Talayah G. Stovall
“Have you ever had one of those experiences when the light bulb just went off? You thought to yourself, ‘Now, I get it! That was the lesson I was supposed to learn in all of this!'” Light Bulb Moments is a collection of 75 lessons learned through everyday life.
In each chapter, author, life purpose coach and speaker Talayah Stovall shares personal stories and anecdotes to help guide us through life’s ups and downs. Discovering your purpose and passion; developing persistence, hope, patience, faith and forgiveness; setting clear and actionable goals for the future; and understanding the value of friendship and love are among the many treasures found in this wise little book.
Key messages include:
• Your passion can become your livelihood
• Successful people often fail their way to success
• Whatever you don’t control, controls you
• Distinguish between your goals and your wishes or dreams
About the author
Talayah G. Stovall is an author, speaker, trainer and certified life purpose coach. Through her keynotes, workshops, coaching, newsletter, and radio show, Talayah empowers people to use their passion to live their purpose and achieve their personal and professional goals. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing. She is the President of TGrace and Managing Director of Vision Catalyst Consulting. She is also an adjunct instructor of public speaking at Columbia College. Her previous works include Crossing the Threshold, 150 Important Questions You Should Ask Before You Say “I Do,” P.U.M.P. It Up!, and 7 Secrets to Ignite Your Dreams. Her signature coaching and workshop programs include 5 Weeks to Personal Breakthrough and Pen Your Purpose. Talayah has been featured twice in Ebony magazine. She lives in Chicago. Website: www.talayahstovall.com
PREPARE, PERSEVERE, AND IT WILL PASS
“I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
— JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER
Well, it was my bright idea, so I really can’t complain. And it seemed like such a good idea at the time . . .
On a visit to Saint Martin, I took an excursion to a nearby island called Saba. Expecting a lush, tropical paradise, I was surprised to find that there were no beaches, and what they tried to pass off as shopping left much to be desired. It happens that the only real activities on Saba are scuba diving and climbing an extinct volcano. I’ve been scuba diving before, and it was a wonderful experience; however, since I do not know how to swim (at all!), I decided not to push my luck by trying it again. Besides, the nature lover in me was excited about conquering the mountain. It is said that from the top, one can see seven surrounding islands. It sounded like the experience of a lifetime to me.Anyway, the mountain didn’t look very daunting.
As I got out of the van, I decided to lighten my load as much as possible. I began to take out the nonessential items. Figuring that the heavy bottle of water I had would only slow me down, I took one last swig and left it inside the van. Our group of about 16 began to climb the 1,000-plus stairs and winding paths that led to the top of the mountain. Those days when I’d skipped the gym were beginning to show, and it wasn’t long before I yearned for the water I’d left behind. Definitely, this was a lesson about the importance of preparation for a journey.
As we made our way up the mountain, the group began to split up. People started drifting from the friends they’d come with and making new friends along the path. We began bonding—joking with and encouraging each other. As I climbed higher and higher, my own group became smaller and smaller. Some people went on ahead; others dropped out. Soon I found myself traveling with a man whose pace matched mine. We’d forge ahead and then stop to rest, taking pictures and chatting, just to give ourselves an excuse to linger longer.
Soon my new friend decided to head back down, and I had to decide whether to continue on alone or go back, as well. I decided that since I’d come all that way to climb the mountain, I would indeed climb it. I couldn’t stand the thought that I might be close to the top and give up before I got there. So I pressed on, hot, thirsty, and tired, rather than admit defeat.
As I walked on alone, I began to think of the journey we make through life. We start out with friends and loved ones beside us, but at some point our pace no longer matches theirs and we have to go it alone. Sometimes our friends will leave us, and sometimes we must leave them. But if we all keep pressing onward and upward, we’ll make it to the top. Although we feel alone, we know that God is with us, and that gives us the strength to persevere. With that in mind, I had more determination to make it to the top.
I watched, expectantly, hoping to meet someone coming down the mountain so I could ask how much longer I had to travel. At one point, I spotted what I thought was the top of the mountain and was very encouraged, only to realize that what I was looking at was not the top. I couldn’t even see the top yet.
Finally, I met a couple coming back down the path. I asked them how much farther I had to climb. They grinned and the man said, “About ten minutes. You can make it. It’s beautiful up there. We saw all seven islands!”
I thought, I can do it! I walked on a little farther and could finally make out the top of the mountain. I was so excited, until I rounded the bend and noticed that the path led down into a small valley. I stood and looked down the path, feeling very discouraged. For a brief moment, I even considered turning back. I knew that if I went down into the valley, I’d have to climb back up again just to get to my current elevation. Ever heard of a setback? The good thing about setbacks is that they’re temporary. The bad thing is that you’ve still got to go through them. The playwright Edward Albee once wrote,“sometimes it’s necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.” Just when you think you’ve almost achieved your goal—you’ve almost reached the success you seek, you’ve almost got enough money to cover the bills, you’ve almost got that new job or contract—you find yourself in another valley and you have to climb back out all over again. But you can never just quit because you never know how close you might be.
With that in mind, I marched with determination down into the valley and climbed back up the other side. I ran into a few more people on their way back down. I asked them, “How much farther do I have to go?” They said, “Not far. About five minutes. You can do it; you’re almost there!” I believed that I could and pressed on. A friend of mine (who was obviously in better shape than me) was in the group and agreed to go back up with me. I was grateful for the company and the support, and I enjoyed hearing again about the beautiful view that awaited me. God brings the right people into your life at just the right time to encourage you and help you on your journey.
I soon learned that in order to reach the very top, you have to climb the last portion of the mountain by pulling up on a rope. That part was actually quite easy and fun (of course, going back down the rope was another matter entirely). I quickly scrambled up the rope.
I couldn’t wait to see the spectacular view I’d heard so much about. Unfortunately, though, by the time I got to the top of the mountain, clouds had rolled in and visibility was almost zero. I couldn’t see anything more than a few feet in front of my face. I was also expecting there to be a spacious expanse of land at the top. Wrong again. The mountaintop was about as big as my closet, and it looked out at nothing but clouds. Ever been disappointed when you finally got “there” and “there” wasn’t what you thought it was going to be?
I was hot, I was tired, I was thirsty, and I still had to go back down the mountain. At first I was disappointed that reaching the top was not at all what I’d expected. Then I considered the life lessons I’d learned:
• Always prepare for the journey.Get in shape, and don’t leave your water bottle behind.
• Don’t quit. Persevere, even when you have to climb alone.
• March on through the valleys.Sometimes you have to pass through a valley to get to the mountaintop.
Days later, when I could walk normally again, I discovered how much more toned my legs had become as a result of the climb. I was much stronger and in better shape than I’d been before I had climbed the mountain. It was then that I realized yet another lesson:
• Sometimes the reward is not in reaching the mountaintops of life but in the lessons you learn during your journey and the strength you gain from the climb.
Whether we choose our mountains or whether the mountains in our lives appear in front of us, it is up to us to decide how we handle the obstacles that block our paths to success. Don’t be afraid to tackle the mountains!
Excerpted from Light Bulb Moments by Talayah Stovall. It was published by HayHouse (June 2014).