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  • Rebecca P. Cohen

Rebecca P. Cohen Hosts Mars Ambassador Program

What sparks extraordinary for you?

For six months, I had a week blocked off on my calendar for a trip to South Africa. I knew it was going to be amazing. Thanks to the Mars Ambassador Program, I would get to spend a week doing what I loved: teaching others to grow food from seed, teaching them to teach others (in particular kids!), and then go out into the community and put it all into action. Heaven!

The week was even more extraordinary than I imagined. How is that possible?! How can you amplify something that starts as amazing on Day 1 and continues for five days?

Video used with permission from Mars Incorporated

Since the day that I registered my LLC in 2007, my life has been a series of extraordinary coincidences. As a practitioner now of the extraordinary, the constant in me is the learning and practice to work toward a defining thread in what allows amazing things to happen: the more I clear the clutter and worry of my brain to focus on what is truly, truly important to me, the more the extraordinary comes into my life. But the extraordinary is not something you *control*, it's quite the opposite. You have to uncover what YOU want, be prepared for it, and then get out of your way to let it happen.

I dissected the experience to understand even more what made it extraordinary:

+ The people around me were extraordinary. Every person I met in South Africa and every person on the team from around the world made a positive impact on me. They wanted to be there; they were ready for a new experience and to make a difference in during the week and at home.

+ We started with authentic connection. We learned in our introductions what what was important to everyone else. Instead of asking, "Describe what you do," I asked, "Tell us about your passions and interests in life." In that instant, we became a group of lifelong friends, ready to support one another with what was most important to each of us.

+ We got out into the community. Travel and beautiful sites are fabulous. But interacting with and connecting with people about what is important in their work and their community is everlasting and creates a spark that resonated with every person. How each person chooses to act on that spark will be different. But, each person's 'ah ha' moment will likely impact their company and community for the better for years to come.

+ Teamwork and co-creation were king. In a team of committed individuals, there isn't anything that can't be solved. Even better, Mars employees are phenomenal. At an intuitive level, they were consistently going above and beyond. As a leader of the group, my job was to display the flexibility to allow the group to lift themselves up to their fullest potential.

+ The potential of a seed is extraordinary. Before last week, I knew that there was extraordinary potential in every seed. And now that knowing is somehow amplified. In dozens of planting events over the last year and a half, I practiced my passion for teaching schools to grow food from seed, sometimes 1,000 children at a time, from 2 to 13 year olds. Their excitement was always extraordinary and infectious: the teachers became excited, and then their parents, and so on.

Something as simple as planting a seed is a life skill. When spread to the world, planting a seed is a concept that can change the world. When every child knows how to grow food, we provide access to food AND nutrients that help young minds and bodies not only grow, but also thrive.

The extraordinary is the reward for preparation: the meaningful and sometimes extremely difficult work of self reflection, forward action, and continuous improvement. As a dear friend and successful business woman said to me on this week: "You can't always travel on sunny days." There is so much to my learning that has resulted in extraordinary over the last five years that I think I'm ready to write my next book.

So what's next for me? If I could do what I did last week for every week for the rest of my life, my life would be overflowing with joy and impact. You can bet I am working to make that happen.

So what's next for you? Get a packet of seeds (you can even grow things like lettuce and cilantro on your sunny windowsill). Get in the game of writing down what you want and watching it show up. Or simply stay connected on my Facebook page.

Wishing you memorable moments outside, every day.


About Rebecca P. Cohen

Rebecca P. Cohen believes time outside transforms our lives for the better. PJ's Backyard Adventures is the latest project from Rebecca, author of the book 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids (Sourcebooks), and creator of Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards. Rebecca’s work has been featured in countless media outlets, including USA Today, Parenting, Redbook, Working Mother, and Family Circle. In addition, Rebecca has appeared on live morning news shows around the country, and is also host of the video series, Get Out of the House, which shows fun ideas for time outside in every season. For Rebecca's inspiring blog and free downloads, visit