Have you ever had that lump in your throat because you were about to embark on a journey you’ve never been before? I’m not referring to a leisurely drive across state lines or making a big ticket purchase on your credit card. I am talking about a life altering decision that carried with it an enormous weight of consequences. If you’ve ever taken a leap of faith, whether in relationships, business or personal growth, you know exactly what I am talking about. At some point in our lives, we will face something that forces us to rise to the occasion. I believe that we cross a threshold from what we dream of into what we are ready to conquer. No wonder Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said in her commencement speech at Harvard, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.”
But where do ‘Big Dreams’ come from? Are they just our subconscious way of alerting us to things to come or a rally cry for us to dig in and get ready to work? I will be honest; these are tough answers to come up with. As a coach, I work with clients to see the obstacles and work their way through them. Sometimes I must admit, that is easier said than done. I used to think this made me some sort of hypocrite. I later found out this simply makes me human. I have learned through the years there are reasons our dreams seem insurmountable and just as important are some ways we can begin to dictate the conversation going on between our ears.
• Dreams scare us because we haven’t developed the proper skillsets: What if I told you that you can have anything in the world you want, if you’re willing to work for it? I know tons of people who fall in love with the first part of that statement and totally ignore the latter. The reality is, you are only a few skills away from the life you are dreaming of. But it is going to take time to hone your skills, become direct in your focus and discipline your time to obtain them. The only difference between you and someone who is where you want to go is the time they were willing to invest into themselves. I think we are often too obsessed with the destination and not at all concerned with the preparation.
• Dreams scare us because there’s still a lot of stinkin’ thinkin’ going on: There is a dominant voice that roars within us. It sounds like whatever you believe. If you take the time to listen, you are always saying something to yourself. The objective is to move toward saying things that are affirming and not damaging. The reason is you hear this voice more than any other in life. And usually it morphs into an echo of all your naysayers, critics and people waiting for you to fail. Just remember, if you’re hearing negativity in your head, it must be an echo. Change your language and the good stuff will catch up.
• Dreams scare us because we still reside in a town called ‘Excuse-Ville’: Excuses are the tools of the incompetent, building monuments of nothingness. Here’s the real deal; you can make excuses or you can make history, but you will never do both. I like to think of excuses as extra baggage you’re trying to bring onto a life boat. There’s limited room so bringing excuses along will sure make you sink. But some are so attached to their ‘why’ they never see their real potential. Excuses hold us back and must be confronted to be broken. Trust me; you can’t afford to be passive about making excuses any longer.
There are no quick fixes or magic potions to help get you to your goals faster. Many have wasted their lives looking for shortcuts. When you and I commit to the work and work through the process, it puts us on the right journey. I love the quote that says, “Sometimes your only mode of transportation is a leap of faith.” There are bumps; there are failures and certainly plenty of frustration. But in the end, once you stare down your dream and finally see the fruition, it gives you what no other emotion can. So if you are lying in bed at night wondering how in the world you’re going to make this thing happen, cheer up, you’re in great company.