'Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom,' by Queen Latifah

I didn't know I had it in me. There's more to all of us than we realize. Life is so much bigger, grander, higher, and wider than we allow ourselves to think. We're capable of so much more than we allow our- selves to believe. Box some seemingly mousy person into a corner and things will come out of her that you never would have imagined. If you push someone out of her comfort zone, she might perform in a way that she never thought possible.

We've all got so much more potential in us than we are willing to explore. We're all capable of second, third, and fourth acts. We're multidimensional beings, but we have a tendency to get trapped in a mind-set. We all deserve to get to that mountaintop and several more besides. We should be climbing the whole mountain range and enjoying the walk through all its peaks and valleys. And we can, as long as we remember to get out of our own way.

At the end of another one of those hikes, the other boot camp guests and I ended up on the beach in Malibu. We were so happy to be by the sea after several days in the woods, shut off in our own little enclosed world. I starting picking up rocks and throwing them in the water. Then I saw this one stone and did a double take. On it was an image of a man standing tall with one arm down by his waist and the other arm raised in the air with his hand clenched in a fist. It was a fist pump rock! I am not making this up. I believe in miracles, but trust me, I am not one of these people who see images of the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast! This was real. I showed it to the other people in the group, and they agreed—it was clearly a picture of a guy going, "Yeah, I did it!" It was like the universe was sending me confirmation of the message I'd gotten out of that week, and I was in a mental state where I was able to receive that message. In that moment, my mind was free of life's clutter and my eyes and ears were open to the signs. And guess what? Not only did I lose weight and improve my outlook, I quit smoking. Of course, it all got undone when I got back to New York City two days before September 11. From my apartment across the river in New Jersey I witnessed the attacks, and suddenly my world and everyone else's had changed. Recividism bit me on the butt, and I went back to my bad habits for comfort. I forgot my inner strength.

Whenever that happens, I pick up that fist pump rock and contemplate its message. It sits on the mantelpiece of my house in Los Angeles, and every time I look at it, I remember what it's like to feel like Superwoman.

We all need a little keepsake like that, especially these days. I know many of you are losing jobs or struggling to find work. It's tough for someone who has just faced a layoff. Millions of us are feeling lost right now. This is a scary time for a lot of people. Their industries are dying. Men and women who worked in factories or at newspapers thought they'd have jobs forever. What they thought they'd be doing until they retire may no longer be an option. There's no such thing as job security anymore. The film and music business are no different. People don't realize that even if you make a lot of money, you can lose it just as fast. Show business isn't exactly a steady pro- fession. One day you're hot, and the next day you're over. You never know.

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