Brass Rings and People Who Don't Matter
I remember, in my early twenties, speaking with a friend of mine who said she was thinking of going back to school. She'd been out for a few years and beginning to rethink her career, so this would have been a big step for her.
I asked her what she wanted to study and she hesitated, paused. Confused as to why, I asked her again. She looked down, whispered, "nursing", then looked up to see my reaction. I smiled. I thought that was awesome, that she would make a great nurse. Because I did.
But it made me think: her hesitation was a product of the reactions she had experienced from others when she had stated her desire to be a nurse to them. She was met with derision, laughter, doubt. This, in turn, had bred self-doubt. A sense of insecurity.
For no good reason.
Because there is never a good reason for self-doubt and insecurity. Just as there is never a good reason to ridicule the goals of others. We have no place to judge, unless it's a judgement of quality, that is made in the interests of positive growth and development.
Yes, there are limits to what we can do. I have accepted, for example, that I will never play for Arsenal Football Club. It breaks my heart, but I've learned to live with it.
But short of those types of situations, there's little else stopping us.
Certainly not the plethora of resources at our disposal today to learn different things.
Certainly not the availability of role models who have tread our path before (and even if there aren't, it doesn't matter - be the first!)
And certainly not the opinions of people who don't matter.
So, the next time someone tells you about something they want to do that is (for them) out of the ordinary, encourage it. Offer positive advice as to how to make it happen. Be a cheerleader.
If they want that brass ring, help them go for it.