We aren’t taught to dream small. It’s probably safe to say that none of us sat on the swings at the playground in elementary school daydreaming about the day we would be someone else’s second in command. Or third. Or twenty-seventh. None of us laid in bed at night in footie pajamas, falling asleep to visions of breaking our backs one day so we could hand over all of huge chunks of our hard-earned cash to The Man.
In our dreams we don’t fade into the background. It’s just not how dreams work.
If we’re dreaming of being in the Superbowl, we’re catching the winning touchdown, not filling the Gatorade jugs.
If we’re dreaming of being a fireman, we’re crashing through the window of a burning building and saving the life of the child in our hands, not feeding the hose off the back of the truck
If we’re dreaming of being a doctor, we’re holding someone’s beating heart in our hands and stopping off a dangerous brain aneurysm, not shaving 20 year-old bunions off their toes.
When we’re small, our dreams don’t have the filters that eventually fall upon them as we get older. Yes, you wanted to be a ballerina, but now you’re too tall and there’s no time or money for dance lessons. You wanted to be a race car driver but it’s far too dangerous now and you have a family to think about. It’s true that those are the dreams in our reality that have to be considered. That family you’d take a bullet for. And that bank account that’s going to protect your future. Yes to that.
But at what point did you stop wanting to stand out and be the star or the hero of your story. We know it isn’t impossible. We see people do it all the time. Masters at their craft - whether it be business or the basketball court - who have made it happen for themselves and are balancing their dream and their reality. So we know it’s possible.
If we had to take one guess, the number one thing holding you back from stepping out is fear.
It’s comfortable to be comfortable. That comfort zone isn’t bad at all, really. Stable. Dependable. No surprises. Every day like the next.
The backbone of our country, and maybe the world, was built by men and women who sacrificed their dreams to dig in and go the dependable distance. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there were dreams, most likely in situations where people knew they’d never be more than that. In war-torn countries and for people born into societies that offered no chance at a bigger life. Sometimes a dream is too big. Or misplaced.
But what about your dream? Look at it. Is it possible? Is it that far out of reach and so filled with risk that it should be abandoned?
Do you have resources available? Is there still time? Do you still dream about it? Has that swing you used to sit on become a desk chair in an office where you aren’t ever going to stand out? If you have kids, are you laying in bed with them while they fall asleep at night, telling them to dream of middle management and 2 weeks, maybe 3 weeks paid vacation?
You’re telling them that they can do anything they want and be anything they dream, with hard work and courage. That the biggest dreams are only within reach and that they are destined to stand out, as long as they try.
Maybe it’s time you told yourself the same.