By Nellie Nutting
Reflecting back to my childhood, I am reminded of how often someone would inquire, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This question would elicit many different responses based on the latest book I had read or who had been visiting, or even the last TV show I had watched. One minute I was marrying Prince Charming, the next becoming an astronaut or a singer. It didn’t really matter though – the person asking would encourage and accept these answers and even delight in the sharing. What happened to that little girl with the big dreams? What happened to the excitement and reinforcement of others when sharing an ultimate dream? Somewhere along the road of life the lofty became reasonable – the elaborate become basic. Dreams were cast aside to be replaced by the more acceptable “goals” with their timelines and benchmarks. Perhaps it is time to reignite the dreamer in order to energize the goals.
A goal is defined as “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.” Goals help us to stay focused on the tasks necessary to reach completion. They will change daily, weekly, monthly. They will be hit and missed and reset. However, most goals will not keep you going when the going gets tough. That requires a more passionate ideal! That’s when the power of the dream takes hold, because it is much bigger and stronger than a goal – it’s more emotional. A dream is defined as “something that fully satisfies a wish – something you want to do, be, or have; an aspiration.” The strength of having a dream can harness the power of emotions to continue working toward your goals. Emotions drive action. Think of all those wonderful Olympic athletes. Although they each set goals to be the top in their sport, the dream of becoming an Olympic athlete, something achieved by a mere fraction of individuals, drove them to strive even when they didn’t feel like it, were emotionally and physically drained, or had life circumstances to overcome.
It wasn’t until I allowed myself to dream that my ultimate desire was realized. As a teacher I thought I would have the best of both worlds – I could teach for 9 months and have the summers and school breaks to spend with my children. That was all perfect until I actually had children. Then the reality of getting two little ones plus myself ready for school and daycare daily resulted in stress. I could not imagine how I would manage after school and eventually lunch time when my kids became teens, when I worried they would actually need me even more. I had played with my home based business for a few years and loved the extra income it brought to the family and the “me” time it allowed. My goals for sales production and the acquisition of new customers kept me moving forward; however what ultimately propelled me to take the leap away from my teaching position was the dream of a flexible schedule, where I could choose when to work and when to be home and still provide the income my family was accustomed to.
You see, when you allow yourself to dream, your positive outlook and passionate persona will attract others to you. Don’t your family, clients, and friends deserve to have you start dreaming again? Don’t they deserve the BEST of you, not what’s left of you? There is no expiration date on your dream – just keep it in front of you and teach those around you to celebrate and encourage you along the way! Anatole France once said, “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”