The day intention saved a life

Communication - Norma

Norma works with me and I wish you could meet her.  She’d win your heart in 5 minutes. 

Norma’s from El Salvador. The reason she came to America is because she witnessed 3 men murder her husband’s cousin. They gunned him down in the street while he was standing in front of her, and drove away. Then they realized they’d left behind a living witness and started hunting for her.

Norma received numerous death threats so she left her home for another village.  The 3 men were relentless in pursuing her and were closing in on all of her hiding places.

Norma stopped going outside at all.  She lived in constant terror.  

It was emotional torment beyond endurance.

Finally, unable to bear it, she took her 6-year-old son and, with her husband, WALKED day and night for 3 days, staying off the main roads, through the jungles of Guatemala. She arrived in Mexico with bloody feet and legs that couldn’t carry her further.

Then she asked for and received asylum from the US and came here.

When Norma started working for me, she didn’t speak much English. I hired her because of the look in her eye. 

What I saw was bigger than words. 

I saw a depth of character that is rare. 

At first we used Google Translator to communicate. Then I gave Norma a Spanish version of the training material I use when I teach Learning How to Learn, because I wanted her to know that she could learn ANYTHING. It inspired her to sign up for English classes and she learned so fast, it was like lightning. 

Although Norma had a green card that allowed her to work in the US, becoming a US citizen was a very BIG and challenging goal.  I helped her study for her US citizenship test and she passed it.

Then it was time for the critical interview where it would be decided whether she was given the right to become a US citizen.

I told her I would practice the interview with her. She was still a very shy woman and couldn’t look me in the eye as she answered my questions. She sounded very unsure of herself, even though I knew inside she had all the right answers.

I coached her until she was comfortable, could look me in the eye and speak with real intention.  Not aggressively, but with deliberate intent so her communication would fully reach me and have an impact.

The day came. She looked the interviewer in the eye, unfolded her story and consciously unhurried, said very clearly, very purposefully, “There are 3 men in El Salvador who will kill me if I go back. I walked for 3 days through 2 countries to get away from them.  I am safe in the United States.  I will be an excellent citizen.”

Her interviewer’s expression changed to kindness.

Then, with tremendous compassion, he said, “I am sure you will.”

I stood next to her during the swearing-in ceremony.  It was one of the happiest moments of both our lives.

The reason I do this work of teaching powerful communication is because many times the difference between success and failure is not because the person (or cause) is worthy or unworthy.  Unworthy can win and worthy can lose all too easily in this world.

What powerful communication does is it allows the worthy to win.

The power to transform any situation or any person begins with your ability to assume the cause role in your communications.

Be the cause!