What I learned from Kathie Lee Gifford today

 I don't know a lot about Kathie Lee Gifford. If I had any assumption about her, it would be that she could "write her own ticket." She's accomplished, wealthy, a generous philanthropist, she’s overcome personal and professional scandals. I would have assumed she could do whatever she wanted at the click of her ridiculously high heels. If I had a second assumption, it would be that she's basically chilling until retirement. After a lot of hard work she has a nice job and can generally relax and enjoy.

But then I saw an article about how Kathie Lee wrote and composed the lyrics for a play called "Saving Aimee." Aimee Semple McPherson was a Christian woman who led massive revivals in the 1920s. The play follows her life as a "superstar evangelist" through her tragic "fall from grace." It opened last Thursday in Seattle.

Kathie Lee is interesting. Aimee Semple McPherson sounds fascinating. But as I read the article, what stood out to me was not the women and not the production, but the fact that Kathie Lee has been working on this for ten years. 10 years.

This woman – who I think of as having all the money and media connections you would need to put together a major musical – has been working on this for 10 YEARS.  She has written and re-written. Explored ways to bring the story to the stage. She’s had setbacks. She’s lost opportunities. And yet she persevered to see it open last week.

If I didn't read the back-story, I would have assumed she was the patron of the play, and that she pulled a bunch of strings and got it on stage. Easy for her, right?

My dreams As I think about the dreams I have for my life, I never envision working ten years (or more) to get from idea to reality. The dream itself may be 10 years away, but I think it will magically appear when I get there.

It's not a new lesson, but it is worthwhile to repeat it: most dreams aren’t easy and they don’t come quickly. They are made up of lots of little steps that don’t always make sense and make you want to quit. While they can be richly rewarding, at the very same time they can be painful and exhausting.

What we can learn from Kathie Lee Gifford:

  • Dreams are hard work – for everyone. Your dreams may take a lot longer than you think they should. Whether it’s looking for a new job or writing a play, you have to be committed because it may not be easy.
  • Never stop dreaming. While I thought she was resting on her laurels until retirement, here she was pouring blood, sweat and tears into this production, to make her dream come true. I can only hope I have that much determination when I’m her age.
  • People are usually working really hard to make things look easy.

What are you willing to work on for 10 years?