Friday, April 20, 2007

STRATEGY 2: Know Your Dream

You have a dream! Good for you—you are on your way! Having a dream is like going on a journey. Think about it. Could you pack a suitcase if you did not know where you were going? You would not pack the same clothes for Phoenix, Arizona, as you would for Denver, Colorado, in the middle of January. Right now your dream is a great idea. It makes you happy to think about it. It may even excite you to think about it, but now it needs to become a great plan if it is ever going to become a part of your life.

Before a dream can come true, you truly have to believe it is possible. I believe there is a scene in Peter Pan where Tinker Bell becomes sick and the only thing that can save her is to have everyone say, “I believe.” The positive affirmation of all the children present restores Tinker Bell back to health. Belief is a powerful tool when you have a dream. Unfortunately, it is not as magical as it was as a child. As an adult we often let doubts and fears get in the way of our beliefs. That means we have to work harder and do more than just say, “I believe.”

A dream is more than a wish. It needs work. It needs to be nourished and receive attention in order for it to grow into a possibility. It takes more than a day to grow from an idea to a possibility and then into a reality. When I was about 14, I planted pumpkin seeds on the backyard. Shortly, sprouts appeared, then leaves, then vines, then flowers. Some of the flowers had little green balls under them and I naturally assumed that someday those little green balls would become big, orange pumpkins. I watered them and cared for them waiting for the pumpkins to appear. It never happened. I later learned that the pollen of the male flower had to pollinate the female flower—the one with the green ball—in order to produce a pumpkin. The bees had not done their job. Neither had I. Lack of a step in the process prevented getting the end product. I could simply blame the bees, but it was my lack of knowledge that failed to produce a pumpkin. The following summer I planted pumpkin seeds again. This time I did not leave it to chance—I pollinated the flowers myself and got pumpkins.
Dreams, like life, have no short cuts. Dreams have a process that needs to be acknowledged and followed. Omitting one small step can doom the dream to failure. Exam where you are and what you have now to help you turn your dream into a reality. Picture where you will be and what you will have when your dream becomes your reality. Then you will know it is time to celebrate your success.
Linda Thompson, MSRC, has 30 years professional experience serving people with disabilities as instructor and advocate. As a keynote speaker, she addresses audiences of parents, professionals, care providers, students, congregations, and business administrators/employers on the importance of recognizing the individual and abilities rather than the "labels" of disabilities. "People with disabilities are people first. Our disabilities are second."

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