I dare to dream greatly; I dare to fail greatly. I dare to tolerate the ashes of my unfulfilled dreams, for I may dream again. I dare not tolerate the ashes of my unfulfilled life, for I may never live again. – Philippos Syrigos
During my third year of junior school we were encouraged to write about the job we wanted to do when we grew up and everyone started scribbling furiously. Everyone, that is, except me. There was simply no point because I was going to marry Donny Osmond – so I wouldn’t actually need a job!
My teacher, Mrs. Hope, noticing my inactivity, came across and asked why I wasn’t writing anything and I duly offered a full discourse on my marital intentions. Sniggering abounded (from Janie James, in particular – I really hated Janie James …) and I was told in no uncertain terms that it was not a ‘Proper Job’ and to write one down immediately.
With Mrs. Hope standing over me and giving me ‘The Look’, I grabbed my pencil and reluctantly scribbled ‘air hostess’ – because then I could fly to America and in my free time travel to Utah and …
Mrs. Hope ‘Gave Up.’ (Hope!)
Well she had to really, because my dream was to be Mrs. Donny Osmond and nothing, nay nothing, was going to stop me. I spent forever standing in front of my dressing table mirror, replete with veil (Gran’s net curtains), my two ‘Bridesmaids’ (Mickey Most and Rusty – cat and dog, respectively) positioned behind me. The ‘Groom’ was a slightly more problematical matter because, of course, I wasn’t yet old enough to fly to America and in my free time travel to Utah and …
Let it be said, though, that I was an exceptionally resourceful bride to be – if I positioned myself in front of the mirror, slightly to one side and stooped, Donny’s image would be smiling back at me from the wall behind and we looked just like the perfect couple so in my head the dream was absolutely complete!
Of course, my dream didn’t come true (although Donny, there is still time ….) but the point I make is that I had a dream – outlandish and completely unlikely but a dream nonetheless.
The foundations of doing come from our dreams and you probably have as many littering your life path as I do. They flutter around behind us, popping in and out of our psyche – some make us smile whilst others make us wince, but they need to be captured and brought to life in the best way that we can.
Doing so, however, is much tougher as you have probably realised and a good starting point is to look back and examine some of those that have fallen by the wayside.
This needn’t be tedious or overly long because there are certainly some dreams that should stay just that – they are the little flights of fancy that give us the warm feeling and keep our minds alive – we whip them out like a comfort blanket (Did I mention Donny Osmond …?) when times are difficult or dull and put them away again for future use.
So take a look back over the past few years, or further if you wish, and jot down a few of those dreams that have never progressed. Are there any obvious reasons for this? If not, have a think about some of these:
Guilty as charged – boy is this one of mine. I get completely bogged down in the detail and obsess about the silliest little things that would, in all likelihood, sort themselves out as I progressed – if only I allowed myself to actually progress! The problem with doing the detail to death is that it just creates more problems. It’s a hard lesson understanding that part of any process is to make mistakes but fear of making them can be a major factor.
Yep, me again. Now, we are always told that planning is essential for any goal, which of course it is and you have likely heard the saying ‘A goal without a plan is just a wish’ – but again, like perfectionism, you can over plan your goal out of existence and it has to be said that it is a killer of innovation.
Just as detrimental as over planning – one of my favourite quotations is ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’ so the planning process is completely necessary although it can seem like an absolute faff!
Looking Too Far Ahead
You have this big, beautiful dream, all the steps planned out and then grind to a standstill because you keep looking to the completion and become overwhelmed and demotivated by all that you have to do!
Looking Too Far Back
Life is difficult. Things go wrong. Sometimes we fail. It’s hard to forget. Living in the past is easy and a convenient tool to whip out when we want to apportion blame for present inaction.
Form Over Function
You could also call this ‘Talk Talk, No Walk Walk’ – you love the idea of the big idea, sit and dream about it for hours, draw up pretty plans, boast to anyone who will listen about what you are going to achieve and then …. do absolutely nothing because it gets no further than your head.
It’s great to dream big but you do need to temper it with a healthy dose of realism and give your dream a judicious trim! (Sadly Donny it just wasn’t meant to be …).
This is harsh but I have come across more than one or two for whom it is absolutely true. The reality is that all the dreams in the world are not going to make a jot of difference because they are quite happy to plod along doing very little – which actually isn’t a crime but you just need to be honest about it.
All in all, it may well be that you are quite happy for all past dreams to stay fluttering around, preferring instead to put all of your efforts into future endeavours. This is perfectly fine but I would hope, however, that by having a look back and gaining an understanding of why your dreams never got beyond the flutter stage you will be able to look ahead with confidence and be ready to catch all those that are heading your way.