young Ingrid thought to herself: “Wow. Look at all this ‘special’ stuff I get. I really must be  Special!”

She could have taken it to mean she was capable of less, but instead she took it to mean she was capable of more.

And boy howdy was she right. After starting a few companies and hosting a prime time TV show, she’s leveraging her position as Dell’s Entrepreneur in Residence to empower 1 BILLION women by 2020.

That learning disorder? Partial deafness. Certainly nothing to scoff at but definitely much less severe that the teachers had believed.

But much more crippling than the deafness was the “special” title she’d been given. A title that makes most folks feel awkward, out of place, or even ashamed.

It’s hard to overcome a title like that. You start holding yourself to that standard, believing that is who you are.

You may end up being the same person in the end, but first you have to spend a great deal of time breaking out of that chrysalis that you began to believe was your final shape.

Ingrid’s story is inspiring not because of her success but because of how she dealt with her perception of herself and her life.

It’s always easier to believe we fit into the mold someone else has used to describe us. Our challenge in life is to remember that much like the Tao, that which can be described is not us.

We have infinite potential and our lives are full of infinite possibilities. And regardless of what anyone says or thinks about us we are the only ones who can ever know or describe what we are fully capable of.

The question we must answer is whether we will choose to perceive ourselves as  others describe us or as the people we know we are.

Because in the end it all boils down to this: our perception IS our reality. And every moment of every day we choose whether to accept both as they are or change them into what we want them to be.

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