I’ve gotten into the habit recently of listening to podcasts. What is a podcast? Wikipedia defines it as, “a digital audio file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.” In simple terms – the way I understand – podcasts are radio-style shows that you can access and listen to via your computer, tablet, or smart phone. I was unfamiliar with podcasts until the Federation hosted an event in 2018 featuring a live show of the popular podcast – Israel Story. It took several younger members of the Federation staff to explain the concept to me. And now, I can’t stop listening.
A few weeks ago, I was on my morning commute from St. Petersburg to Federation headquarters in Largo, and was listening to a podcast called, Rise & Shine with Adrienne Gold Davis. The topic of discussion was how to uncover your superpowers and I was totally intrigued with the concept that, perhaps unbeknownst to us, we all possess superpowers. We just need to learn how to engage them and make the powers work for us.
In the episode she spoke about actor Christopher Reeve, who we all knew best from his role as Superman. Superman, the fictional character, certainly possesses superpowers – “Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!” But Christopher Reeve, the man beneath the cape, only revealed his superpowers years later, when the cape came off and he suffered a tragic, debilitating spinal cord injury from an accident while in an equestrian competition. He was paralyzed from the neck down, forced to live the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
That is when Mr. Reeve’s true superpowers began. He began using powers for his recuperation that he never dreamed he had. He harnessed powers from his celebrity to bring awareness to the cause of spinal cord injuries. His activism and selfless commitment helped thousands of others who have suffered similar tragedies. Sadly, Mr. Reeve died in October of 2004 at the age of 52. His legacy will be his activism and public service that will endure long after his role as the Man of Steel.
In Greek mythology (though I heard it was a Jewish proverb) there is a story of Atlas begging Zeus for mercy. He did not ask for the King of Olympus to lighten the weight of the world; he asked him to make his shoulders broader to be able to carry the heavy world better.
I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.
While I am not sure if this is from the Atlas mythos or a Jewish proverb, this adage is helping me refocus my energies toward things I can change, especially in the face of adversity.
Each of us faces personal tragedy in some form. Loss of a loved one. Ending of romantic relationships. Financial disaster. Debilitating illness. Our powers come out in how we deal with the problem. We all have the ability to be a superhero.
In my role at Federation, I realize that the road ahead is full of obstacles. The world is suffering, and this will undoubtedly trickle down and throw some curveballs into the way we have been doing business. However, these challenges can be overcome with hard work, determination, and faith.
Personally and professionally, I know that I am growing more now than I have ever, and that is because of the challenges that I am coming up against. Adversity and challenge will always a be a better teacher than placidity and plenty. And I know I will come out a different; more skilled, more resilient person because of it.
Please feel free to reach out to me at the Federation office, on social media, or email – email@example.com.