Enlightening The World
Founding Partners
Faculty & Associates
Workshops & Institutes
Executive Coaching
Client Comments
Web Links
The Event Horizon: Essays On Our Spiritual Journey
Empowerment Stories
Networking Groups
Paul Houston's Blog: Political pH
Contact Us
Center for Enlightened Leadership

Never Let the Other Shoe Fall
By Kathleen Alfiero

  Kathleen Alfiero

Kathleen Alfiero

My pretty black flats with little bows seemed to float inches off the ground while they carried me down Sunset Boulevard. I had just left a two-hour meeting with Larry, Nigel Lythgoe’s VP of Programming. I was thrilled, yet not totally surprised, that I had landed an unlikely meeting with the Executive Producer of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. I’d expected that I would be successful in my quest to find an enthusiastic producer for my television show and book idea, but I didn’t know who would show up on my path to help me get what I wanted. Larry loved my ideas. So did Nigel.

My journey to L.A. began long before my meeting at 19 Entertainment. I was alone, sitting at my desk having lunch at South Portland High School, when the brilliant idea came to me. The idea to use a multi-media platform to showcase positive stories about the many powerful and transformative relationships that exist in American schools seemed to arrive like a document downloaded into my being. My body forced me to sit still while I enjoyed the pleasant feeling that permeated my cells during the download. It’s often said that the goose bumps we sometimes get are a powerful indication that we’re onto something really good.

For more than 19 years I have enjoyed the privilege of listening to what’s on the minds and in the hearts of high school kids. Colleagues used to tell me that they were impressed that I never seemed to burn out in my job as a substance abuse counselor. They wondered how I managed to move beyond the intensely dramatic and troubling stories of kids’ lives, along with the constant challenges that are a part of everyday life for people who work in schools.

I did get tired during my early years in the job when I wanted kids to stop using those damned drugs more than they did. Fortunately (for me and for the kids), I smartened up. I changed my perception of what was going on and realized that my job was really an easy one. All I had to do to enjoy my work and to be helpful was to remind the kids that they are magnificent. I assured them that their current circumstances and choices were temporary. Who was I to know what their personal journeys were all about? When I (finally) let go of trying to control the impossible, which is anything or anyone outside of myself, my heart lightened up. It was wonderful to be a witness to the incredible emotional growth of young people who had the willingness to explore many different ways in which they could find their true selves.

The kids I knew often spoke fondly about the teachers and other schoolpeople who cared about them. I’m happy to say I was usually on their list, and they were right: every one of them was easy for me to love. I lost sight of any reason or excuse to judge them. I had fun reminding teenagers that their well-being was assured. They could have or do anything they wanted. And, therefore, so could I.

The download complete, I was optimistic about my ideas for this exciting new project. I believed that I was the perfect person to be given the vision to use media to shine a light on the great teachers, bus drivers, administrators, cafeteria workers, and others that our school systems employ. I trusted that I had the gifts and talents to match my dreams. Other than being a public speaker, however, I had zero experience in the media world. I expected someday that would change.

Our expectations and our beliefs are one. Beliefs are just practiced thoughts.

We have a choice about what we think. That’s sometimes my greatest challenge. Siphoning out those doubts from my busy head and replacing them with thoughts that make my heart sing can feel like such an unending task. We all have our positive beliefs and expectations trained out of us by people who mean well. Parents, teachers, friends, and even strangers who forget that we came here to experience joy absolutely do have the power to influence us negatively. If we are not aligned with who we really are, we live uncomfortably in the gap where doubts and worries reside while we are on our way to our more natural state: feeling good about ourselves.

I noticed that the kids’ list of caring people included some friends of mine. They were the people I was attracted to. Generally, they seemed to be happy and well. They were the men and women who are the positive leaders in our schools. They inspire us to be happy too. Their stories must be told.

Well-being is the predominant force in the universe. The first time I heard this statement, I felt as if I had just come home. I love knowing that I am the creator of my own life. And thank goodness for that, because there are enough nay-sayers who expect the worst and believe that others are to blame for everything bad that’s happening to them. I’ve met these people when I am where they are. They are not responsible for my problems, but I’ve blamed them many times. It feels awful to blame others while I give them the responsibility for my happiness. I know better now. My new declaration is, as I choose to live in the moment, that I vow to change my thinking if I notice that I am feeling like a victim.

I am still on my path to bringing these important people’s stories out into the world. After my meeting in L.A., I was told to get back to Nigel in the future because his shows had been picked up in Europe and it wasn’t the right time for him to work with me. My translation of this: I was allowing my doubts and concerns about whether I was the best host for my show to creep into the picture. Interestingly, I became aware of another belief that I had long held: I feared, and therefore expected, the criticisms that would come my way if I dared to be on television. I don’t worry about this anymore. It will all be okay and unfold perfectly! I am not in a hurry as I work on my project because I trust that my dreams will come true—and it’s such a fun process full of wonderful supporters and exciting surprises. One day when my show is on the air, I trust that I will just feel as happy as I do now doing what it takes to make this creation come to life.

A phrase I hear often from those who expect the worst to happen is, “I’m waiting for the other shoe to fall.” The shoes I wore to my meeting in L.A. are still in my closet. They will never fall. I keep them to remind me that all is well.

When I think back to my pretty black flats, I trust that this time, when the other shoe falls, it will land on solid ground. I will see that my dreams have come true.

Center for Empowered Leadership ®
Email: info@cfel.org
Phone: 1.609.259.7911