Four years ago, a terrified look much like a deer in headlights came over Lydia’s face as she knew the moment had come for her to stand in front of her peers and present her argument in the class debate.
Her shaking hands said it all… this was an absolute dreadful moment at the beginning of her high school career. She stood up, collected her thoughts, and looked at her notes. Standing beside her, she looked at me and whispered, “what if I make a mistake”- we all do-it’s okay- I responded.
Lydia spoke for less than a minute… sat back down and let out a huge sigh.
With a teeny little smile on her face, “I can’t believe I did it.” Believe it, kiddo.
A week prior to the class debate, she came to me and said, “I’ll have to take the zero for this, I’m not good at public speaking.” I asked her to sit down and we chatted about what she was good at.
“I’m a good swimmer and I love writing” she replied. Our discussion led to her desire to study writing in college and eventually write her own book someday. Only, someone told her she shouldn’t so she buried her dreams.
I’m sure this is something that resonates with many of you, I know it certainly has for me. Whether it is a family member, teacher, lover or friend trying to extinguish the flame of what keeps us going towards our dreams- always keep the embers burning.
Ever heard of Catherine Lanigan? Her professor told her she didn’t have what it takes to make it as a writer.
Ever seen the movie Romancing the Stone?
Yep, I thought so. Great movie! How about Jewel of the Nile?
These movies were only two of the 35 books that Catherine went on to write after her talents were dismissed by someone who told her she shouldn’t.
I’m not- is easier to believe than- I Am.
I can’t- is easier to believe than- I can.
Do the work.
I shared with Lydia the story of a guy I went to high school with who had a true passion and talent for making videos and telling stories. He would enlist the help of all his pals and could frequently be found in his backyard creating what most would consider very bizarre films and according to some “a waste of time.”
It wasn’t for Tom.
He went on to become a camera and film director for shows such as COPS(whatcha gonna do…), Amazing Race, Dating Naked(never a dull moment on that set!) and directing several documentaries on the war in Afghanistan. Rather than ignoring his critics, he took them along for the ride so they too could see what it looks like when your dreams become your reality.
It took my favorite author Steven Pressfield twenty years before he saw his first book published- Legend of Bagger Vance also made into a major motion picture starring Will Smith and Matt Damon. Pressfield has gone on to write many more outstanding books such as The War of Art, Gates of Fire and Turning Pro.
Now in her final year of high school and in my class once again, Lydia is a confident, young lady -who is also the president of our literary club and upon graduation in 2017 will embark upon her college years. Her major… Creative Writing.
Thanks, Catherine, Tom and Steven.
You never know who you might inspire by being authentically You.
See ya on the mountain