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Ruth Cummings Gombe
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It's Not Too Late...

27 November 2012, 12:11
It's Not Too Late...Ask Dr Tererai Trent!

Here's a thought-provoking midweek message for you. It's not too late! It becomes too late only when YOU shut the lid on your goals. Re-visit your old goals, resolutions, plans, etc and revive the ones you thought you would never achieve. It could be anything - calling family and friends, projects at home, taking up a creative class, studying towards a higher qualification, changing careers, getting into a fitness program, making lifestyle changes, addressing conflicts with family/friends/work colleagues....WE tend to put time limits on our own goals and when that time passes, we decide it's too late.

I am inspired, as I stand in front of different groups to facilitate workshops, and I notice that some of the people are close to retirement age, but that does not stop them from being in that group! I am also inspired when I walk into an exam room and see people whom others would consider 'too old', ready to write the exam and obtain their qualification. I am inspired when I see young and old people doing things they have always wanted to do, dreamt of doing and planned on doing. It's not too late to start NOW!

My most recent inspiration is Dr Tererai Trent, a Zimbabwean woman who defied so many odds, overcame so many obstacles and achieved her goal of getting a doctorate! I have not even faced half of the challenges she did and yet, as I revisit my goals past and present, I realise that most of the challenges that stood in my way could have been overcome with a bit more focus and determination.

For those who don't know of her, she is a living testimony of how hard work, focus and determination can get you where you want to go. Yes, obstacles can get in the way, but the object of obstacles (from an athletics perspective) is for you to get over them and carry on to the finish line. Dr Trent grew up in a rural village in Zimbabwe and her lot in life was housework, field work and then marriage and family. Only boys were sent to school as they were the breadwinners and it was considered a waste to send girls to school. She started learning from her brothers’ books, literally taught herself to read and write and developed a hunger for education.

At the age of 11 - ELEVEN, she was married and by the age of 18, EIGHTEEN, she had 3 children. It was an NGO's visit that started her on her course to change her life. Her mother encouraged her to follow her dreams, so Dr Trent had written down her goals on a piece of paper and put it in a tin, which she buried and would revisit to go through her goals again. One of her goals was to go to America to study and get her PhD. Her husband became abusive with her, and even though he accompanied her (and their 5 children) when she finally went to America, he still abused her until he was deported because of his behaviour. That same year she obtained her Masters and in 2009, her doctorate! On Oprah's show finale, she named her talk with Dr Trent as her most inspirational interview ever! Dr Trent remarried and has dedicated her life to empowering women in rural Zimbabwe to dream big and follow their dreams.

So, I urge you all to think again - read up Dr Tererai Trent's full story if you need further inspiration and motivation to get back on that 'bicycle' and accomplish that goal! It's not too late. One of my favourite tricks I use on some delegates is to play a 'So what??' game when they chat to me about their goals and how they are unable to accomplish them. "I come from a very poor family," they will say. My response? "So what?" And whatever answer they give me, I respond by saying "So what?" until they run out of reasons/excuses and realise that they can find a way of doing it if they really put their minds to it and focus.

Don't let your life pass you by, grab a hold of the reins and get back in the saddle. Please share your inspirational stories with us, we all love to hear a happy ending! :-)

I must, however, add a little cautionary to this encouragement. If your goal involves physical activity like health and fitness programs, please remember to check with your physician to make sure there are no health impediments! Also remember to make sure to check any regulations, legalities, copyrights, legislations, registrations, qualifications, etc that may affect your goals or that you may need to comply with.

Be blessed as you concieve, believe and achieve!

Source: Information on Dr Trent obtained from

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