A few months ago, I took a class called "Car Care for Women". It was taught by Karen Valenti who owns North Hollywood Discount Auto Service. We all brought our cars and she taught us how to check the oil, check the coolant, check the transmission fluid and brake fluid, check the power steering fluid and how to check the condition of belts, hoses and tires. According to Karen, when you take your car to a mechanic, you should be telling them what needs to be done to your car, not the other way around. And I have to admit – it is empowering to know when my tires need to be rotated, when my transmission needs to be serviced and when I really need to replace my air filter. I’m not at the mercy of some kid at Jiffy Lube just trying to make some extra commission selling me stuff I don’t need.
Karen knows cars and she’s a successful business owner. But that wasn’t always the case. She came into some money a few years ago, and spent it buying the garage for her then-husband. When their marriage didn’t work out, she kept the garage. She knew how to do a few things, like oil changes and muffler repairs. So she did that during the day and took classes to learn the rest at night. Now she teaches her Car Care for Women class each month and encourages her students to call her with any questions and even to return and re-take her class for free. She’s empowering women in an area where women are traditionally pretty powerless and are often taken advantage of.
And this is the kind of story we all find most inspiring, isn’t it? The ones where life hands someone lemons and they make lemonade.
It’s easy to get bogged down and feel jealous of the good fortune of others around us, but the truth is that everyone has hardships to endure. Everyone who enjoys success overcame some obstacle or hardship. What happened to you yesterday or last month or last year or ten years ago only matters in that it helped shape the person you are today. Maybe you learned patience. Or compassion. Or you learned how to keep a cool head in a hectic situation. You learned something that helps you everyday.
You can’t change what happened in your past. But you can take the tools from your troubled times and use them to build a brighter future and make some lemonade. Write in inspiring story for your life. A story you can be proud to tell.