I once wrote a blog post titled ‘Big Dreams Start Small’. It’s got a nice ring to it right?
It’s something I so deeply believe in—BIG DREAMS.
Growing up I always felt like I had a wild imagination, in a really good way. I felt excited by stories, fairytales, make believe and I also had this inner sense that this could totally be real. I really felt like I could star in my own version of a fairytale.
Which is why I guess I mostly moved through life thinking I can absolutely do this and not questioning the ‘what ifs’ that would inevitably pop up in my head.
At some point though my pattern of ‘just doing it’ also got caught up in needing or wanting to prove myself in some way. Feeling like hey if I can just do this incredible thing then others will like me and I’ll belong.
So the dreamer in me and the people-pleaser in me got mixed up in a slightly complicated relationship.
What I think started to complicate things was that my dreams started to get mixed up in my view of what others’ expectations were. You ever done that before?
You know, where you had a dream of sorts that you could feel inside of you completely lit up, and then someone, somewhere, said something that made you stop believing. That made you feel like, “uh-oh, I better not do this thing because I might no longer belong here…”.
What I did was I stopped ‘visioning’. I stopped ‘dreaming’ up what my life could look like.
The stories in my head moved from fantasies and explorations of all the adventures I was going to have, to what was the next thing I needed to DO to feel worthy. This happened unconsciously, I wasn’t really aware this was going on at the time.
I didn’t delete all the stories, they just kinda got put on the back shelf. So when I got to that point in my life where I felt my most stuck—I barely had anything to latch on to. Any slither of excitement, imagination or something bigger than what I was experiencing in that particular moment. I lacked a big enough reason WHY I would change any of my behaviour in the first place.
When I got to that point of burn out, I remember constantly saying to myself “I just want to get back to feeling like myself again”.
Yet when I asked myself, when was the last time I felt like that? I couldn’t really recall. It was kinda blurry. Yes there were moments of it. I had a blast through my uni years, full of adventures and travel and great people. Yet there was still this underlying current of not quite myself. (Don’t worry I masked it well, remember I was a great people-pleaser. ?)
What I’ve been realising on my journey to being more of me (yes, as corny as that can sound!) is that I spent years trying to fit in by wearing various masks as such. I could easily be the socialite, the high-achiever, the helper, the good friend, the academic, the baker, you name it. And all of those masks were great, they served a purpose at the time I’m sure, it’s just that, well, they didn’t light me up as much as that yearning I had inside to get back to feeling like myself again.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt in reconnecting with that feeling is that I absolutely AM a big dreamer and I LOVE that about myself.
I love that I set my vision BIG and WILD and full of adventures. Because that’s the fuel that keeps my fire burning. That’s the fuel that gets me moving every time I feel stuck. It’s the reason I keep going on those days where life feels like it’s crumbling around me. Because I know that taking action, even if it doesn’t feel comfortable, will get me closer to my fantasies being my reality. And that’s a pretty amazing place to be, so why wouldn’t I get a little uncomfortable in the process?
I also know the fire doesn’t just happen. It’s a practice. And to keep it stoked often means reaching into my toolkit again, getting guidance and support from others, looking to mentors for inspiration, or taking the plunge and saying YES without knowing HOW.
In Gifts of Imperfection Brene Brown shares that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. We’re so good at working for ‘approval and acceptance’ and “we know how to chameleon our way through the day”.
In seeking a sense of belonging I started to lose sight of my big dreams and tried to fit in.
What is playing out in your life right now that is more about fitting in than belonging?
And what do you need to do to take that step back to YOU and your fire?
As Simon Sinek says, “your Why is your purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do”.
Believing in my Big Dreams again and that I can create my vision gets me moving. Gives me a pull instead of a push towards change, regardless of how tough that may feel at the time. I’m still practicing daily to keep that fire raging. And this way is way more fun.
What will you do this week to stoke your fire?
Sprinkle the magic far and wide by sharing this Blog post with someone in your life right now, everyone could do with a little dream-making!