Everyone has big dreams. Some bury theirs deeper than others. Deep down under a lifetime of experiences telling them their dreams aren’t possible. Some days the dreamer in you might take over and think, “Wouldn’t it be incredible if…,” but you shut it down right away before that dream can even manifest itself into a goal. You discredit it as crazy and unrealistic in an effort of self-preservation, so you’re not disappointed if it does not come to fruition. You force yourself to forget about the incredible and return to the “good enough.”
Henry Miller once wrote, “One of the reasons why so few of us ever act, instead of react, is because we are continually stifling our deepest impulses.” He questioned, “Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.” Fear is a powerful motivator. It is scary to make a change or pursue a dream. Allowing our dreamer to be heard by the world makes us vulnerable. For she is a reflection of our truest self, the one without a restraint-driven façade. When we finally let go and allow ourselves to get lost in the dream, that is when we really start to create something special.
Life often has a dilution effect on dreams. When we were younger we let the dreamer have a voice. We’d say, “I want to be president.” Or “I want to be a famous artist.” Or “I want to be an inventor.” But societal pressures take over, and we are taught to believe that the dreamer in us is not the voice of brilliance but rather the voice of irresponsibility. And this leads us to settling for a watered down version of our vision. But what if we gave our dreamer a platform? What if we let her speak? What would our lives look like?
After years of silencing my dreamer, I decided to give her a mic. I quit my well-paying job and my upward career trajectory to start back at the bottom, building my own business from nothing more than an idea. The journey has not been easy, but it has been oh so worth it. Every day now feels like I’m adventuring around my own personal playground. Sure, sometimes I still fall and skin my knee, but I get right back up and swirl around a colorful slide with a big ole smile on my face. It’s my playground. And I’ve built it to have all the things I want in it. I’m no longer going down the same straight metal slide over and over again in some public park. Sure, leaving the comfort of a slide already built and a consistent ride was scary, but for me the thought of going down that same metal slide for 30 or 40 more years was even scarier.
There’s a recipe for building the life you want which I tapped into to craft my ideal workday. I have to be passionate about what I’m doing. I have to read about my industry out of choice, not obligation. Because I’m so passionate about my work, I don’t struggle to find motivation to work but rather struggle to keep boundaries in place for when to shut down. I have to be utilizing my unique skills, the things which make me shine, feel valued, feel accomplished. I have to work in an environment which aligns with my values. For me, I need an organizational culture which fosters innovation, demands authenticity, celebrates humor. And I have to know that more days than not, my work is directly correlated with my personal purpose, what I want my life to be about and how I want to make an impact on this world. Now that I have built a life where I am following my passion, engaging my skills, honoring my values, and living my purpose, I sleep better. I laugh more. I care more. I show up more. I’m more the person I want to be because I’m living the life I want to live. You don’t need to quit your job to do this. You just need to start listening to that little voice you’ve told to “shh” for so long. You need to muster the courage. And then, you need to get building.
I don’t want your dreams to be diluted versions of what they once were. I want to help you make them potent. Palpable. Unable to be ignored. I don’t want you to succumb to practicality instead of passion. Not anymore. Let’s let your dreamer sing. Let’s entertain the what if’s. Because when you build them into reality, and you will, it sure is incredible.