"When there's a burning in your heart, an endless fury in your heart, build it bigger than the sun, let it grow. When there's a doubt in your mind, 'cause you think it all the time, framin' rights into wrongs, move along"
-Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie)
Dreaming big is scary.
Dreaming small protects you from changing much. Pretty simple. If you just dream small you really don’t have to worry about failing. Maybe no one will notice. If you do, it doesn’t hurt that much because you didn’t invest that
much. It is easy to play it all off. You know, you really don’t have to change anything succeed or fail.
But when there’s a burning in your heart… I have it too. What do you do with it? Do you just fantasize and put it on the wheel and give it a spin to see if it comes back around because right now isn’t the time? Maybe next year will be better. Maybe next year you’ll even sit down with it and dream a little more, filling your soul with all of the possibilities. Life would be grand, but “when there’s doubt in your mind, ’cause you think it all the time, framing rights into wrongs, move along.” Move along. Spin the wheel. Maybe next time.
I get it, most of us don’t want to upset the apple cart. Things are “fine”. It is easy to acclimate to the new normal and justify its existence. If I can be perfectly honest, my record on stepping out of my comfort zone is horrible. My hand is usually forced before I make big changes. The doubts creep in. Rights look like wrongs. But I’m still standing. Taller. I’m walking. Straighter.
Dreaming big takes commitment.
It takes action. It takes vision. You have that. What is commitment? Commitment is making a promise to yourself that you are going to pursue the dream. Commitment is understanding that the dream grows and changes as you do. It might look different in a year (if you take it off the wheel).
What is action? Action is engaging in choices aligned to the dream. If your intentions are right, your actions will be as well. If an action takes you off course, it is a feather in the cap. It is wisdom you keep. How valuable is that?
What is vision? Vision is seeing the dream in process, past, present and future. Vision is conceptualizing the infrastructure, piece by small piece that supports the dream. Like the dream, the vision grows and changes with each action. Sometimes the greatest roadblock is clamping down too lightly on ultimate goal. That is what failure is. It perceiving a mismatch between expectation and outcome without any ability to reconcile the difference. Allowing vision to be fluid keeps the gears greased.
So what about the small dreams?
Let’s try an experiment. Take your big dreams off of that damn wheel. Play with it. Envision life in that dream. Bring it to life with words, pictures, and your imagination. Close your eyes and watch it play out in front of you. See all of the pieces magically appearing. Let the doubts float. Let the persistent doubts inform you about issues you’ll figure out when the time comes. Revisit the dream every day. Live life where you are. Now dream small. Dream the little dreams that fit life now, but point those little dreams at the big dream. Small dreams and big dreams require the same to find fulfillment. They all take commitment, action and vision. Do this and see what happens in a month, a year, a decade. You’ll be amazed. And hey, what happens if a small dream doesn’t pan out? You learn from it and find what does work and keep dreaming and engaging. Dream on, yo!
I love talking dreams. If you would like to talk yours through, don’t hesitate to reach out.