11 Dec Bracelet of Hope World AIDS Day Gala

What would you say if I told you there’s an organization devoted to ridding an entire country of AIDS?

Many people would say that’s impossible.

I recently had the honour of serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the Bracelet of Hope World AIDS Day Gala. Bracelet of Hope is a Canadian organization committed to ending the AIDS pandemic in Lesotho, Africa. Their vision is ‘One country, AIDS-free’.

Three years ago I met the founder of Bracelet of Hope, Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik. We were both speakers at a TEDx event in Waterloo, Ontario. When I watched her speak, I was struck by her passion, drive and focus to rid the entire country of Lesotho of AIDS, but I assumed that it was an impossible goal. I mean, come on. That’s crazy! AIDS is insidious. Lesotho has rampant poverty and a health care system that’s poorly equipped to deal with even the everyday ills of its citizens, let alone an AIDS pandemic.

To rid an entire country of AIDS – particularly one with 25% of the population HIV positive –  is an incredible vision. Many would assume that it’s impossible.

Picture of Dan Trommater and Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik

Visiting after the Talk with Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik and her husband Barry.

I’ve had the chance to work with Dr. Zajdlik at three different World AIDS Day events. I’ve seen her speak and have sat and talked with her. The more I learn from her about emerging medical technology, partnerships with the World Health Organization (among others), and the passionate drive of everyone involved, the more I believe that not only is possible, it’s going to happen.

So what happened in my mind to shift me from my assumption?

I learned.

Dan Trommater on stage doing magic

I always use magic to engage the audience and create visual metaphors about the topic at hand. Note the red and white Bracelet of Hope on my wrist.

Instead of relying on the bits and pieces of information (or misinformation) about HIV/AIDS that I’d picked up from various sources over the years, I actually got some education on the facts. By having a grasp of even the most basic facts about the topic, I realized that my belief was just that – belief.

Belief can be a powerful thing. It can bolster us up and empower us. Unfortunately, belief can also hold us back. It keeps us warm and cozy in our sheltered ignorance and prevents us from seeking out actual evidence.

Imagine if Dr. Zjadlik had believed that AIDS was inevitable? Think of all the lives that she’s saved that would have simply been lost.

We are all susceptible to these unconscious assumptions about the world. The trick is to remember to check yourself.

So, what do you believe that is holding you back? To discover more about how to shift your beliefs check out my recent LinkedIn article 5 Ways to Challenge Your Assumptions to Overcome Workplace Conflict.

 

Dan Trommater Selfie

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