From Dare, Dream, Do by Whitney Johnson
I love this quote and here’s why: I’m an ideas person. I like to think up new ways of doing things. But then my ideas have to find a place in the real world, and the plans that seemed so sweeping and grandiose need nit-picky details to back them up.
Whitney’s book is full of these kinds of examples. Women who dream big also have to problem-solve big. When that happens to me, sometimes I feel shortchanged. Where’s the sound of trumpets welcoming me home for my success parade? All I have is a headache.
Success is usually buried in a mound of red tape, delays, naysayers, debt, self-doubt, and obstacles.
As much as I might wish otherwise, problems don’t take care of themselves. Sometimes, when my own dreams scare me, I look for some sort of sign from heaven or a spiritual confirmation that I’m on the right track. Because I wouldn’t want to mess up. Or (gasp!) fail. So if it’s the right thing, doesn’t that mean that I’m in for smooth sailing and guaranteed success? And don’t problems mean this isn’t the path for me?
I don’t think so. Sometimes the lessons we learn from adjusted, failed, or impossible dreams are just as valuable (if not more so) than the easy-to-achieve ones. And sometimes you have to go down the wrong path in order to clear the way for the right one.
You have to go out and do it, even if you’re unsure about how it will happen.
I used to watch the show Cake Boss. It didn’t matter how outlandish or elaborate the customer’s request was. Buddy’s (the bakery owner) philosophy was, “We’ll figure it out.” You could see the “I have no clue how to do what you’re asking” expression cross his face. He couldn’t see the end from the beginning, but he’d just jump in and he and his employees (or other experts he’d call) would somehow make it happen.
Not that it always worked the first time. But that’s the point. You have to try. Sometimes working at a dream will cause the shape of the dreams themselves to change. And that’s not always a bad thing.
If you’ve read my story on Whitney’s blog, you know I’ve tried a million different ideas. I worked harder to achieve some than others. But, in my experience, the act of showing up (writers call this “Butt-in-chair”) causes miracles to happen. Is it some metaphysical force of sheer will changing circumstances? I don’t know for sure, but I do know this: Once you begin the daily work of being present in your dream, your brain will pay attention. And it will work on it, sometimes subconsciously, to make it happen. If you’ve ever had a great idea in a dream, in the shower, or while preoccupied with something else, you know what I’m talking about.
Others will help your dream become reality, too. If you’re interested in something, people who care about you and/or whatever dream you’re pursuing will be interested, too. You can find a community just by telling people what you want and working to achieve it.
I love this quote attributed (probably falsely) to Goethe:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!
So even if you don’t have any clue, start working on your dream. Put your butt in the chair or in a classroom or wherever it needs to be, and make it happen!