From The Publisher

Beverly DenverBones of Success

For a very long time, I've been a huge fan of singer, songwriter, actress and author Reba McEntire. Back in the 1980s, when she burst on the national scene, it was all about her music. 

I loved her unique singing voice, your energy and her dynamic presence on stage. It was fun to watch her star shine and rise! Always, I cheered her on. An avid fan, I watched for stories about her and updates on her personal appearances. When she showed up on a stage in Houston, I was there to applaud. When there was a story about her in a magazine, I bought that magazine. 


Later, when she got into acting — in movies, on stage and television — my emotional investment in Reba grew. I realized by then what an extraordinarily gifted woman she is. Her talent seems to have no bounds. For me, watching her do her thing is truly inspiring. Over time, I've come to "know" Reba and admire not only her talent but also her wisdom. I really like the way she thinks. 

Some of my favorite Reba-isms are what she says about success. Once she said, "Success or a sense of accomplishment is no reason to stop."

In a sentence, that probably explains why Reba has never shied away from trying new things or taking on new challenges.

Another favorite Reba-ism is this one: "To be successful, you need a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone."

I love that!

Recently, I was asked to speak to a group of female high school  students. I used Reba's words as the framework of my presentation. 

I talked about the importance of knowing what you wanted to do  (having a wishbone), the courage to set lofty goals (having a backbone) and a good sense of humor when things don't go exactly as planned (having a funny bone).

I asked the students to write down on a piece of paper their top three wishes. After a few minutes, I asked them to write down what was preventing them from making those wishes come true. Before I could get to the next exercise – writing down what each needed to do to overcome those obstacles — I was interrupted.

A young woman in the back of the room stood up and timidly said, "Ms. Denver, I think I know where you are going with this. I know what I want to do with my life. I know what I need to do to make it happen. But something keeps me from 'going for it.' Isn't there a way to succeed without a backbone? I don't think I have one!"

A few of the other students laughed, but many did not. Others stood up and admitted their own reluctance to dream big, to try to do what they really want to do with their lives! I heard the expression "no one in our family" more than once.

That made me think about Reba McEntire again and what she said when asked how she could possibly accomplish so much. I shared her words with the teenagers: "Sometimes, you just gotta have a want."

The students smiled and nodded, acknowledging the power of that message.

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