I confess.  

I am a sucker for inspirational stories about ordinary people who touch the lives of others.  

Recently a video from America’s Got Talent went viral. It spotlighted Mandy Harvey, a deaf women who could sing beautifully.  It was viewed over 16 million times!

She offers three leadership lessons for us all -

She was authentic.  You could feel her nervousness and her willingness to persevere.  There was no pretense about her at all.  That kind of vulnerability draws people in. You cannot help but root for her before she even starts to sing. When leaders choose to be vulnerable, the same thing happens among their teams. The people we lead are not looking for perfection.  They are seeking authenticity.

She had courage to show up.  Imagine the guts it took to stand on that stage and share a very difficult part of her life story with the world.  Even in leadership, sometimes half the battle is choosing to show up.

She made a conscious choice to change her perspective.  Her story of going completely deaf at 18 was riveting.  She almost gave up on her dream of singing because she could no longer hear the music.  Could you even imagine the devastation she felt when she thought her dream had ended?  Heartbreaking.

But she made a decision: to not to give up, no matter what the odds.  (See 1:23 – 1:30 to hear it from Mandy herself).  By making that decision, she changed her perspective … and that changed everything.

When is the last time you felt like giving up?  Maybe it was a relationship with a peer or supplier. Maybe you are facing a decision point about whether or not to give up on the company.  Perhaps it is more personal than that and you are battling thoughts of giving up on someone very important in your life.

We always have a choice to change our perspective.  

Sometimes, life hands us challenges more often than we like.

You may not know that I was born with a significant hearing impairment. I started wearing two hearing aids in the third grade. The simplest of things that so many take for granted have been a significant challenge for me. I remember many times wanting to give up during the years I spent in speech therapy sessions.  I remember feeling very sad and defeated during the many years of my childhood learning to read lips.  I remember feeling embarrassed many times when people made comments about my being a “dumb blonde” because I did not hear something correctly.  

We can – you can - choose victimhood or victory.  It’s your choice.

Early in my life, just like Mandy, I changed my perspective. I chose not to give up.

Surprisingly, my disability had a positive unintended consequence.  It taught me how to hear what people did not say – laying the very foundation for the work I do in inspiring leaders to transform their lives today.  Funny, how life turns out that way ☺

The next time you are faced with a challenging situation, ask yourself: is there a different perspective I can choose?  Never underestimate the power of perspective. Amazing things happen when we choose to see things differently. Just ask Many Harvey and her now 16 million fans.