I’m Not Special

There are certain people you look at and you immediately know they have a little something going on. You know who I’m talking about, the ones you just can’t help but notice because they light up a room, know just the right way to answer a question, float effortlessly through life…it’s almost as if, they sparkle.

They are special.

And then there’s you and me.

I had no delusions about my being “special.” In fact, when Kathie Donovan asked me to speak at an event she was holding I replied telling her that I’m not special and I told her my story.

You see, I grew up in a poor family. In fact, this is the apartment my mom and I lived in after she and my dad split up in 1974.


Life was hard for my mom, raising me on her own, and when we eventually moved to Haliburton in 1979, things were not much easier. I remember my mom taking a pound of ground beef and stretching it into seven days of meals for us because that’s all she could afford.

In 1981, I got really sick. I spent time in and out of the hospital for years, including ICU, and it took the doctors two years to finally diagnose me with Crohn’s Disease. They told my mom I was sick from stress and I will never forget seeing her cry uncontrollably, thinking that she had caused my illness. It was awful.

Fast forward to 1988 when I moved to Ottawa to live with my dad. Shortly after, I quit my last year of high school without receiving a diploma. I worked for minimum wage and spent more than I had on credit cards that never should have been issued to me. I lived in an apartment at the corner of Clarence and Cumberland in the Byward Market.

When I shared my story with Kathie, about what my life had been like and what my life is like now, I said to her, “I’m not special. If I can do it, anyone can.

She stopped me and said “I won’t have any of that. You are special because you acted, in spite of all of this, and you created the life you have. And, people need to know this about you and how you did it. Not only that, they are special, those who listen to your story and those who are looking for inspiration. They are all special.”

Kathie believes that we are all special and that we all have a special story and…

When our inspiration is matched with action, you can make dreams come true. Share on X

She helped to open my eyes to this and showed me that the things I thought made me normal – working hard and getting stuff done – were exactly what made me special!

So, what’s your story?

The truth is, you get to decide who you want to be and your actions govern whether or not that happens in life.

Those people you see who float through a room and seem to have it all together, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. We all have a story, we all have a past and we can all control the future of our lives based on the actions we take.

So tell me, what story are you ready to change in your life and what inspired action are you ready to take? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.



4 thoughts on “I’m Not Special”

  1. I so appreciate this blog. It challenges my perspective of not using my adversity to define me. I have always felt like it created limiting beliefs rather than empowering. Always feeling like I wanted a clean page to start with, unfortunately, could never get a clean page, always a little something on a corner hear and there. I have been so focused on creating a new story, missing what is before me. I would love to hear how the story stays focused on empowerment not wanting to be viewed as victim.

  2. I came from a middle class family. My mom was a single mom and although she said she struggled to make ends meet, I never felt it. Sure, I didn’t wear designer Jordashe jeans or get to go shopping on regular basis like my friends, but I had food on the table, a roof over my head and a mother who loved me and protected me from hardship – and was an awesome role model for me growing up.

    My struggle in life didn’t hit me until my late twenties / early thirties. I can’t say it was financial, physical or emotion hardship… It was spiritual – which can affect all of these things. Here is my story and I am 150% happier spiritually because of it…

  3. Lisa, so many of our stories shine with commonality, be it family, living, motherhood, protection, values, illnesses, faith, money or lack of it, resilience, making things better for others, fighting the good fights, struggling, that which we control and that which we have no control over. St. Francis of Assisi said it so well.

    At 76 I feel sometimes as though I have had 40 years of wandering in the wilderness before finally being home. Through it all, it is the small pieces of hope, light, encouragement, love, and opportunities to receive and give them each and every day that keeps the darkness of times at bay. “It only takes a spark to get a fire burning …” yours or someone else’s.

    For me in the darkest of times, the hardest struggles from within were conquered by doing for others – little things like helping to pack food for Meals on Wheels, wearing my clown nose and bringing laughter to those in despair – or even just a smile can light up the world around them. Learning to receive is learning to love and give. Tending to the inner children who continue to be a part of you each day in some way, frees the spirit. You learn to nurture them and they will become a welcome part of your life. You find you really are that “super woman” you were trying to be, and that it is OK.

    Lisa, you did that, and because you did you inspire others to stay in there and listen to your inner self. The struggles within don’t stop when you get older, but if you get wiser, too, life can continue to bring blessings among the turmoil, and we can stand tall even when we are small. I have to work hard to be able to enroll in your courses, but value that you tell it like it is and it works. Much of your story is my story and I feel a connection. Time becomes my most challenging force. I make no excuses, I do what I can do with what I have and try to learn how to plan better. I do the work but do not always have access to a computer to send it. Mastering Facebook is one of the things I am working on. Never even had TV as a kid! But us older folks can learn new things and teach the younger folks a thing or two!

    Mindset, memory, health – each becomes a factor. Each day my walk with God becomes more important. Change is inevitable in our world – I try not to let that be a discouraging factor. I cannot change the world, but I can change me as necessary. Though God accepts me as I am, right where I am, I cannot believe that He wants me to stay there. I keep walking and talking and caring and doing. Not knowing where that will take me is part of the journey – a staying part of the journey. Age matters not … just keep your heart and mind and soul in there. One of these days my book may yet be out there. Time, precious time.

  4. Lisa, I wrote a different comment and sent it via reply but it tells me it is awaiting moderation – something I do not seem able to do. I tried highlighting and deleting, to no avail. So, I will try to leave this shorter one. You are not only special, you are a blessing to those of us who appreciate your straight forward, practical ways to do things. At 76, social media is a whole new world of learning, but I can learn from your method of teaching. Our stories have many parallels and I have felt that connection both personally and professionally. Your responsiveness to questions is appreciated as well. We can each reach and connect better having been there. Would love to be in Ottawa – have relatives there.

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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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