“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”  Mark Twain

I recently had a conversation with a friend who, frankly, was insulted by her peers and without some perspective may start to believe what they thought of her. As an objective bystander I shared this message from Mark Twain with her and reminded her of her abilities and talent. She was grateful to hear a different message.  

I have had conversations with each of my children at various times in their development, speaking in to them regarding their potential, and I have specifically told them to never allow small people to define who they are or what they can do. If they pay them any attention, it will be at their detriment and frustration. I would remind them that, although their mother and I are not small people, they are not even to allow us to define who they can be. We, of course, want them to develop into the most complete version of themselves, and although Joan and I have ideas of what that could look like, we raised them to think for themselves and create the life that they want. They are all great, and I am convinced whatever it is they decide to be I will be a fan and be proud of them.

This reminds me of several occasions in my early life where, for whatever reason, I had taught myself this great lesson and completely dismissed what people in authority over me were saying and the limitations they were trying to put on me. Interestingly, I have never lacked for self-esteem (some consider this a gift, others a curse). The next time we get together I would love to share a story or two about how this resolve and perspective manifested in my life at a young age.

This morning, it occurred to me to share this liberating message with you.  Regardless of your age or station in life, if you are reading this, it is not too late to dispense of the messages and memories given to you by small people. Empower yourself to dream, create, do and be amazing. I believe in you.