Achieving your goals, becoming successful, growing as a person and spouse: all of these require that you do things you haven’t done before. The unknown looms. That millions of people have done the same thing before means nothing in the face of the uncertainty and dread over how badly you might fail. Left to fester, fear becomes a permanent block. It can destroy your pursuit of greatness, leaving you with a small, shabby life.
I remember taking my driver’s license test. Hour upon hour of drivers’ education, drivers training, and practice with an experienced driver meant nothing when the tester entered my car. Nor did the fact that tens of millions of people had gotten their licenses. I was sure I would hit a parked car or worse a moving one and fail. At sixteen years old I had met the person who would usher me into the world of the possible, I just hadn’t absorbed the lesson yet.
We can’t recall if we met in 1973 or 1975, but Rik Carter and I have been friends for four decades, maybe more! Both big movie fans, one day he called me up and asked those fateful words:
“Do you want to make a movie?”
ME, a filmmaker?!
His next questions defined out relationship. “How much money do you have?” Pooling our resources we had enough to buy one roll of Kodachrome. And so began the filmmaking career of Rik and Kevin, aka Carmel Cinema Productions (we were clever in those days, using our last names CARter and BeMEL).
I could regale you with stories of our escapades around Santa Barbara, California, jumping off a cliff, scaring a couple of police officers half to death. But I digress.
Fast forward a couple of years and Rik was performing in the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland. Though I was several months shy of my 18th birthday, he convinced the people running the parade they should hire me.
ME, a professional hoofer?!
Then he got me into the coveted role of Arch Pusher. One night, dressed smartly in my “It’s a Small World” gondolier’s costume I was happily skipping and dancing down the parade route with my five cohorts, all of us pushing a Small World doll on a wheeled platform with a bright arch of lights over it. The parade stalled in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle so we decided to put on an impromptu show.
Cartwheels, back handsprings, and flips abounded. People went wild. Each of us strove to top the fellow before, rousing the crowd to applause that drowned out the music. The sound was deafening. No drug-induced euphoria could have been better.
ME, a star?!
(Author’s Note: Because of Rik’s influence I never tried any kind of drug. Yes we were among the squarest young people maturing in the 1970s.)
Rarely by word, but always by deed, Rik showed me you have to pursue your dreams. He has lived his life that way. Because of this great friend, I have the memory of the screaming crowd in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle to remind me when I step out of my comfort zone and put my heart into it, the results are electric.
I hope you have a friend or relative like Rik. More importantly, if you haven’t connected with him/her in a while, do so, NOW. Keep the memory of triumph aflame in your heart, to burn up fear and to light the path to achievement and success!
Who believes in you more than you do?
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© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved
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