A taste of victory by D.J. Vanas

By D.J. Vanas © 2008
News From Indian Country

I was sitting at our kitchen table admiring our daughters and watching them as they ate dinner. Our youngest, Bella, nearly two years old was trying to copy her big sister Gabi and drink milk with a straw. I watched this effort with not just great amusement but also with great respect, having been awed so many times in the past by the wise examples our children share with us.

With each attempt, Bella would desperately try to get the milk up the straw and each time the milk got closer to her lips and that taste of victory she sought. We cheered her on, but after several fruitless tries, she quit, giving up the struggle though the milk had made it to within less than a hair’s breadth from her lips. Of course, it dawned on me that this is a common theme for our own lives; we often give up just moments before that taste of victory is ours!

On December 31st many of us made plans to improve our lives in small and large ways. Maybe we decided to take more time for our families, lose weight, get a promotion, stop smoking or get our finances in order. But how many of us are still pulling that milk up the straw? How many of us have already slowed or quit, thinking it useless? Life teaches us (over and over again) that it is often darkest before dawn.

Sometimes, we invest so much time and energy to a thing and just as we’re about to win, just a moment away from turning the tide, we stop. That the taste of victory may be in the next breath and we can accomplish wonderful things if we simply don’t quit. Sometimes we need to be like the loveable character Dory in the movie “Finding Nemo” who insisted they “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” and eventually they found little lost Nemo.

History is filled with examples of this classic challenge. One of my favorites is Thomas Edison – who experimented and failed thousands of times before he finally invented a working light bulb. Imagine how different our lives would be if he’d quit after a few dozen failures. He knew what we should know – our so-called failures are often simply rungs in the ladder as we climb to our goals!

In the end, it comes down to facing and defeating the toughest enemy we ever face on the battlefield of life – our own doubts. To let our doubts get the best of us is the equivalent of planting seeds and just before the shoot breaks the soil surface, we pluck it out and throw it away, claiming it’s a dud. We can overcome this doubt by taking action and tracking our progress, one step at a time. And most importantly, keep your faith strong as you stay the course and move forward by getting feedback from your supporting cast, celebrating your victories (yes, even the small ones count) and seeing the goal through – just keep swimming – and you’ll ensure that you’ll get your taste of victory!

D.J.’s upcoming schedule:


18-19 First Nations Health Managers
(Edmonton, Alberta)

30-31 Montana State University
(Helena, MT)

D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas (Odawa) is a nationally acclaimed motivational storyteller, success coach and the author of the celebrated book, The Tiny Warrior: A Path to Personal Discovery & Achievement and audio CD series The Warrior Within. D.J. uses traditional warrior concepts and wisdom to inspire people to achieve their best in life, school and career and owns Native Discovery Inc., a company dedicated to “building the warriors of tomorrow…today.” He can be reached at (719) 282-7747 or at http://www.nativediscovery.com