Sunday, August 8, 2010

Step Out on Nothing - Byron Pitts

Step out on nothing; step into faith - and so goes the autobiography of 60 Minutes correspondent Byron Pitts. I heard him interviewed on NPR
( and finally ordered a copy of his book, finding it hard to put down as school was ending and I was about to go on the new MS drug, Ampyra. Reading his book came at the perfect time for me in terms of learning to go for something, realizing the impacts of family support, and continuing to strive for the seemingly impossible.

Step Out on Nothing:

Each chapter title is either intriguing or meaningful in itself, and chapters are preceded with a corresponding verse from the Bible or a quote (and I love both).

Chapter 8: Never Say I'll Try, Say I Will
"Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." -John 14:27
"Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is peace; where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is love." - Stephen R. Adams

Reading this chapter came at this moment in my life, within the past week (so who knows if the moment will be significant in the long-run) where I had just started Ampyra, the new medicine, and surprisingly it was already starting to work. But I found _myself_ doubting _myself_ a bit with improvements being noticed so quickly after 20 years of MS and nothing really helpful. In terms of walking, I wondered what was possible? What should I try? Would I fail? If I failed, what would that mean?

I also thought about the fact that I find myself continually contemplating my career, my dreams for it, dreams which have come from pursuing my Masters degree. These dreams seem like "the impossible dream(s)," (Man of La Mancha) yet there are glimpses or periods when I am hopeful - a career of combining related topics and the interplay between the topics: health care policy, disparities for people with disabilities, poverty, inclusiveness and capturing the voice of people with disabilities within healthcare. There are glimpses of hope in pursuing this where I work and times of complete frustration. It may be impossible in that setting.

Pitts was an illiterate youth with a severe stutter and has become a well-known 60 Minutes correspondent. In Chapter 8, he finds himself struggling with stuttering during college, but at the same time aiming toward a career in broadcast journalism. Although he could read, broadcast journalism still seems like an impossible dream. And though I'm not a believer, as he is, in a great plan God has for each person, Pitts resonates with me in other ways. He says, "I was raised to believe that if you speak your dreams long enough and loud enough, eventually others will dream and speak with you." That is motivating - the medicine I started, my career - my impossible dreams - possible? "Never say I'll try. Say I will!"

Many other parts of the book were excellent - especially the first part of the book where Pitts focuses on illiteracy and stuttering - and how his family and faith helped him.

So this post doesn't get eternally long with my opinions of what he said, here are some glances. I'd recommend this book. I don't follow some of his religious opinions, but it was still worth every cent and minute.

Step Out on Nothing, by Byron Pitts.

"We are all reminded at times in our lives, how difficult it is to stay on course. Getting off course is a four-letter word - easy ... sometimes, I discovered, I had to be at the front of the line and play the game alone." (felt that way with the medicine and my impossible dream)

" 'I have faith - that's just all it is. I can't attribute it to anything else but just saying, All right, God's not going to give you anything you can't handle, so, you know, I just wish He didn't trust me so much, you know,' and his smile even broadened."

"It's never been about the destination for me. It's all about the journey." (Hey wait, that's exactly what I think!)

"I know that in all the darkest, loneliest moments of my life, when I felt the world was against me and the winds of conventional wisdom were against me, in those moments, God held me in the palm of His hand. His son, Jesus Christ, died so I might live. His sacrifice set the stage for every success I've been blessed to achieve thus far. When to the outside world it appeared I was stepping out on nothing, I was standing in the center of God's hands. He's got big hands. There's plenty of room." (Can I make this my mission statement and put it on the outside of my cube without getting fired? Probably not - I'll find somewhere else for it.)

"(My mother)taught me that in times of uncertainty, step to a place where God is. Step out in nothing, and it will take you far. Safe journey." (I think I need to take a bigger step out)

"... what is your role? What do you dream? And you can't dream without faith ... trouble will surely come. Know this. If you take one step, God will take two. Have faith in something greater than yourself."

"Real success is not measured by how much you take from this life but by how much you give to it." (Mission statement #2?)

"Don't simply be good - be better. Better isn't good enough, so be the best. Don't settle for your best. Be an angel."

Thank you, Mr. Pitts, for entering my journey. You have given me an extra kick of hope, and the drive to keep [pursuing my dreams).

Thanks be to God.


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