I am often asked what made me able to accomplish the things I have at my age. My answer is simple. I was willing to try.
I’m a regular teenager. I wouldn’t consider myself gifted, special, or anything else. I’m just someone who thinks “I can.” Sometimes that is all it takes.
I have done lectures and workshops for young people all over the country and the greatest ideas I’ve heard have come from other youth. Sometimes those great ideas never take flight because the kids who came up with them are looking at all the reasons they can’t make it happen instead of all the reasons they can! Thinking that you “can” will soon turn into believing that you “can.”
And once you believe it – it will begin to happen for you. There are emotional, physical and financial resources available for kids who want to do something great for their communities. Volunteers and mentors are out there who share your dream and are willing to step up and help. They are just looking for someone with a vision.
I know as kids we say “when I grow up I want to be…” I’m here to say, START NOW! You don’t have to wait until you grow up to make a difference in this world. And isn’t that what we all want to do? Make the world a better place? I believe with all my heart that we design our own futures.
We have the power to make things happen for ourselves. Some worry that someone won’t “let” them do what they want to do. Do your research, show people why you can. You don’t need permission from anyone but yourself to step up and make a difference. If you believe in yourself, and your abilities, others will too. Your passion and belief in yourself will bring the resources and support you need to make it happen.
I’m not saying that there won’t be a few roadblocks. One of mine included a rare and aggressive bone tumor! But drawing from the lessons I had learned starting a non-profit as a pre-teen, I found the strength to realize that even that setback was temporary. It was vital to me to get back to my projects as soon as possible because it helped me see myself as whole again, even if it was from a wheelchair at first. Now I’m back on my feet, walking without assistance.
We all have heard the old saying “keep your eye on the prize.” That works for me. I know what the end result is that I want, and I believe it can happen. That has brought me results every time.
Don’t wait to be asked. Be the person who ACTS. You know you have it in you. As I said before, all it takes to make a difference in your community, your country and your world is to be the person who is willing to try. After that, everything else falls into place.