“You may say I’m a dreamer,
but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us.
And the world will live as one.”
That crazy swing of emotion in all directions, paired with an e-mail I got from a reader (I’ll share the e-mail and my response below), got me thinking about the process of creation, and of success and failure in general.
Blank spaces and periods of no productivity are all part of the creative process. But if you’re like me, you beat yourself up during these down cycles. The inner critic kicks into overdrive and outdated stories of idle hands and minds rip around the racetrack inside our heads.
Much like one wouldn’t start a new painting on a dirty, used canvas–we’re not able to create from an over-scheduled, monkey brain. In fact, I don’t know about you, but inspiration holds out on me, until I’ve cleared some breathing room into my day.
Our programming for productivity runs deep, and we want results. Now. But we’re not designed that way.
If we look to nature as an example, there is a rhythm, a cycle of life, a season for everything. Even dormancy. Even in the harsh of winter, life stirs below the frozen ground. When winter slowly recedes, the sun shines for weeks before any sign of life is visible on the surface. Then we begin to see a hint of green peeking suggestively from the branches and soil, all at once it seems to gloriously unfurl from the trees and ground, almost overnight. But it wasn’t just one night—that was only the final visible step. All those barren, seemingly lifeless days were all part of the process of creation. Without even one of those days—it wouldn’t have happened.
And so it is with our dreams and creative pursuits. Anything we are chasing and attempting to bring into our reality. We toil and work into the void. We keep putting our energy in, and it seems like nothing much is happening. We reach out for support, because creation, wether it’s a new business, or the pursuit of a dream, can be a lonely road. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But often people tell us to Get Real. Give it up. Grow up.
“Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.”
But you know better. Those that give up and get real, never do realize their dreams, and that’s why they don’t believe in yours. But it’s not up to them to believe in our dreams. It’s up to us.
Much like a new baby or puppy, you’ve got to love and care for your dream in its infancy phase. We have to surround ourselves with people who believe in us, and will remind us of our own strength and past success when we’ve forgotten. Because we all do forget. We all need that reminder. We have to take turns being the reminder.
And so, as I was struggling last month under the weight of my own delayed dream, I was surprised when the following e-mail landed in my inbox.
Me, I thought? This person is asking me, for advice?
And then two more people surfaced the same week—people I look up to with unmeasurable respect and admiration seeking me out for perspective on how to move their projects forward.
And that’s when it hit me. I have made a huge shift in my life. Even though it hasn’t all gone as planned, I’ve still had some major wins, and I’ve already become accustomed to them. As we grow and better ourselves, sometimes we forget how far we’ve already come. We have to step back and celebrate the wins and put into perspective all that we’ve accomplished. We never ARRIVE. We never get to that point where we think we’ve got it all together. It’s how the human race continues to advance—we’re constantly striving for more.
“Abundance is not something we acquire;
It is something we tune into.”
True happiness, comes in appreciating what we have, at this moment. I have to remind myself to go after what I want full throttle—but then to let it go. I have to anchor in the now, with my efforts pointed toward my future goals, but I can’t forget to live the now. If our four months in Barcelona this winter taught me anything, it’s to relax more often and constantly recalibrate with how I want to feel, not what I want to accomplish. That little shift have changed everything for me.
Anyway, here’s the letter I received and the response I sent:
“I saw you speak one time and you said something about ‘if you don’t like your job…quit.’ You said it with such assurance and belief.
Can you explain a bit more how the real needs of life and family don’t interfere with that optimism? I am lost and miserable. I am heavy in thought and looking at all sides. I want out, and want to build my dream, but am terrified of making the wrong decision and being a failure and letting those that depend on me down.”
Funny thing, this person and their partner, inspired me when they started to build their business on the side of their full time day jobs. Like I said, we all take turns reminding one another of our own greatness.
Here was my response.
I know that place you’re in–it’s a tough one. And I wish I could tell you that the path to success is an easy one. But truthfully, look at me, I’m doing a little shuffle. A few steps forward and few steps back.
I believe there is lots of failure on the way to success.
The difference is those that succeed, keep going. I wish I could tell you that you’ll leap and everything will turn out perfectly. But I can’t. I’m still clawing my way to success too.
I can tell you, I’ve achieve a little more freedom than I had previously. I can tell you I know your family adores you, and I can tell you, I see you do your best for them–and that’s all anyone can ask.
When you’re in that place of fear and it’s draining you of your energy, you have to ask if it’s advancing you in the way you want.
I don’t what the right answer is for you–but you will deep in your gut. If it scares you a little bit–that’s okay. You’re hitting what’s called an upper limit.
What got you to this point, isn’t going to get you to the next point.
A favorite quote of mine:
“If you want something you’ve never had, you gotta do something you’ve never done.”
So I guess in a nutshell, the message is, don’t let fear keep you in the chains of self-doubt. You guys have already experienced a few small set-backs, and some great success. There will be a little more of that along the way, I’m sure.
But one thing is for sure–you gotta go all in, or you’ll always wonder.
I believe in you guys–and you may not know it–but you inspired me to take the leap over a year ago!
I don’t know about you, but I plan to arrive at my grave having sucked the very marrow out of life. Having exhausted every last possibility and opportunity to appreciate life’s beauty. Life can be brutal–we need to enjoy the parts meant for our pleasure. I don’t want to wonder what I could have accomplished if only I’d given it a shot. I rather fail, than forfeit by never even trying.
And though the last month had extreme patches of both light and dark for me, I’m so excited to share some news with you later this week. I can speak from experience-those dormant periods are advancing us. Trust the stillness.
So dreamers–here’s to you and me! Let’s go raise some hell!