Thursday, June 28, 2007


As you work the “steps” of your dream, you will find not only will your dream take a new shape as it grows, but you will also grow from the new experiences you have. Working on a dream can be a life changing experience because it can touch you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. In working your dream, you can develop many different skills you may have never realized you had.

The one thing you can count on in life is change. Many try to resist it or deny it, but it still comes. Without life would be boring and we would have nothing to look forward to. Some become so determined to get the dream they have envision they refuse to “settle” for anything less. They are going to have it all or die trying. Determination is an admirable quality, but don’t let it blind you from achieving something greater than you can imagine. The detours in life can lead to bonuses you would never imagine. It doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t achieve the dream you had been pursuing. Detours can enhance your dream even though they seem to be completely unrelated to your dream.

When I was in high school, I learned my peers felt very comfortable telling me their problems. I decided I wanted to go into social work, but the powers-who-be thought that was an unrealistic goal because of my disability. I was sent to Goodwill for vocational assessment. After two weeks, it was decided that I had a high aptitude for math and it was recommended I go to business college and become a statistician. The powers-who-be encouraged me to follow this plan even though it was not my heart’s desire. I tried. I took business courses for two quarters and then announced I would never be a statistician. I eventually convinced the powers-to-be to send me to college to study writing. The Department of Rehabilitation would not finance an education in social work, but they were convinced of my writing abilities and financed my education in journalism. It was a compromise—I knew I would never follow a career working with numbers, but at least I had an interest in writing.

The irony was that after earning a degree in journalism my first full time job was teaching independent living skills to people with developmental disabilities. I was doing exactly the type of work I wanted to do, but I soon learned I would not go very far in the field with a journalism degree. I was repeatedly denied a promotion because I had “the wrong education.” After three and a half years, I quit my job, moved from Cincinnati to San Diego, and went back to school to get a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.

I have worked 30 years in the social service field. What about my journalism degree? It has enhanced my work in the social service field. I have written articles, created newsletters, and have lead two teams of staff in writing and developing training materials for people with developmental disabilities. Just a few days ago, I committed myself to my lifelong dream—the dream to write a book. Don’t be afraid of taking the detours. It is an opportunity to explore something new that may lead to a new and different dream. If it doesn’t, you can stop going down that path and return to your original plan.

Following your dream is an opportunity to grow emotionally and spiritually. You will discover your life purpose and your heart’s true passion. Enjoy the journey. It is worth living.


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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