The other day I was helping my daughters create “dream jars”. I gave each girl a mason jar and they decorated the lid to help us keep them all separate. Once the jars were ready I gave them scraps of paper and told them to write down their dreams. It could be anything that they wanted to accomplish, do, see, experience, or have in life. In my head, I was imaging all these amazing things that they would write down, someday accomplish, and then think back to the day we did this activity and appreciate the good start I gave them (I know, I know). Then, one of my daughters shared with us something she wrote on one of her pieces of paper—”Be in a taco eating competition”.
Seriously?! Where did this even come from? So, as the girls laughed together I explained to them that they needed to write things they actually wanted to do and I told them not to share what they were writing with each other. I have a “class clown” middle child that loves to be silly to get laughs. I thought, just maybe her ideas would become more serious if she wasn’t sharing them with her sisters. But, instead the conversation went like this:
Me: “Don’t share what you are writing with each other.”
Middle Daughter: “What’s the point of having dreams if you can’t share them with anyone?”
Oldest Daughter: “Boom!”
Lessons we can learn from this
My first response was a laugh. She is constantly coming out with things that surprise me. But, then I got to thinking. She did have a point.
1. We need other people
We are made for community and relationships and dreams can be a whole lot better when shared with someone else. It gives us someone to push us towards bettering ourselves, someone to keep us motivated, and someone to celebrate our wins with.
There is also something about sharing what we want to accomplish out loud with another person that helps cement it into reality. You can dream about something in your head for a long time but everything changes once you speak it out loud. It becomes real. This is a scary place to be when you are sharing the dreams that are closest to your heart. But, it can also be just the thing you need to start taking action in making your dream a reality.
2. We shouldn’t let others influence our dreams
Guess what? Everyone isn’t going to like all of the ideas, dreams, and goals you have in your life. You might have some dreams that other people think are just plain silly—like dreaming of entering a taco eating contest, but who cares? Unfortunately, we usually do care. Once we hear that someone doesn’t like our idea it’s easy to start to not like the idea ourselves. We start to see the reasons why it’s silly, too hard, unrealistic, or whatever else negative.
If we constantly worry about what other people think we won’t accomplish anything that really matters to us. If there is something that you want to accomplish in life don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
The other side of this is what I thought was happening with my daughters. If we get caught up in trying to impress other people we can start creating dreams for our life that we don’t really care about. I’d venture out to say that my 9-year-old doesn’t really care to be in a taco eating contest. She isn’t a huge taco eater. She’s never mentioned anything remotely close to this at any other point. But, she is creative. She does like to get a laugh, and she is known for saying silly and unexpected things.
You don’t have to make a dream that your friend has one of your own dreams. It’s ok to love the idea that someone else has for their life without trying to make it something you do in your life as well. Maybe your friend has dreams to publish a book, travel to England, start a business, run a marathon, or [fill in the blank], that doesn’t mean you have to make it a dream for your life as well. I’m super impressed by marathon runners. I think it would be awesome to do it someday, but honestly, it isn’t a dream of mine and I don’t really care if I accomplish that at this time or not.
3. Be careful who you share your dreams with
I’ve talked about this before in a previous post and I will touch on it again here. I believe that there are some people that you should not share your dreams with or take advice from. I’ve given the example of when my husband and I started our business and we didn’t tell anyone. We knew that even the people closest to us might not be supportive of our idea. It was a rough time in the economy (2009) and it sounded crazy to want to quit good jobs that provided us with a stable income to pursue a dream of owning a business.
I completely believe that if we would have talked to people about starting our business when we were taking the first steps we might not have went through with it. But, we didn’t share it until we already had our business name filed, papers in place, and our first customer.
I do believe there are some exceptions to this though, now looking back. It would have been great to have a business coach or accountability coach to help us get our business going. I see how it would help to share the work that we were trying to do with someone that would encourage us, offer advice when we asked, and made sure we were following through on the steps that we needed to. But, our family and friends are not usually people that will do this. Instead, they are going to point out things that could go wrong, or things we should “think about before getting started”. And, it makes perfect sense. They love us and don’t want to see us end up in a difficult place. But, in life, if you want to achieve the goals you have, you need to be willing to step out and take some risks.
Sharing your dream
If you have a dream that you are ready to pursue I encourage you to find that one person you can share it with. The person that isn’t going to try to talk you out of it or jump in and try to do it with you (because they will usually quit and discourage you in the process). Look for someone that is going to encourage you, be your cheerleader, help you develop a plan, and call you out when you are slacking on getting it done.
If you don’t think you have someone in your life that is willing to be in this role for you then I’m happy to help as an accountability coach. Contact me and we can chat about your dreams and your options. Whichever way you choose to go, don’t let today pass without taking one step to start working towards that dream you have inside of you, even if it is entering a taco eating contest!