The other day I was listening to one of my favorite morning shows, The Dave Ryan and the Morning Show. Yes, I know it’s not the most intellectual show and it really is a bunch of mindless jabber, but everyone has their guilty pleasures. Through their usual daily celebrity gossip and banter, they started talking about a topic that got me thinking about my own life. They talked about stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something you thought you would never do. They asked the audience to think of something significant that they had done in their lives. Then they asked if you hadn’t done that, to think about what your life would be like? My first reaction when hearing those questions was my time with DSPAM (Direct Support Providers of Minnesota), especially this last year as president. My life the last three years has been nothing but extraordinary. They have been some of the best and hardest times in my life. I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. What if I didn’t get that email what seems like forever ago and decide to take a chance? My life would be unchallenged. It would be stuck in a place I don’t think I would be happy with. I wouldn’t know the amazing and strong people in my life now. Before DSPAM I was quiet, naive, and had no clue to the “real world”.
I am only 25 now, and definitely still learning; God knows I wouldn’t have admitted that when I was 21. I’ve learned how to be patient. I’ve learned how important it is to be humble and always remember the people that have helped you. If it wasn’t for their support, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. I have learned that even when you make mistakes, it doesn’t define who you are, and people are forgiving. With that, I’ve learned that it’s important to be honest with others and most importantly yourself to the mistakes you’ve made. As easy as it sounds, that has probably been the hardest thing for me to understand. I think my biggest accomplishment is my growth as a leader. First starting in DSPAM I was a hopeful bench warmer. I didn’t say a peep. Now three years later as president, I enjoy public speaking and I actively jump into projects. Without DSPAM and those who have supported me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I truly believe that anyone who is a Direct Support Professional (DSP) should become involved with this organization and get involved with the issues DSPs face. One of my favorite quotes is “Be the Change you Want to See in the World” by Mahatma Gandhi. Becoming a part of DSPAM allows you do just that. It’s an outlet, a resource for DSPs to come together and talk about what they want to change. It’s a place for support and a way to build relationships with others. It’s self investment.
As my term ends this year, I will no longer be on the board of directors. My new journey is facing graduate school. I again want to thank each and every person that has supported me. I will forever support DSPAM and owe so much to those who have stuck by my side. So, with that I leave everyone with a challenge. Do something you would never think you could do; step outside your comfort zone and take a chance- It could be life changing.
–Lindsay Short recently completed her tenure on the DSPAM Board.