Have you ever given up on something you really, really, really wanted to do saying you are too old/busy/shy etc? The list of why we give up on our dreams could fill a whole blog post! Let’s look at the cost of this – both to you and to those around you.
C.S Lewis said “You are never too old to get another goal or to dream another dream” – here’s a real life example I was lucky enough to hear about recently. Hand on heart folks this is no urban myth – this is the story of a brave lady who decided her dream came with ‘Use by Date : My Last Breath’).
You never know
Once upon a time there was a 63 year old lady who has always dreamt of being an air hostess. Her husband said she was too old, her friend’s husband rolled his eyes in that patronising ‘silly woman’ kind of way and her kids thought she was mad. Luckily the heroine of our story was brave and determined and had the support of a very well organised and kind friend who had a ‘we’ll show them’ attitude.
She wrote her CV with the help of her dear friend. She went to the first interview after carefully choosing just the right outfit with the said friend. She went to the second interview buoyed by a pep talk by her friend. She went to the third interviews knowing her friend was cheering her on. She was offered the job on the condition that she could swim 50 metres.
Oh crap – she had never learnt to swim! Undeterred she found a pool and an instructor. With much trepidation entered the pool for the first time. Two weeks of dedication later, literally exploding her comfort zone in the process, she held her 50 metre swimming certificate aloft. She had achieved her lifelong dream of being an air hostess.
But wait, there’s more, you also get…
In true TV marketing style – but wait, there’s more, you also get…
- Her husband, who has suffered for years with debilitating depression who was so inspired that he has applied for a new job himself. Their relationship is very different now that he sees her as the powerful, brave and determined woman she always was.
- Her friend feeling so proud of her and really enjoying being appreciated for believing in and supporting her. Along with the added bonus of watching her nay saying husband having to eat his words.
- Her son having a new found respect for his mother.
- The airline passengers getting to enjoy her kind and bubbly personality which helps make their flight more pleasant.
- You and I also getting to share in the story of her triumph and whatever feelings that may have brought up for us. Personally, ‘age is just a number’ comes up for me and self-empowerment in action gives me the kick up the butt (in a loving and compassionate way of course!) to push beyond my comfort zone.
High cost of dream denial
If she hadn’t followed her dream, the cost to those around her seems pretty high don’t you think? What a ripple of inspiration she set in motion!
I can only guess at the cost to her personally of not pursuing her dream, but I would imagine she sees herself quite differently after making her dream a reality.
Is dream chasing selfish or generous?
We can feel selfish pursuing what we really love. We think about the impact on our partners, kids, friends and finances. But I like to turn this around – what energy would you put out into the world if you followed your dream versus the energy you would put out if you didn’t follow your dream? Let’s throw some words out there.
Scenario: Following your dream
Symptoms: Fulfillment, joy and empowerment
Added Benefit: You shine brightly and you inspire those around you to shine too. Potential dream Dominos – you pursue your dream which gives someone around you just what they need (action and energy – you say just what they needed to hear with just the right energetic charge to spark a ‘can do’ revolution inside of them) – to follow their dream and when they follow their dream they give someone around them just what they need to follow their dream and so on and so on. Go the knock-on effect!
Scenario: Not following your dream
Symptoms: Resentment, bitterness and victimhood, gnawing yearning, nameless loneliness, defeatism, become a dream killer to others
Added Cost: You radiate ‘life sux’ through your words and actions potentially dragging others into your vortex of hopelessness. If anyone shares their dream with you, you rip it out of their heart and trample it into the dust. Maybe un-pursued dreams go toxic and start eating you up from the inside? A bit farfetched? Maybe, maybe not.
Emm – who would you rather hang out with? Who would you rather your kids were raised by? Which life would you rather experience? Check the fine print – it’s gotta be your dream – not your parents, music teacher’s, golf coach’s, lecturer’s…
It’s not all one way traffic though. Our peers can have us neatly slotted into their mental and emotional maps and when we re-position ourselves we often encounter resistance. Pause to ask yourself who are you pleasing by giving up on your dreams? The people that want you to stay stuck are doing it for their sakes, not yours. Where does your loyalty lie – with yourself or with others?
Carve out a ‘me’ shaped hole
It’s exhausting trying to be a round peg in a square hole so how about you use that energy to create a hole that fits you perfectly. I am not saying it’s easy, I am just saying you’re worth it. No one else can do it for you.
If you still struggle to do it for yourself – then ask if you’d rather create a ripple of inspiration or defeatism.
I went to a contact care seminar last weekend. I didn’t like the seating arrangements because I would have to turn my neck an awkward way to face the speaker. So I politely asked would I be able to move a table so that I would be able to face forward. I also apologised for being a nuisance and selfish but thought others might think the same way. The guy organising it said no problem selfish is good, that it meant i was prepared to look after my self to get the most out of the seminar. He arranged a table and chair for me facing how I needed it. I actually felt good about speaking up for myself and realised how little I have done this in the past.