Have you ever been underestimated and/or discouraged by others when pursuing your goals or dreams? Gabby Douglas was certainly underestimated. Listening to the commentators last week, you would have thought she wasn't qualified to be on the Olympic team. There was constant second-guessing, dismissive comments about her difficulty focusing, and expressions of incredulity that she earned a spot in the individual all-around competition over a favored teammate. Clearly, they didn't know what Gabby is made of. They treated her like a "scrub", but she showed them she is, indeed, a champion. According to Gabby's mother, Gabby Skyped her before the individual competition to ask if she thought Gabby could win. After her mother said she knew Gabby could win, Gabby went out and did just that. Despite the naysayers and the incredible pressure, she turned on her magnificent smile, remained poised, and excelled at her craft. Then she took the winners' podium wearing her gold and a smile. In the law we use the term "res ipsa loquitur", meaning the thing speaks for itself. Gabby didn't need to address the naysayers--the gold medals around her neck spoke volumes.
When I was in high school, my guidance counselor underestimated me and tried to discourage me from pursuing my dream to become a lawyer. In his opinion, since no one in my family had attended college, it was best for me to pursue a career as a legal secretary. Although I thought a career as a legal secretary would be interesting, it wasn't my aspiration. Thanks to the encouragement of my family and a different guidance counselor, I went on to college and law school, and have enjoyed great success in my legal career. I never felt the need to return to tell that guidance counselor he was wrong. I just used his underestimation of my capabilities to motivate myself and to encourage others to pursue their dreams.
So for those who need encouragement, I say to you today, don't let others deter your pursuit of your dream(s). Don't give up unless you choose to do so. Others won't always support your dream; learn to encourage yourself. Work hard, be determined, diligent, focused, and poised. Work toward your dream like there's no tomorrow. And once you've achieved it, smile and let your gold (your accomplishment) speak for itself. Give 'em the Gabby.