Living Your Dream
When I was a child everyone approved.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood and how my parents and friends parents seemed to encourage me to keep dreaming and using my imagination. I suppose it’s “what you do” when you are an adult listening to a kid. I was always the kid and pre-teen who was mowing yards, selling lemonade, and bartering for money. I was identified as a business minded youngster with imagination and talent with the gift for gab.
From about 10 years old to about 19 years old I heard this line from friends and family: “your so ____ (smart, talented, advanced, wise, etc) for your age”. I heard it so much that I often wondered when I was going to finally be “as smart, talented, wise, etc as my age”. Turns out, for me it was about 28 years old. I still get the ‘wise beyond years’ comments, but otherwise I guess I’ve finally aged enough to match my ideas. I’m 32 now.
Reflecting on my life, I spotted a shift where I went from being encouraged to dream to being discouraged by the majority of people around me.
It happened when I fell out of line, out of the status quo, and demonstrated my independence. I was 20 years old and quit my management job at Gateway Computers to start my own web company. Suddenly, everyone around me wasn’t so sure about my entrepreneurial dreams. Why? Because I was actually acting on it, not just talking about it. At 20 years old, this is where I crossed over to the other side no longer a man with potential and promise, but a spectacle for others to watch silently hoping I would fail and continually surprised that I wasn’t.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s obvious now, almost no one wants you to live your dream.
Now everyone disapproves.
Unlike my child self, as an adult, any time I ask someone else what they think about my idea, everyone, even the people I trust, love, or respect are quick to tell me how it’s not a good idea. How frustrating and disappointing this is.
The truth and what you can do about it.
If you have a dream you want to make a reality. An idea you want to act on. A goal you want to execute. Do it.
Don’t ask what your family and friends think because they can’t and won’t ever be able to embrace your idea – it’s not their idea, it’s not their passion, it’s not their life, and it’s not safe to them. That’s why you don’t need their input or permission to live your dream.
If this scares you, it should. It means you have to act for yourself and you have be willing to go your own direction regardless of what anyone else thinks. It also means there may not be a safety net below you or a shoulder to cry on. If you dream it, you believe it, then own it and do it. Know that others will judge, discourage, and speak against you because its not their idea, it’s not their passion, it’s not their life, and it’s not safe to them.
A few tips to emerge victorious with your dream.
- Don’t give up just because it’s tough
- Don’t be afraid to change directions to reach your goals
- Cut free from the anchors that hold you back
- Surround yourself with people you can learn from (as it relates to your dream).
- Put people with experience and passion in places you lack experience and passion.
- Be persistent. If you hit a wall, go under, around, through, or connect with someone who has the ability to move the wall.
- Be open minded.
- Seek out answers and don’t kid yourself to think you have all of them all the time.
- Keep moving. Action equals results.
- Measure (track, review etc) what you want to achieve or improve.
- Don’t keep yourself a secret. Tell others what you want and eventually you’ll find someone who can help.
- For as much as you want, be willing to give twice as much to get it.
- “No” is not forever. Keep asking.
- The experience of failure means more than easy successes so fail often and keep trying.
- Appreciate what you do have. It could be worse.
- Be willing to share.
- Invest in yourself (books, experiences, seminars, whatever it takes).
I’m still dreaming and you can too.
Knowing all this makes it so much easier to dream as an adult.Now, I don’t expect others to embrace my dreams or my ideas and I’m better for it. It also means I don’t fault the ones I love or respect because I understand the fact that it’s just to hard for them to consider my dreams or encourage them.
Keep dreaming and stop looking for permission. Go ahead and step out of line, do something counter the status quo and I’ll see you on the other side.