Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]

 
Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]

 
Seth Godin Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]

 
Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]

 
Leilani Münter Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]

 
Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]

 
Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]

 
Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]

 
Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]

 
Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com

 

curiosity

Grace Kerina Grace Kerina writer's shepherd. meaning beacon. surreal stepmama.

Grace Kerina founded The Writer's Shepherd to help people find their own words and bring their unique wisdom into the open. Her goal is to eliminate writer's block from the planet. [www.the-writers-shepherd.com]

grace_kerina_feature

As a kid, I didn’t find it easy to be different. Other kids were quick to point out the ways I wasn’t like them. I usually didn’t talk like them, because we moved around a lot and my accent always took a while to change. When I did talk, I used big words. And my teeth stuck out. A lot.

Looking back, I’m amazed to realize that the flack I took for being different didn’t make me change. I was often miserable among my peers, but it didn’t occur to me to be other than who I was. I might have yearned for the benefits that came from being popular, but trading the truth of who I was to get it wouldn’t have counted.

Being different can’t be avoided. Obviously, we’re not all the same. How can we connect in spite of the differences we bump up against in each other? The trick, for me, has been to replace judgment with curiosity. To open rather than close. To entertain possibilities.

My mother set a great example of being curious. She taught gifted students in rural North Carolina public schools. “So,” she’d ask her class, “what if there was no green?” They’d stare at her, gears turning. “Boring trees!” “Traffic accidents!” Mom would pounce again. “What if you had an eye on the tip of your finger?” She liked to broaden people’s assumptions about what we could be curious about.

My future stepson was 11 when we met. He’d stand beside me in the kitchen and ask “What’s for dinner?” I’d give a pot he was too short to see into a quick stir and say, “Well, we’ve got some monkey brains here, and, let’s see, the slug sauce is about ready.” I did it to watch his face as he worked to adjust to the totally unexpected (he hadn’t had much training in surrealism). He’d stand very still for a long moment, then look up at me with a perfect willingness to believe. I adored him. He allowed possibilities.

Sometimes I struggle to withhold judgment, to discover a way to allow other possibilities than the ones that are easiest to assume. But every time I do, every time I’m curious instead, I find solutions, friendship, and marvels.

When I offer a question mark instead of aiming an exclamation point, differences become possibilities. They become a way to connect.

– Grace Kerina

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