I keep thinking about Quan Hongchan, the little sliver of a girl from China who won Gold in the Olympics after completing her impeccable platform dives with scores of “10” across the board. She is only 14 years old. The back story is that Quan has a 400-a-day daily dive routine, that her sports competitions are helping to pay for her mother’s chronic health condition after a 2017 accident, and that her preferred snack is latiao—a spicy snack made of wheat flour and chili seasonings.
In short, Quan is a hard worker, is kind and loyal, likes street treats, and has become an inspiration to the world.
While what we do and accomplish define us in some ways, it is who we are, our back story, that holds the gold. I am amazed every day in hearing clients’ stories about the challenges they have experienced and most often the untold heroism that they have lived. A hero doesn’t always get everything right, but their heroism usually looks like not giving up and in rising to the occasion, especially when it comes to being there for others. Most heroes are humble and dependable.
It is important to notice the heroism of others, not only in stories like the young Olympic diver, but in the lives of those around us. Examples of quiet inspiration may be checking us out at the grocery store or sitting next to us in a waiting room.
Once we become interested in the back story, judgment and prejudice and demonizing those who see things differently than we do become irrelevant.
It is important also to find our own heroism now as we wait out the virus and do everything we can possibly do to fight it, whether that is to get vaccinated or wear a mask, or use common sense in gatherings. Hope is not a plan, but it is the fuel that we need to keep moving forward during this part of our own back stories—living through a global pandemic.