When I started the Bitch’in Challenge three weeks ago, I laid down the gauntlet and dared you to join me in working on ONE THING about yourself that you want to shift. This post, the last in a four-week series, was to be all about being the change in order to make all the work you’ve done permanent.
I had a little quandary, though, about the timing of the end of this Bitch’in Challenge four-week series: for the past two years, my holiday post has been about two amazing now eight-year-old boys: Dylan Siegel and Jonah Pournazarian. Dylan wrote a book called Chocolate Bar when he was in first grade — his goal was to raise $1,000,000 and find a cure for Jonah’s rare disease, Glycogen Storage Disease 1b. Jonah was both muse and sales manager; back in 2012 when I first interviewed the lads, they’d amazingly raised $10,000 by selling books at an event at their school. Then I followed up last December, and the boys were halfway to their goal ($500,000). What originally was a heart-warming local story about a couple of great kids and their families had become a global phenomenon that had gotten tons of press and attention, won the boys some awards, and incredibly was building over time, not subsiding.
How then, could I possibly make my final chapter in the Bitch’in Challenge — which is a lot about people of a certain age (ahem) dealing with their personal stuff — mesh with continuing to tell the story of the Chocolate Bar Boyz?
Two words: expect miracles.
The day I sat down to start writing this post I got a phone call from David Siegel, Dylan’s dad. He wanted to give me the breaking news — Dylan reached his goal of raising $1,000,000. The book had sold 25,000 copies in more than 60 countries. And something funny happened along the way: while trying to cure GSD 1b, Dylan and Jonah have shown children of all ages — people of a certain age, this means you, too! — that they have power and their actions can change the world
Drink that in for a minute: if a 6-year-old, which is how old Dylan was when he wrote Chocolate Bar, can expect — no, demand — miracles, then why can’t all? There are many lessons from Chocolate Bar, so here are just a few delicious takeaways you can enjoy as you become the change you want to see in your own life:
Intention helps. Dylan’s pure and simple wish — to cure his friend’s disease — stayed true for the last two years. It had momentum, thanks to unfettered optimism, which is something that kids are particularly good at. They’re not ones to drop something that they really, truly want. Losing steam is more of an adult thing, so check your intentions. If what you decided you want to change is unwavering after four weeks, then child-up and get psyched because you can do it!
Little things become bigger. What I and everyone else thought was incredible two years ago — that a kid could raise $10,000 — is now 100 times more. Thanks to the money raised from Chocolate Bar, Jonah’s doctor, GSD expert Dr. David Weinstein from the University of Florida, has nearly finished the research phase to cure GSD-1b and is moving into human clinical trials. But the implications don’t stop there: the cure for GSD will prove that gene therapy works and therefore charts a course for changing the face of health care.
Focus on the positives: If you haven’t read Chocolate Bar yet, its got a very simple conceit: things that you like, for example, swimming, bowling, going to Disneyland (OK, by you I mean Dylan, but I like those things too) are “so chocolate bar.” Back to my own personal Bitch’in Challenge — I decided to take care of my health and change my diet and stress level completely. Now I could choose to focus on the basics of why I was doing it — to avoid getting some nasty ass conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorder, and heart disease — but that is negative and honestly, pretty depressing. Over time, I know I’d become sick and tired of being afraid of being sick and tired. But flip a switch and focus on the good stuff — my skin looks and feels great, my energy is 100% better, I’ve dropped a few pounds, and BAM! That is so chocolate bar — well, a paleo-acceptable chocolate bar that’s low on the glycemic index but high on the antioxidant scale. (NOTE: Please do not tell Dylan that’s how adults like me look at chocolate bars. Allow the child to maintain his youthful optimism at least until he’s nine.)
You are not alone: Sure, it was Dylan’s idea to write a book to raise money to cure his friend’s disease. But children don’t assume they can do it all by themselves — they ask their parents for help, which of course Dylan did. Dylan’s mom and dad were so happy and proud, they dove in head first to do whatever they could. His dad’s co-workers helped lay the book out. His mom’s friends rallied and supported the mission. Jonah’s parents also joined right in, doing everything they could to help up to and including paying for costs along the way so that every penny raised could go right into Dr. Weinstein’s research. More people offered to help however they could, including the boy’s first grade teacher, a BBF of mine who was the person who told me about Chocolate Bar, and my biz partner, who donated her services to design and build the Chocolate Bar book website. It grew, and grew, and grew — like I said, 25,000 people bought the book, they gained friends and fans like Chelsea Clinton, and children in schools worldwide (Texas! Brazil!) have joined in to support the cause. In the process, every single person who has engaged with Chocolate Bar book has been changed. I have been changed — back to when I got that call from David about hitting Dylan’s goal of raising $1,000,000 — I wept…
Because it is so damn beautiful…
Because Jonah and his family will have their lives permanently changed in the most profound way possible when his GSD 1b is cured…
Because Dylan and his family are on a mission to empower kids with the knowledge that they can make a difference….
And because this just goes to show you that thoughts do become things, dreams become reality, and yes, my bitches, miracles do freakin’ happen!
I hope you’ve enjoyed your Bitch’in Challenge, and I really hope you make whatever it is you wanted to do a permanent part of your life starting now and carrying you on a cloud of joy into 2015. If you need a little inspiration, please watch this ABC News clip — it’s pretty damn chocolate bar! HAPPY HOLIDAZE!!!