Recently while I was driving home from my parents home in Mississippi I was listening to Dr. Phil’s new podcast, Phil In The Blank. I have only recently joined the Podcast revolution but now I am hooked and Nick Thomas is now helping me set up my own Podcast. Stay Tuned for the details. I am very excited about it. Last week I heard Dr. Phil interview his friend, Steve Harvey and it was a fascinating interview. Steve was talking about his long journey into stand-up comedy and what he referred to as a “turn back” moment. It was a phrase I had never heard before. What is a turn back moment? It’s that moment when you are pursuing your goal, your dream, your life’s passion and it’s so hard and you feel so beaten up and you are ready to “turn back” and give it all up. It’s that deciding moment when you have to dig in and really fight for what you know you want in your heart, even if everything seems to be going against you. It’s was Steve’s turn back moment that truly launched his career.
Many of you know that over 10 years ago now I was a guest expert on the Dr. Phil Show. I was there because of my Boot Camp for Beauty Queens that I had started after winning Mrs. Tennessee and because I had just been the keynote speaker at the Miss USA pageant. As I listened to Dr. Phil and Steve I really thought about my turn back moments and how it was my competition experience that brought me to that cross roads.
I knew after winning Mrs. Tennessee and traveling all across the state speaking that I wanted to continue to speak. I had “decided” the only way for me to become a speaker on a bigger level was for me to win Mrs. America. It would be the launching pad for my bigger career and life. I did everything in my power to be ready to compete at that national level and went into that event with that goal in mind, to win Mrs. America. I didn’t make the Top Ten. I remember that turn back moment as I walked off that stage in the Soviet Union. Here on an international stage, my dream of being Mrs. America was over and there was no going back. At Mrs. America, you are one and done, you can only compete once. It’s not like an athletic team where you can refocus and go back and win the next year. As I was honestly trying to get my head around my dream ending on that pageant stage, a Russian photographer asked for my autograph. I was confused. Why did he want my autograph? I didn’t win, I wasn’t even in the Top Ten. I simply wrote to him and spoke the words out loud to him, “Follow Your Dreams.” It was the one motto that had gotten me to that competition. This was 1990 and this was the Soviet Union and he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Very hard to do in the Soviet Union.” That one sentence from that stranger was my turn back moment. I suddenly realized that even though I couldn’t follow my dream of speaking through the Mrs. America title, I could follow my dream another way. It was up to me to let that experience defeat me or define me. That was my turn back moment. That was almost 30 years ago and that one decision has changed my life forever. Each turn back moment in our lives gives us that option. Will you let defeat keep you from following your life’s calling or will you let it define you and your future?
Along the way I have had many “turn back” moments and I am sure I will continue to have them. I challenge you to look at the turn back moments in your life. I challenge you to remember this message when you face your next turn back moment. We all face those moments where we can GIVE UP or GO ON! I am choosing to GO ON and I hope you will also.