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Living with Purpose: Susan Edwards

People whose lives have purpose and meaning report being happier, healthier and more optimistic. They see their lives as part of something greater than themselves and feel drawn toward making a contribution.

After purpose takes hold, we just
cannot keep ourselves small any longer.

Marion Stoddart & Susan Edwards

Marion Stoddart & Susan Edwards during filming

Sometimes a single event can awaken purpose with such a passionate vision that it changes the entire direction of a person's life.

Documentary filmmaker Susan Edwards is a perfect example.

Susan recently told me about the day in 2007 when, even though she had no clue how to do it, she realized she had  to make her first film.

At the time one of her heroes had been environmental activist Marion Stoddart, whom Susan had gotten to know when they had worked on a past political campaign together.

Susan knew that while raising three small children in the 1960s in Massachusetts, Marion had organized a massive citizen effort that led to passage of the Massachusetts Clean Waters Act of 1972 and to the Nashua River, one of the 10 most polluted rivers in the U.S., getting restored to a pristine state.

Susan Edwards

Susan Edwards

Because of these accomplishments Marion was seen as an exceptional woman and many people placed her on a pedestal.

But that day in 2007, Susan saw another side of her hero.

The two women were sitting at Marion’s kitchen table sipping tea and catching up. As they chatted Marion revealed that looking back on those years when she had been saving the river and  raising her three small children, she now worried that she hadn't been a good enough mother.

“Oh my God,” thought Susan, “Marion is just like the rest of us! She has self doubt – she thinks she isn’t good enough.”

Susan realized that if women could see this personal side of Marion, they would understand that they are like Marion  and that they can make a difference in this world, too."

Susan had no film-making experience, yet she assembled a team and devoted the next three years to documenting the personal and inspiring story of Marion Stoddard. In 2010 her film, "Work of 1000", was released and went on to win film festival awards.

Wenzday Jane

Wenzday Jane

And now Susan is at it again.

Susan is Executive Producer of “Power to the Pedals,” a film just being released this week. It tells the story of Wenzday Jane, a young woman who discovered the bicycle as a route out of poverty and now leads a movement to replace trucks with cargo bicycles for short haul trips,  reducing our carbon footprint one bike at a time.

This is just the beginning. Susan plans to keep giving us the stories of visionary women who are leading social change.

As her over-riding purpose she says...

"I’m working toward a world where there is love, care
and protection of all people and the planet.”

What is your  purpose?

Believing in your purpose and potential,


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