A few weekends ago my older son Jack played his end of season ice hockey tournament. Post game, one of his teammates asked if he was going to try out for the “elite” travel team. “Of course,” said my son. With a crooked grin, the boy retorted, “Why would you do that? You won’t make it!” Jack replied, “Whatever you put your mind to you can do. Anything is possible.”
With TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat only a few days away (where I will be pouring my heart, soul and journey into a 12-minute talk to offer inspiration and guidance to my audience), I find myself filled with gratitude for being invited to speak this year. And reflecting upon the road travelled to get to where I am today.
An integral part of my journey is something that most people don’t know. Interestingly, standardized tests are not my thing however I am an above average student. Knowing darn well that I would never get acceptable grades on the boards to attend Teacher’s College, Columbia University (the only nutrition program that resonated with my very specific goals and objectives), I assembled a press kit defining the vision for my work and scheduled a meeting with the head of the Nutrition and Education Department.
After stating my case (and making it super clear that I would likely crash and burn on the GREs), Dr. Isobel Contento, a petite and remarkably assertive woman said, “Surely you will do fine on your tests. Don’t worry.” Evidently she didn’t fully process what I knew. So when I called in hysterics, results in hand, to plead my case that Columbia University needed to strongly consider my application regardless of my horrific test scores, this mighty woman (after she let me rant for a few minutes) said, “Stefanie, take a deep breath. You have been accepted. We don’t just look at test scores when considering students.” Likely one of the happiest moments of my life and confirmation that anything is possible.
My journey is not unlike many others. If you want something badly enough, you go and get it! In fact, while watching The Voice with Jack just the other night, a young girl whose audition three years ago was met with rejection refused to take “no” for an answer. Although discouraged, she devoted herself to her art and came back this year for another try—and made it!
Anything you truly want is worth fighting for, no matter the obstacles. And this is something my boys are taught everyday. Because food is my thing, I see triumph daily whether it’s people with illness who devote themselves to changing the way they eat to support their health or the farmer and farming advocate who know that sustainability is possible and tirelessly work to help others understand and practice similarly.
So back to my TEDx talk—What The Fork Are You Eating? Small Changes in Food Choice Make Big Everyday Differences (if you can’t attend, livestream or join/host a viewing party). In a nutshell it’s about possibilities. And I will leave it at that and urge you to tune it.
And as I reflect, I ask that you do the same. What is your impossible? And can you make it possible?
Stirring the Pot is back with 2 new shows per month on WPPB 88.3 FM so don’t forget to tune in Thursdays at 5:30pm (with an encore Saturdays at 7am). This week it’s Where Do You Get Your Dietary Advice with Robyn Obrien and surely check out the Weekly Yum Recipe.