Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Breaking Barriers

More years ago than I care to admit, I told my parents that I wanted to spend a semester living on a ship, sailing around the world. I can’t remember their initial reactions, but I imagine they were both proud and extremely curious. No one I knew had ever done anything like it—not even close! Besides fighting in a war, no one in my family had even traveled outside of the country. I’m sure they wondered where I got the nerve to think that I could do something so unusual and so fantastic.

I believe that every one of us has at least one opportunity to do or become something greater than what we’ve been exposed to or have personally witnessed. Your concept of doing greater could be to start your own company, pursue a creative career, research a cure for a debilitating disease, travel the world, or start a non-profit organization. No matter what, you are absolutely equipped and able to live a life outside of the norm and more than your surroundings have offered you. If you dream of becoming the first person in your family or neighborhood, or even the first person of your ethnic background, religion, or gender to accomplish a goal, there’s a reason why you’ve been entrusted with that particular goal. Someone needs to break that barrier and it’s quite possible that that someone is you!

Fortunately, my dream of sailing around the world did come true. Had I focused on the fact that no one I knew had ever done so, I could have allowed my excitement to give way to anxiety and missed out on one of the most influential experiences of my life. You don't need anyone to go before you to clear the way or give you permission to live out your dream. When it comes to breaking down barriers someone always has to be first. Why not you? Release yourself from the limiting idea that because no one in your family, from your side of town, with your last name, of your ethnicity, or of your gender hasn’t accomplished something that it indicates or predicts your level of greatness. You are an individual. You determine how far you can go. Besides, someone has to be first. You might as well be the one.

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