Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, you had a dream for your life. What happened? Maybe you are living it and if you are, a big congratulations to you. But if you aren't, can you figure out why not?
Maybe you pursued a dream and things didn't work out the way you wanted. Maybe life got in the way. It's possible that you decided to follow a practical path or the road you thought people wanted you to follow (your friends, your lover, your parents, your family, that quiet voice in your head that tells you that you're not good enough). It's possible you were unfortunate enough to be surrounded by people who questioned your dreams and that desire inside of you was snuffed out like the flame of a candle.
I have dreams too -- I'd love to tell you what they are, but you might laugh. OK, fine, I don't mind you laughing at my expense, so here they are. I'd like to be a millionaire (I know, doesn't everyone?!). I would like to be a successful book author and motivational speaker (watch out Tony Robbins!). I would like to develop a mobile app and eventually an animated series to coincide with that (yeah, cause no one else in Los Angeles wants to break into the TV business). While we are laughing out loud together, I also want to create movies, including one about my brother Andy Martin's life, and yes, I plan to run for president... of the United States (no, not student council).
When along the road of our lives did our deepest, most unique desires and potential contributions become laughable? I can't answer those questions for you, but I think it's worth pondering. And not so you can beat yourself up for having "lost" your way, but rather, really so you can find a new fork in the road, take it and live a fabulous life.
You might be thinking something along the lines of: "I'm too old, too sick, too broke, too busy to start pursuing my dreams. Maybe I can wait until my practical job is over and I start collecting my pension. Or I could wait until my kids are grown. Or (fill in the blank). People will think I am crazy." Well, that one is probably true. My recommendation is: Get used to it.
So along the winding, inexplicable road of my life journey to achieve my dreams, I have learned many lessons. For example, I had read in some book that stating your goal out loud, in public, in front of other people, would make it more real and help you keep your commitment to yourself. OK, so I tried that.
That's a lot of pressure and grief. A year later people ask you: "Did you finish that book? Did you develop that mobile app idea? How's that going? How is this going?" t felt like a constant parade of my failures.
I had to develop an entire campaign around my psyche that was basically saying: "Heather, you have failed. You haven't completed anything you've started, how will you ever be a success?" I had to dig myself out of the rut of failure to stop sulking in my own inabilities to see that it was all just a temporary delay. And no, if you were wondering, the app isn't built yet, and I am still writing my first novel.
But guess what? I don't feel like a failure anymore. I have learned to turn off the distractions and start writing. I have found a friend who has a natural gift for editing and is helping me with my novel. I had a developer acquaintance offer to assist me with my mobile app, even though I am effectively broke (and he knows it). The best part is that I changed my internal dialogue and kept fighting for myself, writing in my journal that I would keep trying until I found a way to make a good app and to write a great novel. My inner dialogue changed, and at some point, the outside world began to respond to it.
For years I had gone around town networking and making new friends, talking about my dreams, about what was wrong with reality and what I truly wanted from life. I was a broken record (aka whiny). But now, things were moving forward. Progress was afoot.
I will never forget when I visited the Churchill Museum and War Rooms in London years back. The first sign posted at the beginning of the museum said something to the effect of: "If Winston Churchill had died before 1940 you might not know who he is." The dude was in his mid-60s when the defining moment of his life occurred! Leading to his famous quote: "I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial... I thought I knew a good deal about it all, I was sure I should not fail."
How many of us in our 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 20s, think that we have hopelessly lost our way? Imagine living 60 plus years to finally live a defining moment of your life.
I certainly hope it doesn't take me until 60, but if it does, I would certainly rather spend my life pursuing my passion,than settle for something that is less than what I want.