Elizabeth Knox Online

 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?



2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “What I learned from Kathie Lee Gifford today”

  • Mark

    June 9, 2013 at 3:55 am

    I am the publicity and production photographer whose image of Carolee Carmello that appears in your article. Prior to working on this project I had no interaction with Kathie Lee and like most people only knew her from television. I can say that she is not only driven, but a wonderful individual. Certainly notoriety brings both good and bad with it but she is both down to earth and immensely warm and helpful.

    Do dreams take a long time? Indeed they do. It has taken me over 12 years of hard work to become a commercial performance and publicity photographer for theatrical, dance and symphonic companies. Are dreams worth the effort? Only each individual can answer that question for themselves. I have always believed that luck favors the prepared and anyone who says luck has nothing to do with their success is kidding themselves. Pursuing one’s dreams is not for the faint of heart and as you’ve sighted Kathie Lee has experienced and overcome her own issues.

    Following one’s dreams makes it very clear what type of character and strength each of us possesses.

    • Elizabeth

      June 10, 2013 at 6:22 am

      Hi Mark,

      That’s an awesome image, and I just spent some time looking around your site – you are a very talented photographer!

      A colleague of mine always said “I’d rather be lucky than good.” I always thought “I’d rather be lucky *and* good.” I like your phrase that “luck favors the prepared.”

      I look forward to seeing more of your work!

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