When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a television actor. It would be so much fun to slip into one of those characters that fill our imaginations with adventure. Imagine traveling in time and space as Amelia Pond in “Dr. Who” or using forensic science to solve crimes like Temperance Brennan in “Bones.”
My mom would just laugh and say, “You can’t really do that,” and I believed her. I did not study theater and I did not have a career in television.
When I grew up, I realized that those we watch and admire on television and in the movies are just ordinary people. They do not have special powers or supernatural abilities. They are individuals who work hard, master their craft and take risks to pursue their dreams. If other people could have careers on television, chances are I could have had one too. Not everyone wants to be on television, but most of us have a dream. Too often, we allow our dreams to fade away without ever taking the first step to make our dreams reality.
I admit that my mom was a very powerful voice in my life, but sometimes the voice that stops people from trying is the voice in our own heads. It is the negative self-talk that nags from the inside, convincing us that we do not have the talent or the ability to be successful. The voice tells us it is better not to even try than to risk putting in the effort and coming up short. It is the idea that it is not cool to struggle toward a goal, that it is better to just hang out, be tough, and not let things get to you.
The start of the school year is a good time to remind ourselves that we each have potential to do great things and that opportunities exist to help us reach our goals. It is true at whatever stage we find ourselves. Don’t allow those that say, “You can’t really do that” to be in control of your ambition. Take the first step.
Catie Roche is the director of the Robeson County Public Library. You can reach her at email@example.com. Catie is reading “The Accidental Library Marketer” by Kathy Dempsey.