Thursday, May 24, 2007


You must see where you want to be! If you want to be an astronaut, you need to see yourself inside the space ship launching into space. If there is something you want to accomplish, picture yourself achieving it. Athletes see themselves throwing, jumping, running, skating, and swimming faster or better than anyone else. If they didn’t, they would be content to watch from the sidelines. To be a winner you must see yourself as a winner. Paint a beautiful picture of your moment of achievement within your mind. Visit it often. It belongs to you. No one can see it, criticize it, or destroy it. Use it to energize you, excite you, and motivate you to take the steps in your journey to bring you to that moment when your dream becomes your reality.

As a child, I wanted to do all the same things my non disabled friends did. My friends, like most children, liked riding bikes, so I rode a bike. No matter how hard I tried, I was never able to balance a bicycle on two wheels, so my bicycle always had a sturdy set of heavy duty training wheels. This was acceptable to my friends, who were just glad to have me along. However, by age 12, my greatest hope was that when I turned 16 I would be able to get a driver’s license. When I shared this dream with my orthopedic doctor, I was told I would never drive a car and would always depend on family, friends, and taxicabs for transportation. I refused to believe him. I was going to drive a car someday. I was resigned to the possibility that it may not happen at age 16 and that I may have to wait until I was of legal age, but I was determined that someday I would have a driver’s license. Surprisingly, at age 18, I was told by the same doctor who said I would never drive that he thought it was time for me to try to get a driver’s license. It took a very courageous mother, 2 driving instructors, and several failed driving tests before I was award my first driver’s license.

It is important to note that the year was 1967. Only people who were paraplegic and used hand controls were considered for a driver’s license. I suppose no one in their right mind would enable a person who walked on her tiptoes with her knees bent and her arms flailing through the air to legal become a driver. At the time, I failed to see it as a small step forward in the disability movement. To me it was a personal victory—my driver’s license was my key to achieving the independent life I wanted to have. It was just the beginning of a long road paved with endless possibilities.

No matter what your dream is, there are people who will say it will never happen. They be right. Certainly, if you choose to listen to them they will be right. No effort equals no success. Even if you only manage to achieve a small part of your dream, that part may lead you in a different direction in which you achieve more than you ever dreamed possible.

Try, evaluate, decide, and go forth. Life is an endless road of possibilities. Live to discover them!

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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