Recently, I have been fascinated again by the brilliance of the sunsets we enjoy living on the prairies. Sitting on my backyard deck, I frequently drink in the beautiful array of colour that lights the sky as the sun slowly goes down on the horizon. It reminds me of the beauty that emanates from a person who has come to know and love who they are and embraces their uniqueness daily. You and I are created to shine everyday and light up someone else’s life. It is not something we should try to do, but simply a by-product of resting in the unique purpose in our life and seeking to live that fully.

Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook and author of “Lean In”  said in her commencement speech earlier in 2016 to a class of graduates at the University of California, Berkeley. She was talking to them aboutShine everyday! the lessons she learned in death – the recent death of her husband, that is.  As I read her speech, I found myself reflecting on some of the things she described as part of the shock and process of grief. I, too, lost a spouse to death , became  widowed at a young age, and found myself learning so much in the process, about myself and  other people.  Many times, circumstances of life try to take us off course and threaten to destroy our personhood. And, if we let them, they will. Disappointments of all kinds have a way of draining our energy and speaking words of doubt, trying to convince us “Its no use, just give up.”  But don’t listen to those words. They are only expressions of momentary disillusionment that cloud the truth and reality of who you really are.

You may have heard it said before that “it is not what happens to you, its what you do with what happens to you that matters.” The truth is YOU WERE MEANT to SHINE!! In every season and in every circumstance, you have a choice in how you will move forward and this will either add value to your life and those around you, or takeaway.  I am not saying to live in denial or pretension. I am saying that after every night, there comes a morning. After every sunset, eventually comes a brilliant sunrise!

As Sandberg said in her speech, “the seeds of resilience are planted in the way we process the negative events in our lives.”  As you learn to process disappointment and pain with an eye for growth and gratitude, you will find yourself shining in every season of life.

This often comes down to understanding of how precious every single day is and choosing to savour the moments as if they were the last minutes of your life , or someone else’s close to you.  Whatever else you do on the earth, know that you were meant to shine everyday, so embrace life fully !!


Lisa Vanderkwaak.  is a Best -Selling Author, Speaker, Executive Speaking Coach, and believes in embracing life fully and living your uniqueness with freedom and joy!


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