Dr Marsha Smalling

Dr Marsha Smalling, principal of Glenmuir High School in Clarendon, hopes that her first published work will bring about positivity and hope in all readers.

“I definitely want it to inspire people to action. I want it to be used as a reference when persons are desirous of transforming their valley moments into moments of value and their sad stories into stories of success. I want to see it being used in our schools, organisations, and churches as a resource for personal, spiritual, and leadership development. I want it to provide hope for those persons who are living with lupus, other autoimmune illnesses, and other chronic illnesses,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Titled Powered Up: Leveraging Six Pillars To Live Out Loud, the book was published in December 2020 and can be purchased on Amazon. The paperback and electronic versions are also available at Glenmuir High School's BookStore. A virtual launch was held at Glenmuir High on Sunday, March 7.

The author said she toyed with the idea of leaving an indelible mark through literature for over a decade before finally starting the manuscript.

“In 2004 I bought the book The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale and it changed my life forever. After reading it, I told myself that I wanted to also create a legacy, through writing, that would impact others in a similar manner. Powered Up was borne out of the desire to help people identify and drive their purpose, rise resiliently from their valley moments, and live their truth unabashedly. I especially wanted to assist in building an awareness of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an illness I have been diagnosed with since 2003,” said Smalling.

Powered Up is the second version of its kind, after the author unfortunately lost the first copy she had spent months working on. However, she believes the mishap was a blessing in disguise.

“In 2019 my hard drive that I was saving the document on crashed and with all efforts, I was unable to retrieve it. I had to start over from scratch and that, of course, caused a bit of delay, but I believe the second version is more impactful,” Smalling told the Observer.

Smalling, who has been Glenmuir's principal for seven years, also participates in a number of other activities. While she is pleased with the lessons she gained from writing the book, there were also challenges in balancing all her responsibilities.

“The high points would have been the periodic gains along the journey. I believe in celebrating small wins. The book spoke to me boldly and so I've never been so powered up as I strive to keep my dreams alive and am willing to do everything within my power to make them a reality. Even before the book was completed, Powered Up was on the lips of my family and friends. As Stephany Blair-Allen said, one of my team members at Glenmuir High, 'Doc, this is more than a book. It's a movement.' The lows are many but as I said, the book spoke to me and so when the challenges appeared, I simply pushed, pressed, and persevered. The lowest points were: losing my work as I mentioned earlier; balancing writing, carrying out my professional responsibilities, serving on various boards, and paying attention to my personal health; bouncing back after my first copy editor disappeared at a point when I needed that service the most,” she explained.

She admires other authors such as, Claude McKay, Maya Angelou, Norman Vincent Peale, Brian Tracy, John C Maxwell, Jack Canfield, Iyanla Vanzant, Lisa Nichols, and Vishen Lakhiani.

Powered Up has been well received so far.

“The feedback has been good. Many persons are surprised that I have SLE and have been able to accomplish so much. They have all indicated that they are inspired and are definitely 'powered up'. When persons start to comment more on the changes they are experiencing as a result of 'working' the suggestions outlined in the book then I can confidently say the feedback has been mega-amazing,” the author continued.

This is only the beginning for Smalling who has other literary ideas in the pipeline.

“I want to write a workbook to go with Powered Up. Powered is a mindset that can be cultivated and I want to invest in creating a workbook that can help us to develop the attributes that will get us powered up. In addition, I am strongly thinking about a series that will help students, teachers, and principals to 'Ace their Space',” said Smalling.

BY KEDIESHA PERRY Observer writer

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