You can do anything with the right team of friends: A message from Ashley Wagner

When I was little, I was always told “you can do anything you set your mind to.”

That sounds like a really outlandish statement to a 10 year-old. What do you mean anything? It’s such a broad, seemingly unattainable, daunting, statement. It makes your mind go in a million different directions and it’s hard to place your finger on what “anything” could become.

I quickly found out that anything is possible, but it’s no accident. In the midst of competitions, I’d see my friends go enjoy their weekends when I had to stay in to get up early for practice. This feeling was bittersweet, as I could see the reward but I also saw what I was missing about being a normal kid.

April is Alcohol Responsibility Month. It’s because I surrounded myself with positive friends who shared my dreams, and never forced me to compromise on what I knew was right, that I did become what I wanted to be: an Olympian.

It can be difficult to open up to friends about your dreams – I found that the people who ultimately drifted from my life, were those I found the most difficult to be myself around. I always felt like they were pushing me to be something I wasn’t. Their separation from my life is no coincidence. The best kind of friends want you to be true to yourself. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

At times, it’s hard to see the big picture. Obstacles such as peer pressure and drinking underage make that vision even more difficult to see, but the friends that help you can make a huge difference in your confidence to succeed. Take this month to really think hard about your goals. What is your anything? How do you see yourself getting there?

Talk with your friends and get back to me. Both myself and the Ask, Listen, Learn team want to join you to join the conversation about standing up for what you know is right and finding a positive, proactive group of friends to inspire you to do something GREAT!



Ashley Wagner is Three-time National Champion and Olympic Medalist Figure Skater.
*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( or any member.*