I am continually amazed at the learning possibilities of life. A well-written book holds clues and insights never imagined before. A new place holds beauty and experiences never imagined before, and new people hold friendships and stories never encountered before.
On a recent business trip I was fortunate to travel to Clearwater/St.Petersburg, Florida. I thought it would hold little surprises for me. I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. While there I was introduced to people who met us with warmth and laughter, while fulfilling their roles as guides to the locale and places I was there to become more familiar with. Each of these people revealed expertise in their chosen fields of work and the properties they were proud to showcase, while making me and my team mates feel welcome and treated as honoured guests. Over the course of that three day trip, I learned I knew nothing of the area I was there to see. I had come with pre-conceived notions. I was wrong. Clearwater, St. Petersburg proved to be an incredibly beautiful destination with fabulous hotels, warm clear waters, wide sandy beaches and friendly, welcoming people.
While there we were introduced to Winter, the dolphin who lost her tail after being ensnared in a fishing trap. The movie, Dolphin Tale, is based on the remarkable story of Winter’s fight for survival and subsequent rise to dolphin stardom at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. After hearing the story and seeing Winter myself, I couldn’t help but reflect how much all of us can learn from animals like Winter and their tenacity for life. Even more fascinating to me though, is the story of the humans who went out of their way to help Winter and make a difference. The resulting rescue and ripple effect of the publication of Winter’s story continues to expand, changing both human and animal lives on a daily basis. In a society hell bent on consumerism and the attainment of surface beauty, the story of Winter, her caretakers, and those who stepped beyond their everyday lives to save a life, this is a much needed reminder of what can be accomplished – if we don’t give up believing in possibilities.
Writing a book is a little like Winter’s story. When a writer sits down to pen a new story, it feels a little like being wrapped up in that fishing trap. The heart of the story is there, it’s just all tangled up in a bunch of other stuff, and if left like that, it’ll die a slow and painful death. But unwrap it, rescue it, breathe life into it, work with it, and rehabilitate it to get it to where it’s whole and shiny, and you’ve accomplished a significant feat of faith and perseverance.
Oh, but then you have to sell it, market it to the world so others can share in the vision, and perhaps impart some value and entertainment. If you are really, really fortunate, your story will resonate with even one reader who will enjoy it enough to recommend it to someone else. If you are fantastically lucky, your story will sell enough to actually help you pay some of your never-ending stream of bills. Kinda like the movie they made of Winter’s story, Dolphin Tale. Because of the movie, the dedication of the entire crew, staff at the aquarium, and the unstinting backing of the people of Clearwater/St. Pete’s, this incredible story has a happy ending. Not only did Winter get her tail, but many other marine wildlife have also been rescued. Not only that, but public awareness of marine rescue and rehabilitation has increased exponentially, and continues to grow daily. On my recent trip our guide, John (an amputee himself), pointed proudly to the beginnings of a new building being constructed directly as a result of the revenue from the movie. The tremendous success of the film, along with the publicity generated, has resulted in enough funds to build a second, larger building to house and care for even more marine life.
This brings me back to the beginning of this post; because of a business trip, I learned more about an area than I ever dreamed I would, I learned that dreaming big and working hard result in outstanding accomplishments (look for my upcoming posts on a new blog site I’m developing with Strategic Incentive Solutions, about the people and places I am fortunate to visit), and that faith, tenacity, and gritty determination really can transform a dream into a reality.