Having a dream, having a plan, and having a burning desire to see something come to life means little if you don’t have dedication. Going into the new year it’s essential that you understand even the best laid plans will fall through if you don’t go in with realistic expectations. Nothing gets done overnight, nothing is accomplished without hard work, and trusting in the process, in the journey, is a must.
If anyone knows that, it’s Bernadette. You first learned about Bernadette when I interviewed her for a spotlight about the disease that has changed her life, Charcot Marie Tooth. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or CMT, is considered to be the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy affecting millions worldwide. Despite being so common, many people suffering from Charcot-Marie-Tooth suffer through years of misdiagnosis because most doctors cannot recognize the symptoms. CMT is debilitating, and often painful, with symptoms including high arched feet, hammertoes, foot drop, clumsiness, an awkward gait, loss of balance, weak ankles or other weakness in the extremities, and neuropathic pain.
When we last checked in with Bernadette, she had already finished the filming on her documentary, the first ever following somebody with CMT and showing what their life and struggles are like. The ground-breaking documentary was being pitched, shown wherever possible, but word wasn’t spreading about the film quite as quickly as everyone hoped it would.
A year ago she told The Indie Chicks, “I’ll be pushing to make sure the documentary is seen by as many people as possible to raise awareness about Charcot Marie Tooth.” Today, I can report that she has done just that. Not only would her article here become a resource for those looking for information on CMT, but Bernadette, the documentary, was picked up and released by Cinema Libre films. After 5 years of work on the documentary and spreading the word on Charcot Marie Tooth, Bernadette’s dream of having a worldwide release of her film has come to fruition.
Who better to discuss what it takes to be truly dedicated, to carry out a plan over the course of 5 years, and to define a badass warrior with a can’t quit attitude? I sat down with Bernadette recently to discuss just that. Here is her advice on following through on dreams despite the obstacles in your way.
A Time Line Beyond Your Control
When you are executing a plan there are certain factors that are outside the scope of your control. It could be a printer who gets delayed, a healthy time to lose x amount of weight in, or the progression of steps between point A and B. For Bernadette it came with the realization that nothing in film happens fast. The natural progression of filming, postproduction, editing, and then pitching the film to studios, takes time. Through that entire process Bernadette kept pushing for awareness, promoted the documentary, and got word out. She couldn't rush the time line along so she found ways to keep busy.
A Lesson in Dedication: She may not have had control over the timeline of the film release but she could make sure that enough people cared about it that a studio would have been crazy to not pick it up, eventually. She did her part while others did theirs. She didn’t sit passively waiting for her dreams to come true, and neither should you.
Count Nothing Out
Aside from the documentary being picked up, Bernadette recently realized another dream of hers that she’d almost given up on. She’s driving again! After 2 years of being at the mercy of other people, Bernadette is now waiting on her own custom made van with hand controls so that she can reclaim some of that independence she loves so much. It was a goal she wasn't sure she'd be able to make come true but she fought like hell to make sure it did.
A Lesson in Dedication: If you want it badly enough you’ll find a way around the obstacles. Sure it’s difficult to get a van that works for Bernadette and she had to re-test for a driver’s license, but she did it! She saw a chance at more freedom and she didn’t stop until it was a reality.