Many a high school and college graduation speech is spent telling young people to dream big. Shoot for the moon. Anything is possible!
I’m not arguing with that advice at all. I think dreaming big is great! I also think it becomes harder to do the older we get. When was the last time you went to a retirement party where the advice everyone gives the retiree is to dream big about their next phase in life? Yeah. Me either.
Somewhere between our wide-eyed youth and our cynical old age, the act of dreaming starts to seem frivolous. Childish. Unnecessary. We go from thinking, “Anything is possible!” to “How can I survive this month? (Or sometimes day or even meeting)”. I want to point out that merely muddling through is a very low bar to set. There’s no fun or joy in that.
What if I told you that you could thrive? Would you believe me? Shrug it off? Say you don’t have time for that?
Thriving looks and feels very different from surviving (aka muddling through) and that’s because it has a dreaming component.
Many of us may be out of practice at dreaming, so let’s define it first. A dream is a cherished aspiration, ambition, or idea. I know what you’re thinking: “That sounds great! How do I get one?” The answer starts with questions.
When we’re young, we have questions about everything. As we get older, we start to think we have answers and stop asking questions. A great way to dream is to ask yourself questions. What would I do if money were no longer an issue? What drives me crazy that I wish I could change? What legacy am I leaving for my family? How do I want to be remembered? Am I having the kind of impact I want? What do I care most deeply about?
The list of questions is endless – I’m sure you thought of more just while reading that. More importantly, are you ready for your authentic answers? It’s time each of us had a cherished aspiration, ambition, or idea we were working toward! When you do, you have energy, interest and excitement around bringing that dream to life.
I think the artist (and dreamer!) Jason Kotecki said it best, “The only dreams that have no chance of coming true are the ones never dreamed in the first place.”
Regardless of your age, you need to dream big.
What areas of your life do you need to start reimagining? Can you dream bigger?
#PositiveAction: Spend 5 minutes thinking about and writing the answer to one of the questions above (or one that you made up) and see if it helps to bring a dream into focus for you.