For me ... until her passing ... Maya Angelou was just a poet that had an opportunity to share her words at Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration in 1993.
Since then, I've been inspired by her in so many ways.
Her parents divorced when she was 3. She was raped by her mother's boyfriend at age 7. At 17, she was a single mother. In her 20's, she was a shake dancer in a nightclub, a prostitute, a cook, and ran a brothel.
Had I met her at that point, I'm guessing I'd have felt sorry for her and maybe been a little judgmental at the same time. I'm pretty certain I'd never have bet on her as someone who would go on to have such an incredibly positive influence on so many people during her life ... and following her life.
She went on to be a singer, an actor, a civil rights activist (worked with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King), a college professor, a writer, a speaker, and ... a poet.
She also won the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor in the United States).
Even years later, her life continues to remind me not to be judgy. She’s also one of those people who inspires me to keep moving forward regardless of circumstances … to keep Rising & Reaching … in the bad … in the good.
And remember, “Nothing will work unless you do.” That’s Maya Angelou, too … a true Smover.
Rest in peace, Maya Angelou. Nice work!
3 inspiring videos from Maya Angelou...
On being an inspiration...
On the importance of our words...
On eliminating complaints...
(I love the statement ... “The majority of us mumble and get around with 5, 6, 7% [of our brain].”)
Outside your money hours or on a well-earned break, enjoy Maya Angelou’s obituary from the New York Times.