A Quote From A Real Life Champion!

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 “In life, and in my line of work as a Stuntwoman, Olympic athlete, and Motivational Speaker, change is the only constant.  Necessity is my mother of invention because she causes me to create and adapt.  Perseverance is my rock solid companion that always gets me home safely; and passion is the life-blood that drives me beyond the ordinary.”

 dana hee

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A Little More! Innovation Secrets Of A Champion

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Dana Hee, Olympic Gold Medalist, Award-Winning Stuntwoman, Life Survivalist and top Motivational Speaker, shares innovation secrets that propelled her to the top of four separate distinguished platforms of life.

Dana’s Principles Of Innovation

 1. You must be willing to risk failure to achieve greatness

 “Whether they consciously realize it or not…the majority of people here on this earth let fear of failure stop them from doing what they truly want to do. What they don’t acknowledge is that it is ‘fear of failure’ that is holding them back. What they don’t realize is that this fear is an illusion created from the depths of our mind and perpetuated throughout society. Just imagine what is possible when you can understand that failure is only a stepping-stone to greatness!”

 2. Thinking outside the box is key to utilizing what is at hand, and/or doing what is necessary to develop alternative resources.

 “So many professionals, workers and athletes believe that ‘X’ is absolutely needed to accomplish ‘Y.’ Yet the truth is that there are often infinite ways to reach the end goal. One must learn to let go of pre-conceived notions of absolute truth and develop their own rhythm and dance in climbing that ladder to ultimate success.”

 3. Enhance your vision of success from the power of YOU.

 “Every single one of us has an amazing resource of individuality within us. We are born with this miraculous version of ‘us.’ Identify your strengths, your creative ‘turn-ons’ and use this power to visualize and develop your ultimate results.

 

 

 

 

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Dream The Impossible Dream! Innovation = Success

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If you ‘think’ your dream is impossible, think again!  It’s truly up to YOU whether you succeed or fail with your desired results!  And often, it is innovation (thinking outside the ‘box’), that can be your best friend!

I was in Toronto, Canada on a film called “The Long Kiss Goodnight.” I was the stunt double for the lead actress, Geena Davis, and we were filming five months of mostly nights…in one of the worst winters Toronto had seen. Of course Geena had to look good for camera, and her wardrobe was designed for looks and not practicality for the weather. And of course, I, as her stunt double…needed to figure out how to appear like ‘Superwoman,’ even though I was feeling like a ‘Do-Do bird’ as I put that wardrobe on and stepped outside.

I immediately began slipping all over the place in the snow and ice, in the thin-soled, high-heeled designer boots (two and a half sizes too big!)…while trying to balance myself with a 30lb rifle in one hand, and 20lbs of ice skates slung over my shoulder! Thinking of the high action stunts that I needed to do the next day in the snow and ice, I was horrified and my heart caught in my throat. I was an athlete…not a magician! Yet…what could I do? The wardrobe group offered no solution to the problem. They said that there certainly was nothing they could do by the next morning!

Well…I thought about it for a while, and after work, set off to a cobbler shop in one of the underground malls. There…I purchased similar looking boots in my size, and then convinced a cobbler to install sharp golf cleats on the bottom of the soles. On the set the next day, no one knew or cared about what I had done with the shoes…all they cared about, was that I could do what was asked of me…without looking like a duck on ice! You just got to love innovation!”

 Bottom Line:

 Identify desired result

Acknowledge obstacle

Use resources at hand to eliminate obstacle

Achieve success

 

 

 

 

 

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My Olympic Breakthrough, Preparation = Courage

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Jogging in place and waiting quietly to enter the Olympic stadium, the heavy door suddenly opened and two sweaty, male athletes strode into the holding room.  One was obviously ecstatic from his Olympic win.  The other young man was completely devastated.  As suddenly as their entrance, my confidence vanished and I felt a streak of inner terror run up my spine.

Thoughts from the past began streaming through my mind like flashing red neon lights.  “Who are you to think you’re good enough to do this!”  “What makes you think you are strong enough, fast enough!”  “You fool!”  “You’re not good enough, and you never will be!”  Panic-stricken, I bent forward on the pretense of straightening my shin guards…all the while, trying to draw deeper breaths and find some sense of composure.  “Dana,” I said to myself. “What are you doing!”  “Get a grip!”  Yet as the doors opened again, and I straightened up to move forward with our small group, a sinking feeling dropped into my stomach like an iron cannon ball.

My coach stepped through the doorway carrying our beautiful American flag.  As I automatically stepped after him, I gazed upon our countries’ flag, flowing proudly at his side, and my heart sank.  My recently found courage had deserted me.  I felt as helpless as an abandoned child.

Yet as we entered the stadium, my heart quickened at the cheers from the crowd, and my eyes sought out our USA section of the stands.  And there was my husband, so proud…waving, shouting encouragement and holding a banner with my name in big bold letters, “Dana Hee and NBC!”

All of the long hard hours of training, the blood, sweat and tears, the travel, the obstacles of my long journey flashed through my mind.  Despite everything, I had persevered.  I had triumphed.  I was here at the Olympic Games.  I was representing my entire country!  I had the speed, the strength, the timing and the endurance.  I had trained like a maniac.  I had done everything possible to be prepared for this exact moment.  And that is when I realized, that I WAS good enough!  Straightening my shoulders and holding my head high, I waved to the crowd…to my husband, and took that final step into the competition ring. 

The knowledge of my preparation gave me the strength of courage just when I needed it most.  The rest is history.  Gold Medal, USA.

 

cc:  danahee May 2014

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“IS THE THRILL OF VICTORY WORTH THE AGONY OF DEFEAT?”

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Is the thrill of victory worth the possible agony of defeat?

 

To me it is, because…

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to conflict…and I felt like a coward

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to challenge…and I felt like a looser

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to risk…and I felt like I had lost out on something important

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to my dreams…and I began to lose faith in them

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to an opportunity in life…and I had regrets

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to life…and I almost ended mine

 

What I discovered…is that it’s the chance, challenge and dreams in my life that gives me that sense of ‘meaning’ and purpose’ that keeps the light of ‘hope’ shining at the end of the tunnel.

 And whether I succeed or fail with my goal, I have found that the sense of pride and satisfaction I gain, from having the courage to step forward in pursuit of ‘happiness’…..well, ‘that’ gives me lifetime of pride and satisfaction.

 Too many times I said ‘no.’ So now, I say….YES!

cc:  danahee   May 2014

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My Family Tree – Finding Comfort and Companionship In Nature

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Yesterday, I was feeling a bit isolated and lonely. My neighbor had gone out to enjoy an event, my friends were all busy with loved ones and activities like birthday parties, wedding showers, BBQ’s. Everyone I knew had someone. Everyone had siblings, children, grandchildren, partners, uncles, aunts…family. I had nothing. I had no one.

After several hours of trying to shake this feeling off and get on with my day, I gave up, got in my car and headed for the nearby mountain top. Arriving there, I locked the car in the parking lot and walked, downcast, along the jaw dropping sheer rock cliff where an ancient trail danced among the stones and wildflowers. Trying to block out the occasional laughing couples and joking families hiking there, I pressed on…intent on finding a place of solitude to nurse my spiritual wound of loneliness.

 After about thirty minutes or so of hiking off trail, I found it. It was a rock, sitting far out on a ledge on the edge of the sheer cliff with no support underneath it. If there was an earthquake, that rock would be the first to go! The drop off was probably three quarters of a mile from rocky bottom. Perfect! I scrambled out onto the ledge and lowered myself into a sitting position on the rock with my feet dangling carelessly in the air.

 Leaning back against the sun heated stone behind me, I relaxed and began to truly enjoy the view before me. It was breathtaking…the huge towers of stone with the tall green pines to the right and left…the deep, vast semi-circle bowl before me with all that was below, and all that was to be seen on the distant horizon. My eyes were level with some drifting clouds of shining silver; and the deep blue sky beckoned me with calming allure. For some moments, I imagined myself standing and launching from my rocky perch, and with arms stretched to either side, flying outward and downward into the peaceful abyss.

 Knowing this was something I would not do, I finally re-directed my thoughts, concentrated on my breathing and focused inwardly while connecting my spirit with all around me. After meditating for about 20 minutes, I slowly brought myself back into the present. Looking around me, I realized that ‘this’ was my family. The ancient stone cliffs surrounding me was my grandfather Rock, the clouds my aunts, the tall green pine trees whispering nearby were my distant cousins, as were the ants crawling by my leg and the wildflowers blooming in the rocky crevice.

 I gave a deep sigh of contentment, arose, and began meandering back in a different direction, through the dense thick forest of pine and fir trees. The distant call of a crow was the only sound as I made my way silently along a narrow path. And yet, as I walked, I heard the other voices around me…the voice from the tree nearest to me, and the tree next to that one, and the tree at the bend in the path. With one voice they spoke. I heard them, and so I listened to what they told me.

 Smiling to myself, I realized that I did have wonderful family members to talk to, to listen to, to cry upon their shoulders or weep in their arms. I realized that I could confide my deepest, darkest secrets to them, share my happiness and sorrows without judgement. Lifting my face to the warmth of the sun, I could feel the healing presence and the warmth of my family’s’ love all around me, within me. As I passed through the beautiful forest of trees, I realized that my family was always there for me with unconditional love.

 Dropping down into a little gully, the heavy aromatic scent of the dark moist soil greeted me in the warm stillness of the spring air. Stopping, I closed my eyes and listened to the slight wind through the branches surrounding me. The soft rustle whispered in my ear and I was reminded of the past, told of the future and grounded in the present. ‘This’ was my family. I had been gone far too long, but had finally come back home.

 Opening my eyes I continued on, cresting a hill and stepped once again, back into the sunshine. There, in a beautiful panoramic meadow teaming with grass, wildflowers, insects and birds, I paused for several long minutes…savoring that beautiful feeling of togetherness that only our family and friends can bring to our lives. With one last sigh of contentment I headed back to my car…shielded and cloaked in the peaceful protective embrace of family love.

 As I drove slowly down the mountain enjoying the strength and splendor of the tall pines standing guard along the dark pavement, I realized that my family is always there for me. They are just a short walk, a drive, a glance, a conversation away. Squaring my shoulders, I pulled onto the city highway back towards town, knowing that I would continue to walk tall into my future…knowing that I was never truly alone.

cc:  danahee2014

 

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Face You Fears – Unlimited Power!

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“I can’t believe I’m about to do this!” This thought flashes through my brain as I lean forward to place tension on the thin cable attached to the jerk vest hidden beneath my baggy clothing.

I slow my breathing down. The tension mounts around me, and the acrid stench of the torches burns into my throat. I can almost feel the simulated, nighttime darkness envelope me in its shroud.

You see, I am a stunt double for an actress on a film called, ‘Soldiers;’ and we are on set.  I’m about to be shot with a flamethrower device and knocked backwards through the air, and down into a gully, as several bombs explode.

I see everyone scurrying around me, and I feel like the calm in the center of a storm. The special effects guy double checks the fire squib he has placed on my stomach. My ratchet man is talking with me about my starting mark and my arm placement. The hair lady makes a final adjustment to my hair, as the bomb ‘squad,’ adjusts the propane bombs and debris cones that are on both sides to the front of me.

My boss asks if I’m ready. I give a nod and thumbs up sign. All of a sudden everybody scatters and disappears into the darkness. All is quiet. I keep the tension on the line and close my eyes as I hear the effects team say, “The bombs are going hot!”

From my cocoon of darkness I hear the shout on the megaphone, “Cameras Rolling!” “Speed!” “And on three. One….two….THREE!”

Simultaneously I feel the blast of heat, and I am jerked backwards and up. My eyes open and I see smoke, then darkness. I feel like I am swimming in the air. I fly backwards, 10ft…. 20ft… Hmmm, I seem to be traveling further than I did in the rehearsals. I should be free falling backward to the pads by now! Then I drop. And just as the thought dawns on me that I’m going to miss the pads, I feel a mighty “THWACK” to my head, and all goes black.

Ahhh….the life of a Hollywood stuntwoman! Ok, call me crazy, but I have been perfectly happy to be flying through the air, jumping through burning windows and slamming myself into walls. Well…maybe I’ve been a little happier when there has been no pain or headache involved, but I was definitely hooked on this wild roller coaster of a career!

Of course, you may be asking yourself, “Why in the world would anyone choose such a hazardous career?”

Well, have you ever wanted something so badly that you didn’t even try to accomplish it, because you were afraid you would find you couldn’t do it? I call it a fear of failure. That was the story of my life; that is, until I learned to defeat my fears by facing up to the challenges of my mind.

I come from a background of sexual abuse, abandonment, and the ravages created by suicidal, and alcoholic parents and relatives. I had no self-confidence or self-esteem. What I did have, was a bad habit of thinking, “I can’t,” along with a petrifying fear of disappointment, anger, hurt, and humiliation. As a result, I would typically run from any challenge of the mind, body, or soul.

I was my own worst enemy when it came to succeeding with something, and I was sick of it!

So when that first call came for me to double the villainess on the film ‘Under Cover Blues’ down in Lafayette, Louisiana. I jumped at the chance. When the fear of those first few stunts started to get in the way, I pushed them ruthlessly aside and did what I had to do. Afterwards, when I realized that I had completed the stunt successfully – even though my brain had almost been paralyzed with fear – I was enveloped in a euphoric, “walking on clouds” feeling of accomplishment.

At last, I had discovered a good battleground where I could focus on conquering my fears, and I was determined to win! So off I went to Hollywood.

Leaving behind my nine to five job in accounting, the Friday night parties, and Monday night football on the couch with my man, life, I jumped into my new career, and learned to face my fears on a daily basis.

As my experience and skills expanded, the jobs kept coming….’Batman Forever,’ ‘Batman & Robin,’ ‘Demolition Man,’ ‘Lethal Weapon 4,’ ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ ‘Swordfish,’ ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight,’ ‘Independence Day,’ plus an ongoing list of television shows like ‘Star Trek Voyager,’ ‘The Pretender,’ ‘VIP,’ and the ‘X-Files.’

Never would I have dreamed of being able to do the stunts I did with helicopters, jeep chases, jet ski-boat transfers, stair falls, saddle falls, jumps from buildings-through glass-over fences, hydraulic ratchets into walls – the ground – into other people. I would have never dared to be hit by a car wearing nothing but a sundress and sandals (‘Bella Mafia’)!

As one film led to another, I was swept up into a whirlwind of movie stars, travel, money, and extraordinary adventure.

I spent weeks working with actors like Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, and Mel Gibson. I hung out on the set with George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, Charlie Sheen and Gwynneth Paltrow.

The productions flew me first class around the world to exotic locations to film. I galloped a horse in the sunset along the ancient cliffs and temples of Petra, Jordan (same local as ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’). I fought in a hurricane in Wales, and then floated in a rickety boat down a mystical river in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, Thailand (‘Mortal Kombat Annihilation’).

There were side trips for shopping in London, museums in Paris, lounging on exotic beaches. And then there was the highlight of, after a brief sojourn in Rome working with Cameron Diaz on ‘Gangs of New York,’ I landed one of the best contracts in the business with the TV series, ‘Alias.’

Although the glamour of this business has been fun, it was at times overwhelming. To keep my sanity, I have always worked to balance my perspective of what is important, and what is real. (Imagine yourself walking on a very high tight-wire with your packed suitcase in one hand, and a martini in the other, and you’ll get an idea of how difficult this can be.)

Beneath the glitz and the glamour, I have found the real counter-balance in this rocky career is the underlying magnet of satisfaction and self-accomplishment.

 After a lifetime of dealing with issues from an extremely difficult childhood, I welcomed the challenges of this career. They have helped me balance and conquer those old feelings of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and my fear of failure. (Not that I would recommend all people suffering from childhood trauma jump from buildings or launch themselves 20 feet through the air by stepping on a seriously dangerous mechanical device called an air ram)!

And now, after over 20 years, thousands of stunts, hundreds of movies, over 2,520 days of pain (excluding the eight hospital trips and numerous doctor visits for burns, stitches, pulls, breaks, and concussions), I can honestly say that I still enjoy the challenges of my work when I get one of those calls.  I just try to pass up the car hits, and stick to ‘prat falls’ and fighting!

Sure there were times when I would long for that nine to five, football night, bruise-free life. But when I was sixty feet up on a huge 360 degree rotating shipping crane, about to start a big fight on a contraption consisting of a forklift, a motorcycle, and a car sandwiched together (Barbwire), I knew that, once again, I was conquering that debilitating fear I felt growing up.

You see I now know that the only thing worse than failing is to let fear keep you from succeeding at what you want to do. Hey, call me crazy if you want, but now, instead of running from a challenge, when I’m asked to jump, I say, “how high?”

cc:   danahee  02/2014

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