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This Is What Believing Looks Like

This Is What Believing Looks Like

By Maria Shriver
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I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new things to inspire me. I am always looking for new ways to be challenged and motivated to grow.

These days when there is so much that can get you down (our politics, our climate, inflation, etc.), it’s important to focus on the things that give you hope and help you rise above.

Thankfully This week, there were several things that helped me do just that. For starters, I was blown away by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard's decision to—quite literally—give his company away to nature. All of it. In his announcement, he said, “Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth, we are using the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source. We’re making Earth our only shareholder. I am dead serious about saving this planet.”

Wow. Chouinard has always been an inspiring leader, but his bold decision to give away his entire company—worth billions of dollars—to fight climate change was a game-changing move for business leaders everywhere who put purpose over profit. (You can read his letter here.) Patagonia’s success is a north start to me at MOSH. Building a company with purpose is no small feat. Chouinard’s gesture is now a challenge to all of us who are trying to prove that businesses themselves can be Architects of Change.

I was also inspired this week by the reaction to Queen Elizabeth II's death. I was struck by how many people lined up for hours to pay their respects simply because they wanted to say "thank you." Person after person said, “Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sense of duty and steadfastness. Thank you for being a solid, steady force.” (I know there were plenty of people who said other things as well, but right now I’m focusing on the two words that inspired me: thank you.)

All this got me thinking about the power and generosity of those two words: thank you. Then I read Mitch Albom's reflections in last week's edition of this Sunday Paper. Albom spoke about the impact Morrie had on his life. Twenty-five years later, Albom is still saying thank you to a man long gone, but whose life lessons he leans on and passes on in his life everyday. Albom's advice to be grateful for those who come into your life, even if they leave abruptly or have died, really moved me.

This week, I’ve tried saying thank you to a lot of people—people close to me and many I don’t know well at all. I said thank you to the new FedEx guy who comes by my office several times a week. Doing so sparked a conversation about the extreme heat and how hard it is for him to do his job in this weather. I believe our exchange was heartening for both of us.

I also said thank you to Mirrain, the man who parks the cars at my office building. He is the most positive person I know. When I asked him his secret, he attributed his joy to his relationship with Jesus Christ. His smile and generous nature impact every person who comes into contact with him.

I’ve said thank you in my morning meditations this week to people who are no longer in my life, but whose life lessons still stay with me to this day.

I also want to say thank you this morning to you, our readers. Thank you to the thousands upon thousands of you who have supported this publication, who have raised it up like a child, and who have loved it forward. Thank you. Thank you to all of those who have written and who continue to write for us. I learn something from your words every Sunday. I really do. Every single Sunday, I get a nugget, a tool, or an idea for all aspects of my life. The Sunday Paper has become a can’t-live-without-it resource for me and so many others, so dreams do come true. Thank you.

Today is also my son Patrick’s birthday, so I want to say thank you, sweetheart, for being you and for being such a joy and inspiration. I learn from you every day. I marvel at you every day. I thank God for you every day. Thank you for being such an amazing son.

This week, I read Richard Branson’s newsletter, in which he wrote about the life lessons he got from his parents that still motivate him to this day. His words struck me and stayed with me all week. Branson said his father started each day by saying, “Isn’t life wonderful?” And that now that's something he does as well. I tried doing that myself every morning this week and I must say, it made me smile. It made me nod my head, “yes, it is.” It made me feel a sense of awe. Branson said he also continues to be inspired by his mother who died years ago. Her sayings guide how he lives his life (you can read more here).

You see, people we know and people we don’t know have the ability to inspire us every single day. Environmental activist Erin Brockovich (who is one of our Voices Above the Noise this week) has inspired me for years. Her work to clean up our water supply is something we can all support.

You have that power too. You have the ability to change the trajectory of someone's life on any given day by how you interact with them, what you say to them, and how you treat them. That’s tremendous power.

I used to think one had to be hugely successful or run for office to impact someone else's life. That was such a misguided belief. (Branson also said only a fool never changes his mind.) The way you choose to live your life can be such an inspiration, and in these times when hope seems dim and when people complain that their leaders don’t inspire them, this is a moment worth owning. It's a moment for you to think about how you might inspire others, no matter what job you do.

How you do business can change the lives of those you employ, and it can even change the world like Patagonia is doing. How and who you love can change the way someone else envisions who they can love. How you parent can change a child’s life, no matter their age. An apology can save a relationship or resurrect one. An apology can save yourself.

This week, several women in their sixties had their moments on stage for the work they are doing right now. Jennifer Coolidge, Jean Smart, and Sheryl Lee Ralph all triumphed at the Emmys. When Ralph said “this is what believing looks like," I said, amen to that.

Growing up, I never thought you could be at the top of your game in your sixties. Now I know you can. I’ve seen it and I’ve felt it. I’m motivated by those doing just that. So, thank you to those women for their persistence and their determination. Thank you to all those who inspire. Thank you to those stepping up to run in the midterms. I’m so inspired by the likes of Stacey Abrams, Beto O’Rourke, Val Demings, Tim Ryan, John Fetterman, Raphael Warnock, Gretchen Whitmer, and Evan McMullan. And those are just a few. I hope you will check them out and support them, if you feel inclined.

Those are people who believe. They are people putting themselves out there. They are some of those who motivate me to do more and believe in our collective future. They are people who, like Branson, said screw it, let’s do it.

So together, let’s get motivated. Let’s get inspired. Let’s be willing to change our minds regardless of what’s going on in our world, let’s be brave enough to greet each day with this simple but profound acknowledgment: Isn’t life wonderful?

Love, Maria

Prayer of the Week

Dear God, may I never forget how wonderful this life is that you've gifted us. May I approach this week with a sense of awe, wonder, and hope about the path ahead. Amen.

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