• “ThinkBIG”–It’s Not What You Think

    LPASpeech

    “ThinkBIG” is how Sienna and I autograph each of the children’s books we sign.

    You may think you know what it means, but I have a different twist on it.  I recently explained this when I was able to speak at Speaker’s Night at the Little People of America Conference in San Diego this year.  My overall theme for my speech was “Use Your Challenges to Inspire Change”.

    I wanted to share it with you:

    TBT Sienna

    Sienna is one of my 15-year-old twin daughters.  She has a rare form of Dwarfism called Primordial Dwarfism and a rare brain diagnosis called Dandy Walker.  Combining those with her other medical issues has given her many challenges in her life so far beginning with a 108 day stay in the NICU.   Yet, those challenges don’t keep her down. 

    One of the major things Sienna wants out of life is to make people smile.  She loves to make them laugh.

    She’s a great example of using her challenges to inspire change.

    It is often said that “necessity is the mother of invention”, but I take it a step further.

    I say, “Challenge is the catalyst to change.”

    Life is all about perspective, so if we can shift our thoughts from thinking of our challenges as problems and start thinking of them as purpose, it makes life a lot easier.

    It allows us to take the focus off of ourselves.  Each of us is given circumstances throughout our lives, whether they’re good circumstances or they’re bad circumstances; it’s our duty to use them for the greater good.  And we can do this by using our challenges to inspire change.

    Change is happening all around us.  It happens whether we want it to or not.  Sometimes change is good.  Sometimes change is…not so good.  So, it’s up to each of us to make the changes happen that we want to see happen.  It’s up to us to make changes that are GREAT!

    How do you do that?

    You simply ThinkBIG!

    You might initially think that means to think globally, think tall, or dream big

    Those are great things to think, but what I’m actually saying is…

    THINKBIG2

    “ThinkBIG” is all about reminding you that you were Born to Inspire Greatness.

    You were born to make a difference.  You were born to make a difference no matter what your position is in life, no matter your education level, no matter your financial level…no matter what!  You were born to inspire great things!

    So what great changes can you inspire?

    Here are just a few:

    • Laws
          Wheelchair accessibility is a great example of this.  It just took one person deciding to speak up and say that accessibility needed to be corrected.  They did and it started the ball rolling to a massive change.
    • Mindsets
           The “M-Word” is a great example of this!  Because people decided to speak up about the derogatory way people started to use the “M” word, great progress is being made to educate people about not using that word anymore. 
    • Medicine
           I’ve personally seen great changes done here.  Just in our Primordial Dwarfism community, I’ve seen changes that can come from just one person.  There have been such great changes in medical treatment plans and lives are literally being saved.
    • Hearts
           You can change people’s hearts.  When you exhibit grace, strength and courage when going through your challenges, you inspire and encourage others to do the same when going through their own struggles. 

    Some of the tangible things Sienna and I have done to inspire change are:

    • The Sinny-Sized Series  
           This is a children’s book series that teaches children that what makes them different is what makes them wonderful and exciting.  It teaches them to look for positive spins on perceived problems.
    • The Short Order Chef
           Now that Sienna is 15, she yearns for independence like her twin.  She wanted to begin cooking, yet she knew she didn’t have the strength or the dexterity like the rest of us in her family.  It got her thinking that there were probably other people like her–people who want independence, but have to be a bit more creative when achieving that independence.
    • The Equal Restroom Access for Little People Movement
           This began when I watched Sienna climb, as a 13 year old, on a counter in a public restroom to reach the soap and properly wash her hands.  I was proud of her for being independent, but I noticed two women snickering about her and describing her as an “unruly kid”.  This angered me.  I was mad that my daughter was being looked at as a misbehaving child simply because she wanted to properly wash her hands independently like other 13-year-olds.   So, I started contacting businesses and asking them to add stools to their restrooms or provide lower sinks in newer build-outs.  So far, we’ve had success with companies like The Container Store, DFW Airport, Houston Intercontinental, Hobby Airport, HEB, Nordstrom, Petco Park
      If you want to send a letter to businesses around you, let me know and I’ll happily give you information to give them.  You can also sign the petition that can be used to illustrate to businesses that their customers do indeed want better access.

    You might look at those and think, “Yea, that’s great, Chrissy, but I can’t make changes happen.  I live in a small town…I’m too old…I’m too young…I’m too poor….”

    Bologna!  Remember, YOU ARE BORN TO INSPIRE GREATNESS!  You were born to make a difference no matter what your position is in life, no matter your education level, no matter your financial level…no matter what!  You were born to inspire great things!

    As my friend Ted Rubin, a social marketing strategy guru, says, “Welcome to the Age of Influence.”

    We now live in a time when anyone can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships, and make a difference

    ANYONE!! Thanks to social media, the Internet, easily accessible communications via phone and even overnight mail, we have such tremendous opportunities to spread our message, rally people behind us and inspire change.

    So remember, no matter your size, your finances, your education level, your location, your race, your physical capabilities, your gender…YOU were BORN TO INSPIRE GREATNESS.  The next time you experience a challenge, switch your perspective and find a way to turn your problem into your purpose and use your challenge to inspire change!

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    Comments

    comments

4 Responsesso far.

  1. I didn’t know. For some reason I thought dwarfism was a different medically than “the m word”. And I didn’t realize that it was derogatory (not that I really use the word whether I realized the derogatory connotation or not). Very informative all in all!

    • Chrissy Bernal says:

      Jill, you’re not alone. Most people don’t realize. The “M” word did start as a medical diagnosis much like the “R” word. However, over the years, sadly people have begun using it the same way the R word is used. Thank you for taking the time to read! 🙂

  2. The Domestic Curator says:

    YOU are truly an inspiration!

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