Today I want to share an example of how an everyday American family managed to find their mission and touch the lives of millions across the globe!

Do you remember the Ice Bucket Challenge from the summer that involved everyone from global leaders through to everyday people like us? Have you ever wondered how it started, what difference it has made and what lessons can be learnt from this?

Today we hear from Nancy Frates, the mum of the ALS patient who initiated an awareness campaign that went global and has raised more than US$125 million. She shares the inspiring story from the day her son Pete was diagnosed with ALS (Motor-Neurone Disease) in March 2012, through to the execution of a seemingly impossible vision to put a misunderstood condition right in front of some of the most influential people on this planet – from the likes of Bill Gates to Angela Merkel as well as millions across the world in more than 150 countries. This video is 18 minutes long but it’s jam-packed with incredible insights we can learn from – it shows that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results when they understand the principles involved – enjoy!!

Video courtesy of TED

What Can We Learn From Nancy, Pete
& the Rest of the Frates Family?

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

Watching this video really blew me away because of how much we can learn. For me there were two key lessons that really stood out…

1. Anyone Can Be Positive if They Choose to, Regardless of Their Situation

Above all of the lessons from Nancy’s story is that everyday people can succeed when they choose to be positive and proactive. Pete’s example is a big wake-up call to us all – a masterclass in what proactivity actually means. If someone fit and healthy in their twenties diagnosed with a debilitating disease with no treatment and no cure can choose to live every day with a positive attitude, then surely it means that anyone can? Yes, we all have our challenges, but proactive people can take these situations and use them to find more meaning and purpose in their lives. Ironically Nancy stayed away from support groups because of their negativity and tendency to focus on blaming others!! The Frates family quickly accepted the reality of their situation. In fact it actually helped Pete, Nancy and the rest of the Frates family find the meaning, purpose and passion that they felt was missing in their lives.

Do we really need to face such adversity in order to really ask what we are most passionate about before we actually do something about it?

2. Any Goal is Possible When You Bring Together the Right People

Another thing that really stood out for me from Pete’s quest to put ALS on the map was that it was very much down to the people and relationships he had built over the years. It all started with the so-called ‘Team Frate Train’ sat round the dinner table in the Frates household, but Pete’s circle of influence quickly expanded through bringing together the people whose lives he had touched over the years. The family actively sought to bring together the right people to build a community capable of creating global awareness and raising millions in the process.

Pete’s dream of putting ALS in front of Bill Gates (check out his bucket challenge here!) was achieved in around two and a half years because of the passionate people committed to a compelling vision. Watching Nancy’s speech really helped me to explore how I can enhance my own vision even further, as well as my ability to bring together the right people to make that a reality.

Do you have a cause that you feel passionate about?

Would you like support to connect with others who feel equally passionate? 

learn more about lighthouse mentoring here