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motivational speaking

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The Power of Showing Up

Showing up. Take a moment to think about these two words.

Think of the number of times you showed up to things, events, meetings.. today.

Think of the number of times you showed up when you were feeling great and it was easy.

Then think of the number of times when the thought of showing up was hard, let alone doing the action of showing up itself. 


On November 1st I showed up and I proudly did so. As you may know i've struggled with severe arthritis for a number of years. I have great days and bad days. The "bad" days seem to be increasing lately and for a while I let it be a barrier to having me show up to things. But yesterday I wanted to show up to support the Jordanian American Association of DC (as I am part of the Executive Committee) to hear from an inspiring speaker, Dr. Julia Nesheiwat.  But I knew I couldn't go in flats or heels because of the arthritis in my feet. 

I was nervous about showing up to the IMF (a large prestigious organization) in my tennis shoes when I knew everyone would be in their heels. I was nervous about looking odd and was trying hard to find something professional to wear with my tennis shoes. As my nerves started building up, my frustration toward my arthritis that attacked my feet increased. I started asking God, why is it in my feet? What is it so hard to do daily simple things such as walking?  

But then I had a sudden shift in mindset. I asked myself to list the things that I can do.
  1. I know I can walk for a couple of minutes in my tennis shoes so that means I can take an Uber to the IMF.
  2. I can sit for 2 hours so that means I can attend the talk.
  3. I can speak so that means I can participate in the meeting.
  4. Finally and most importantly, I can still smile so I can do all the above while still smiling. Listing out these things made me realize how much I CAN do and it felt awesome. 

 

I said so what if I had to go with my tennis shoes. What matters is I had the courage to show up and be there. To not let a challenge over take me but to make the most of it. I happily showed up and left yesterday's meeting feeling empowered by listening to Dr. Julia's talk about her life of reinventing herself in her career that took her in unexpected journeys, and about her commitment to enriching people's lives. But what I really walked away with from her was her unapologetic attitude of her being her and of her showing up during the highs and lows of her work. Of her being comfortable in her own skin even if she was the only woman or the youngest person in the room or whatever other characteristic. She owned it and used her time and skills for something larger than herself. 

jaadc julia.jpg

I hope to use her example as a reminder to myself to keep on serving others, living towards something bigger than myself and to keep on showing up. 

With Love,

Aida 

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Resilience

Every person you know is going through a challenge, including yourself. Some of those people are leaders and others are not. The difference between these two categories i've noticed is the individuals response to their own life challenges which ultimately links back to their level of resilience.

Today I am a social entrepreneur, artist, motivational speaker and food critic not because I planned to be but because I needed them as a way to stay resilient. Many of you who have read my previous posts know I was diagnosed with arthritis in 2011. This diagnosis shook my world and broke me.. for a time period. But I quickly learnt that life is not waiting for me to get up, it will move on with or without me. Knowing this in a sense empowered me to get my act together and reinvent myself in a way I thought was impossible.

Photo by Megan Won 

Photo by Megan Won 

In every challenge life has thrown me I have reinvented myself and learnt how to fly rather than drown. Here are a few examples that I hope inspire you to fly higher when faced with your own life challenges:

Why I became a social entrepreneur?

Problem: Gender inequality is no new concept and is certainly far from over. When I first launched my full career as a 21 year old I unfortunately faced it intensely. I was fed up with this and said I need to do something.

Turning "bad" into beautiful: I co-founded a social enterprise in Jordan that provided women with an avenue to independent cash generation.

At one of the launch's of my start-up Yours & Mine in Jordan

At one of the launch's of my start-up Yours & Mine in Jordan

Why I became an artist?

Problem: I lost my ability to use my hands easily and currently have permanent damage due to bone erosion from arthritis in my left hand.

Turning "bad" into beautiful: Celebrated my semi-functioning hands with finger-painting. Since I started painting 2 years I ago I have had 2 art exhibits in Washington DC (one that is currently ongoing at Artomatic, come visit me in room 8414!). I've not only sold pieces but I've most importantly sent out the message that even if you have a disability you can create beautiful pieces of art.

hand pic painting.jpg

Why I became a motivational speaker?

Problem: Arthritis stripped me away from daily activities in my senior year, a year that is supposed to be the prime of youth. This caused me to face depression at such a young age and face strong internal battles.

Turning "bad" into beautiful: Recovering from these battles was not easy and it needed constant mental training and finding paths of inspiration. I decided to share my story as a way of healing and helping inspire others along the way. Today I have had over 14,000 views online and delivered speeches to over 2,500 people, a blessing I pray to never take for granted.

Why I became a food critic?

Problem: Having arthritis forced me to become gluten-free and as a pizza, pasta and bread loving girl this was hard.

Turning "bad" into beautiful: I became a writing contributor for the Hungry Lobbyist to review restaurants with a gluten-free perspective. This has allowed me to celebrate my love for food and dining to a whole new awesome level. I also help bring awareness to the need of gluten-free friendly restaurants for all my gluten-free friends who became gluten-free not out of pure fun!

Overall I’ve realized that life may or may not get easier but I know that one thing will remain the same – my resilience and reinvention. I am currently working on a few exciting projects that will be launched soon that will take my reinvention a step higher. I hope you join me in this process of reinvention – God knows an individual with a strong supporting community grows and heals much quicker!

Have a story you want to share on your resilence and reinvention? Then share it with me through my contact page on my website or email me at aidamurad@gmail.com

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