(Estimated reading time 2 minutes)
For many years I didn’t think about dreams or goals. It was an effective strategy to ward off the disappointment that comes from failing to reach them, but it led me to a type of flatline existence. Brene Brown says that you can’t numb selectively; I avoided disappointment and in the process diminished my capacity for joy. It’s only in the last few years that I have developed any tolerance to be with what is uncomfortable, and that has lead me directly to the expanded capacity to grow, to contribute and to dream. There is something utterly magical about being in a state that is wide open to possibility, where the future is not framed only to keep out disappointment. There is risk in dreaming, yes, but there is also a sense of untapped potential and an aliveness that comes with knowing there is the possibility of something more than what is now.
I’ve learned something about allowing myself to dream over these past years. I learned that if I start from a place of fear, the dream dies before it is born. I learned that if I imagine only what can definitely happen, the hope is too small and will not hold me. I learned that when I grab hold of something that seems at best improbable and at worst impossible, something that flickers in me with the faint but resonant hope of what if … then I may have found a dream worth fighting for.
Dreams are not for the faint of heart or for those unwilling to do battle with the shadows that emerge when one challenges the status quo. If the Smaug-like inner critics raise their thunderous voices, we dreamers raise our defiant cries in return and pursue the dream with even more tenacity. Holding a vision takes fierceness, courage, persistence, dedication, focus and faith. When we dream we expand our capacity not only for what will be but also for what we will become.
My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones. Some succeeded, some failed, most had mixed results… but it is the effort that’s heroic, as I see it. Win or lose, I admire those who fight the good fight. George R.R. Martin
I’m a writer and coach, who is passionate about helping ordinary people move beyond what is holding them back so that they can live extraordinary lives. You can connect with me here or learn more about coaching with me.