Where Did All of Our Big Dreams Go?

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I have to believe they are out there - or rather in there.

Inside each and every one of us.

For some, they are bubbling under the surface, only needing one affirmation or positive encouragement to burst to life. For others, they may be burrowed deep down inside, a result of years of being told the stories that are too common in our everyday life - “you’re not good enough, not strong enough, not worth it.

You don’t deserve it. You could never do that.

But I still believe they are there. In all of us.

This of course is a direct consequence to my belief we are all capable of greatness. That each of us, as crazy as it sounds, has the opportunity and capacity to change the world.

But I still question why I don’t see these dreams being shared more.

And it saddens me.

These dreams, or Big Hairy Audacious Goals, are the most effective life fuel I know of. Despite being years and even decades in the future, they will be the eventual culmination of the hundreds and thousands of micro-influences, touchpoints, and experiences I am having today.

And that in part is one of the key points.

Anything that we do that is truly remarkable, that leaves a dent in this world, doesn’t happen in a day. Or a week. Or a month. In this journey towards our dreams lies the greatest reward that life has to offer.

The pursuit.

As I think about my BHAG’s up on my wall I realize there are several scary feelings that immediately overwhelm me. Frightening at first, I quickly realize I have been having these conversations with myself for decades.


I quickly talk myself out of listening to the Gremlins and the negative stories in my head.

This is what they try to tell me…

Our dreams scare the people we tell - and that fear is realized in ourselves

I stopped keeping track of the number of times I have been laughed or scoffed at when I tell them: I’m going to play Division 1 basketball, I’m going to win championships, I’m going to play on a National team, I’m going to win National championships, I’m going to be an entrepreneur, I’m going to be an executive, I’m going to work remotely around the world, I’m going to the Olympics…

The truth is. Your dream will scare most people - the same people whose dreams have been forced deep within themselves. And the easiest thing to do with that fear is somehow reflect it back to where it came from - you.

This is one of your dreams first tests. Take it as a compliment, if you get this re-action it means you are setting out on a remarkable path. Acknowledge that fear, but also realize that that’s all it is - someone else’s fear for reasons that you can’t control.

Failure is looming in every step and at every obstacle in the road.

Remember those people who laughed or scoffed at you? Oh yea, they are actually rooting for you to fail as well. Because in failure, their fear based reaction to your dream is affirmed.

And failure is inherent in chasing any dream. And it is actually the prominent catalyst to getting there. Talk to any leader you look up to, a business owner, an athlete, a movement starter and you uncover story after story of failure that were critical to getting that person to where they are today.

Those of you who are dreamers know it’s not about how many times you fail. Failure isn’t by any definition a reflection on who you are as a person or your pursuit of a dream or BHAG.

It is the action directly after any failure that defines you.

This is the same with anything in life. The only difference with your dream is that there will never be just one failure or let down, and they will grow and become exponentially more challenging as you get closer to realizing that vision.

Again, acknowledge this inherent, necessary part of the journey and keep in mind as the road gets rougher and the naysayers multiply, you are making forward progress.

There is no textbook or roadmap to where you’re going.

That’s right. If a million other people had done it you would not be defining it as the one thing you are truly striving for in life.

You’re swimming against the current in unchartered waters. Full of uncertainty, doubt, and second guessing.

Seek out those influences in your life that can help act as your guides, both at a tactical level and simply a support level. Even though you will still be swimming alone, these guides will help lift you up and steer you in the right direction when you need it the most.

At times, many times, it will be lonely.

Really lonely.

As with many of these points, the greater the pursuit, the bigger the Gremlin. And this one can be a monster.

It gets lonely because at a certain point, no one is there doing it with you. Your ability to relate to others and vise versa decreases as the challenge and terrain gets rougher. This doesn’t only mean that the amount of actual physical time you spend with others will decrease, but the ability for others to express empathy, compassion, and support to you will become increasingly difficult.

Hold your tribe close. They are the only ones who will do whatever it takes to show you they are there no matter what, and more importantly to remind you that you can do it even when you have lost faith in yourself.

Because you will.

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What it boils down to.

At the end of the day, our dreams make up a broad spectrum. Some want to be Presidents and World Leaders, some want to have a profound and life changing impact on the students they teach or the team they work with.

These gremlins scale too. But if you are pursuing something you classify as a Big Hairy Audacious Goal - something that lights you up and at the same time scares the hell out of you. Than these challenges will be there no matter what.

But if you’re willing to share your dream with the world, and do everything you can get there. Each day of forward progress (even when that means failing and getting back up again) becomes the most exhilarating and exciting experience in the world.

You will begin to crave these moments of triumph.

The energy earned will overflow into every aspect of your life.

And you, and all those around you will realize more light and happiness in their life because of the mark you are leaving as you begin to change your world by chasing your dream.

I dare you.

Photo credit: Juskteez Vu

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