Mentor Tip: Getting Help with Setting Goals

Send this message to the mentors only.

Subject: Mentoring tips on getting help with setting goals

In my next message to the electronic community I will ask members to share experiences about setting high standards for themselves. Please share your experiences. To stimulate ideas, consider the following statements made by successful people with disabilities.

  • My parents....taught me never to say "I can't" at anything I try. That's why I'm where I am and who I am today. (high school student with a mobility impairment)
  • My mobility teacher made me confident in my ability to learn, which has helped me maintain high expectations. (college student who is blind)
  • My parents actively sought help for my hearing impairment in the forms of speech therapists, audiologists, and teachers to make sure that I had an equal chance in public schools. (college student who is deaf)
  • I was not treated differently than my brother and sister in any way because I could not see. They expected me to perform as well as I would have if I could see. This did not just include academic performance; it included everything, such as personal grooming and communication skills. (computer scientist who is blind)
  • Three factors were of primary importance in setting my internal standards for performance and achievement.
    1. My mother always thought that I was a little better than most at whatever I undertook, even when she was wrong. Her attitude taught me that I could undertake anything that I was willing to set my mind to, even when I was mediocre. In school, every time I got lazy and did poor work, I got told that I was working "way below my abilities."
    2. I was very competitive, for grades in school and in the athletic activity of my choosing—fencing.
    3. A friend of mine who I met fencing had polio when he was three years old and had severe motor loss in both legs, but he still fenced, making up for his limited mobility with an incredibly fast and strong hand and arm. He was quite successful in competition. Therefore, when I got polio at twenty-five years of age, I knew that it wasn't the end of the world and that I could do anything anybody else could as long as I could sit down to do it. (adult with a mobility impairment)