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  • ben26023

Why not you? Dream big

Why not you? It’s time to dream big You may have heard the saying “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”, and it has particular meaning to this week’s topic. What happens when, you’re looking around the room, and you realise – it’s you; you’re the one who is supposed to stand up and lead the way... I’ve been really busy lately; the ‘good’ kind of busy where you’re flat track but gaining some real

momentum and can see progress. I was looking back over my diary recently and reflecting on the conversations I’ve had, and I had one of those ‘ah ha’ moments. Two years ago, when I started my journey of trying to influence change with regards to accessible tourism in the South West, I would have counted myself lucky if I was able to sit down with just one of those people in a week. Yet here I am with a diary filled with appointments with key decision makers and media outlets. That’s not to say it’s been an easy journey. I’m not sure where the switch happened, but two years ago I was very hesitant to put my ideas forward. I didn’t feel like I was the person to lead the charge, or my ideas were worthy of initiating these types of conversations. I simply didn’t have enough runs on the board, so to speak, to command the type of respect key decision makers should listen to. But how wrong I was. Now, I have no hesitation about sharing my thoughts and ideas with anyone who will listen. And I’ve no qualms chasing down those key decision makers, sitting them down, and telling them why they should listen to me. So, what happened? Self doubt and modesty is such a natural human instinct. I simply didn’t believe that I had the clout to lead the charge on accessible tourism. But, I’m thankful that I have an incredibly supportive group around me who believed I did. Without the love, support and encourage of my family, friends and wider network, I would never have had the courage to step out (pardon the pun) and demand better accessibility within the tourism sector. We often sit around discussing lots of different topics, and they were the ones who gave me the confidence to turn my ideas into action. You can’t underestimate the feeling of being safe to voice your thoughts and ideas to a group of people. No matter how grand and audacious my ideas can and have been, or whether they believe in them or not, my support group has always made me feel safe to share them openly. That’s an incredibly powerful feeling. Having that sounding board allows people to get past the first barrier, which is one’s own mental limitations. Those feelings of self doubt and lack of confidence. But once you take that first step and put those ideas into the world, often you’ll find the rest is a little out of your control. In my experience, good ideas take on a life of their own and they quickly gain momentum. Those of us who rely on a wheelchair will often say momentum is our best friend (less pushing!) and I’ve found that to be true when it comes to the work I’ve been doing in the accessibility tourism space. My message here is pretty simple: back yourself. Take that first step. Don’t be afraid to fail because, trust me, you will...and that’s ok. Sometimes it’s from our failures that we learn the most, and it’s all part of the journey anyway. Don’t wait for someone else to take the first step. Be brave and do it yourself. When you look back to that moment two years on, who knows where you’ll be.


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