When Dr. Bertice Berry had all of her scheduled lectures cancelled in March of 2020, she was left with a lot of free time. Dr. Berry had been spending her days flying all over the country to give talks to people about communication and telling stories to inspire hope. When all of that was immediately taken away, she had to figure out her next steps.
She looked at her situation and thought “what can I do really well? What skills do I have that I can use to help others?” Dr. Berry knew she had a couple of strong skills – sewing and inspiring hope. This resulted in sewing over 20,000 masks for people in need, and led to her teaching and inspiring others through some of the hardest challenges that have been faced.
We all have these skills and Dr. Berry talks about how we can use those skills to make things better for others. Through her fantastic storytelling, she motivates the audience to find hope through their own stories. She shares about how powerful it can be to decide your own story. It can help frame how people see you, but also how you see yourself.
In one story, Dr. Berry explains how she would often travel for work and was at the airport when a little girl at the gate began to get a little bit out of control. Dr. Berry purchased a movie and the two of them began to talk and watch it together on her phone. The girl had an instant change in her behavior and calmed down and gave her a little token of appreciation – her doll’s glove. Dr. Berry showed the glove and talked about how it has served as a reminder for her about all the great people in the world and how her positive attitude can spread and make a difference.
Dr. Berry approaches big cultural topics through meaningful events that happen on a personal level, making her ideas easy to understand for anyone. Please check out her fantastic lecture about hope and storytelling here.
What inspires you? Do you incorporate hope into your life? What is a skill that you have that you think – or already use! – to inspire others?