Today is the fifth anniversary of James meeting Soma. I can still see it like it was yesterday. That day changed everything! I am so grateful for Soma and for RPM and for every person who has helped him in this journey. Mostly, I thank God! I thought it was fitting that when I asked him for a recent essay to put on the blog, this one titled “In Your Wildest Dreams” had just been written. He wrote it for the Endependence Newsletter this month.
“In Your Wildest Dreams”
A career is a life changing path. It can be a way to find your purpose and network with other people as well. As a person with a disability, there will be many hurdles to face on the path of chasing your dream. Other people will doubt your abilities, your understanding, and your independence. However, one thing you can control is belief in yourself and overcoming fear and self-doubt.
There are many misconceptions about what a person with a disability is capable of achieving. In times of astounding awareness, our abilities are tattered by everyone’s stereotypes. Beliefs determine action, and in most cases, we, people with disabilities, are treated based on the belief that all of us are dependent on others and can therefore not contribute to the workforce. Not a minute goes by that I don’t pay attention to the assumptions of others. Each interaction in our communities is an opportunity to break a stereotype and challenge an assumption. We can change the assumptions others make and cause people to think that maybe we are not all the same.
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. After the battle with others is behind us, the attitude we have with ourselves is very important. Doubt is very common when pursuing any dream. It is easy to allow yourself to think only about what could go wrong. One of the most important components needed to overcome doubt is preparation. Having a plan towards your goal will help you feel like that goal is very much in your reach. I have been fortunate to have an unbelievably supportive family and team of teachers and mentors surrounding me. They have been so confident in my abilities, that it has helped me overcome times of doubt and fear. The plans we have made and executed together have helped me in reducing anxiety in times of fear and encouraged me to believe in myself and my abilities.
If you have a passion, talent, or calling that you have identified, it is so important to follow that path with full confidence. We are more than capable of achieving our career goals of being entrepreneurs, model employees, or graduate students. With support from others who believe in us, we will believe in ourselves and achieve things many thought would be impossible.