This is the final installment in the series "Impossible To Inevitable: Dare To Dream Big.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined. -Thoreau
Your future is being written every day between now and the end of your life. Every choice you make, every action you take, every dream you empower or dismiss, will become the story of your future. Your future will be whatever you choose it to be, right now. So what's it going to be?
In February, when I began writing this series, the economy was already in the sewer, the stock market had crashed, job losses and home foreclosures were mounting, fear was running rampant.
With the exception of some recent gains in the stock market, little has changed here at ground zero. We're still in treacherous times, however, according to a recent poll, a majority of us believe that President Obama's trip to Europe has put America back on the right track in its relations with the rest of the world. We hope the infamous "corner" we're looking to turn is coming into view, or as Nobel-prize winning economist, Paul Krugman said on The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday, "Things are getting worse more slowly." Would that be cause for just a teensy bit of optimism? As in, one or two drops in the empty glass?
With all this in mind, I started this series on the Impossible Dream nine weeks ago to give us something to focus on other than all the bad news. (You can find all the articles in this series in my author's archive.)
In launching this series, my thinking was that if you and I could find what stirred our hearts, what fired our passions, what inspired us and called us forth to be bigger than our fears, bigger than our circumstances, we could use that energy to break free of the gravitational pull of current conditions and launch ourselves into creating a future based on what truly matters, instead of what would have us merely survive these hard times.
Along the way, I've heard from many of you, as you've struggled to break free of that "pull" of fear and uncertainty that underlies most of life today. In response to last week's article on The Paradox of Failure: The Other "F" Word, one reader wrote that she and her husband have lost everything in going for their dream of financial security through real estate and that now, in their late 40's, it was too late for them to pick themselves up, re-invent themselves, and go on. She couldn't see a way to hold these circumstances as part of the learning process. It was simply a devastating defeat for her and she feels stuck there. "What to do? How can I possibly learn anything from this?" she asks.
Learning to handle failure effectively is a critical part of the journey. Life doesn't just unfold in a straight line. Mine certainly hasn't. At age 67, I look forward to the possibility of continuing to re-invent myself every day, having known my share of loss and disappointment and yes, failures. But also I've learned that every day is a new opportunity to begin again.
Life happens. We have the circumstances we have. Those are the facts. But it's up to each of us what we make out of them. You could give up and settle for feeling like a victim. But what power is there in that? There's no cheese down that tube, so you probably want to make a different choice.
Failure is life's way of blowing the whistle and calling a time-out. Time to take stock, look, and re-invent what's next. We only "fail" if we don't get the lessons from what happens. So don't be afraid to fail. It's a necessary part of learning. Think of a 1 yr old, just taking its first steps. What happens? She falls down! Failure! Then what? She gets up and goes again. She falls down 100 times, but gets up 101. THAT'S what counts!
Where's the "cheese" for you R-I-G-H-T N-O-W?
Here's where it is for me: I'm choosing to relate to these current circumstances in a way that empowers me, which is to say that I'm choosing now to go for my own impossible dream of writing that book that's been beckoning to be written for at least 30 years.
If not now, then when?
In spite of the fact that the publishing industry is cutting back and conditions would suggest this is not the time, I ask myself, if not now, then when? It's truly now or never. Time to launch my own dream or give it up, and that is not an option on my playlist. So I've used these past weeks to get very serious about my book.
Writing this blog has been an important part of that process. My book proposal is nearly complete and I'll soon be looking for an agent and a publisher. I know, I've heard everyone who says, "Forget it. It's impossible to get published today. You're better off self-publishing." That may be true. But, I have to put it out there and discover for myself what's possible.
What about you? Isn't it time to finally launch your dream? Time to take action, time to generate enough torque to break out of whatever fear-based thinking has held you back.
Picture a space ship sitting in its launch pad. In order for it to break free of gravity, it needs the booster rockets to generate an enormous thrust so it can overcome the earth's gravitational pull. The same holds true for you. To break free of what holds you back, you need to start taking action. Now.
Set up a S.M.A.R.T. Action Plan - How many? By when?
Set yourself up with S.M.A.R.T. goals- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
condor101 noted in a comment last week, that in spite of having tons of good ideas he finally realized he'd been paralyzed in F-E-A-R and never took action on them. After reading Tom Szaky's book, Revolution In A Bottle, he realized it was time to actually do something with those ideas.
He's now committed to setting up an action plan with specific steps and accountability built in. You might want to check out that book yourself. It's on my upcoming reading list as well.
condor101, let us hear from you about your action plan.
The accountability piece is critical. This is why it's good to have a group or coach or friend who will hold you accountable for what you declare.
To mark the completion of this series and transition to what's next, our Facebook group, The Impossible Dreamers has undergone a face lift and is now called Dream Launchers. Same group, new name. You can jump on Facebook and join us here. Let's go after it!
What step will you take today to launch your dream?
Here's our final inquiry for this series. Let us know what you discover.
Imagine you're at the end of your life's journey. You've come to the final lap and you're about to graduate from this classroom to what ever is next.
1) Looking back at your life, what mattered most? Who were you?
2) Did you leave any stones unturned? Did you live with no regrets?
3) Did you live fully, passionately and with an open heart?
4) Did you love well? Did the people you love know how much you loved them?
5) What difference did you make for others? Did your life matter?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
- Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"
Someday, you may look back on this time, this moment in your life and in history, as the time when you got real, dug deep, and took your life to a new level. Maybe you'll see that it took these tremendously difficult circumstances to force you out of your slumber and get on board with living your most authentic, creative life.
I'm pretty sure that's what I'll be saying about my own experience of these times.
I'll be going for my dreams until the very end. And after that, well, we'll see.
We are completing this series, but manifesting the dream continues as part of our daily lives, so let's keep hearing from you about how you're doing and what you're up to. Your comments here help to expand our conversation, so let us know what you think and I'll endeavor to respond. Your voice does matter!
Now go launch your dreams!
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Godspeed to you, as you journey along this path, and thanks so much for being part of this reader community.
I'll be taking next week off, so I'll see you back here in two weeks.