Liz Murray, the author of Breaking Night, talks about how she taught herself to make positive choices when she was tempted to make destructive ones.
She talks about the times when she would wake up amongst many other homeless kids who were sleeping on the floor, and having to walk over their bodies toward the door. She explains how she experienced the desire to stay home and sleep as all the other homeless kids were doing, but did not do so.
She recalls thinking about her past, all the bad things that had happen to her, being homeless, and her deep and deserved sense of self pity. All of this made her want to stay home, go back to sleep, and wallow. However, she found that to make the choice that would take her to her goal of finishing school and going to college, making something good out of her life, she would ask herself the question, “what’s next?”
She sensed that the empowered choice was about the future, and that the action that she needed to take to get to the positive future was heading out the door to school; this was the positive change that she wanted. It started with a simple question.
I have been struggling with a speech writing project for the past month or so. I have written many drafts of it, and have been happy with none of them. I had never really written a real speech before, and certainly not one with the weight that this speech has on it.
While feeling discouraged and sorry for myself for not being an instantly prolific speech writer, I followed Liz Murray’s advice and asked myself, “What’s next?” I put my two hands on my keyboard and began typing.
I broke it down in the format of the five paragraph essay structure that I had taught my students to do in the past, and began filling in the ideas.
Every time I felt self-doubt, I asked, “what’s next?” Then, I wrote the next point, the next point, and the point after that.
I am proud to say that I wrote my first draft of a speech that finally looks and sounds like the speech I want it to be.
I am sincerely grateful to Liz Murray for the question that she thought of as an amazing teenager, “What’s next?”
What’s next for me? The second draft!
“What’s next” for you?