Ordinary People Leading Extraordinary Lives

by Robin Bush, ISR Communications

Many people have turned their ordinary passions into extraordinary achievements.  How do they do that?

Debbie Allen, 71, who, against the odds, became an award-winning choreographer, actress, producer, and director, says, “To make things happen, you must believe in yourself, and you must continue working on expanding your talent and your technique because just when you think you’re there, you’re not.  There’s always something else you can learn.  I’m still a student, and that’s what makes a difference.”

Twyla Tharp, 80, a young girl from Indiana who became a nationally recognized choreographer, dancer says, “Have a sense that you can do it, and if you don’t, you’ll fix it; you’ll make it work, and you’re going to laugh this time…You may not have gotten what you set out to get, but there is something to be learned from everything.”

Brian Sminga, 65, a young man with imagination who became a highly acclaimed software developer and founder of TEDxAsburyPark, is deeply curious.  He turns his curiosity into action for himself and his community.  His advice?   “Never retire — if you are no longer working for an income, then advise a school, a nonprofit, or a startup.  Pick an activity that keeps you moving.  Spend as much time as you can outdoors…  Be intergenerational…  Ask the right questions of smart people.”

So be bold; it’s never too late.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.  Younger or older, we can all achieve extraordinary things as long as we decide to take the first step.  You, too, can make a difference for yourself, someone else, or our community.  Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t, least of all yourself.  We are all extraordinary people.