Happy Birthday to my Role Model
Dr. Jane Goodall tops the list of just a few women I look up to and try and model myself after…
The environmental activist, author, and animal welfare advocate turned 80 this week. I describe her as courageous, authentic, and inspiring. She paved the way for women like myself and for many of my closest friends. While her interests did not fall in journalism, I found myself connecting with her over the years because of her love of the environment and her desire to protect animals.
In 1960, Goodall made the unconventional choice to live with and study the Chimpanzee community in the Gombe National Park in Tanzania. She never really stopped.
Have you ever asked yourself what you would do with your life if no one could say no to you? Have you dreamt of doing something out of the ordinary? What gets in the way? Your age? Your place in life? Your fears? Goodall would say go for it….now! Stop the excuses.
I heard her say those exact words when I met her while on a trip to South Africa in 2009. The first time I heard her speak, I sat in the audience of about 20 people inside a beautiful wooden hut. I knew at that moment it was an experience I would cherish forever.
The moon was full and there was a warm light breeze in the air. I was mesmerized by her every word. She stood in front of us with her petite frame and calm energy and told stories of survival and compassion.
The following day I had the opportunity to sit one on one with her listening to her advice, her thoughts on wildlife, and the power of fulfilling a dream even if you don’t know where the path will ultimately lead. She told me ”Just take chances. Make it happen.” The picture included in this blog is framed in my home. I look at it often to remind myself that to be courageous, you have to trust not just yourself but also the universe.
Jane Goodall, who is a devoted vegetarian, has and continues to live her life by example by learning, listening to others, and most importantly, by being present.
Some of my favorite Dr. Jane Goodall Quotes:
“People said, “Jane, forget about this nonsense with Africa. Dream about things you can achieve.”
“And always I have this feeling–which may not be true at all–that I am being used as a messenger.”
“A sense of calm came over me. More and more often I found myself thinking, “This is where I belong. This is what I came into this world to do.”
For more information:
Her new book: http://www.janegoodall.org/seeds-of-hope
Maria Shriver, another one of my role models, posted this recently