And Start Giving Your Dreams Room To Grow
Recently I wrote an article which was published on Art+Marketing, and it was called An Invitation to the Future Me.
It was quite well received, which is always encouraging, but at the same time it helped me expand on one of the subjects I talk about in my book “Making Today Count”.
The idea behind An Invitation to the Future Me stems from a process I had to go through in my life to make room for me to grow.
Basically I lived a very disorganized, busy life, full of activity but fairly lacking in substance. How things can change in just a few years.
So what has “making room” got to do with taking steps towards your dreams? It stops you saying “someday…”
Crowded & Crazy
I was in my early forties, I had a young family, we lived in a foreign land (which is nice in many ways but added to the challenges too) and we had all the normal stresses of everyday life like trying to make a living, getting the kids to and from school, keeping our marriage together, paying the bills, and dealing with a thousand other little things.
So when I came to that place in myself where I knew I had to actually start going for my dreams instead of being a passenger, I discovered something…
My life was too crowded. There was no room for my dreams.
When I look back now I almost wonder how I ever accomplished anything. I was struggling in the quagmire of disorganized mess — everything was cluttered, fragmented and dysfunctional. Not just in the physical, but mentally and emotionally too.
But the really sad thing was that I had spent so long just getting by from day to day that I didn’t know any other way to live.
I was always catching up, always a little behind, always dealing with the immediate instead of the important.
So in reality, there was a life I wanted, one I dreamed about. There were things I wanted to accomplish, I had ambitions…
But those dreams were all for someday in the future.
And we all know that someday may as well be never.
Back then my focus was on getting through the day, getting through the week, getting through the year because somehow things would be better when…
Over time, as I turned my attention to growing as a person, I discovered there were some fundamental pieces of the puzzle that were missing from my life, making it very hard for me to do anything other than survive.
I didn’t know exactly what was missing at first, but eventually the light came on and it became clear to me that what I lacked was a structure and flow to my life.
At that time my life was about following along. It was about reacting to circumstances, allowing myself to be dictated to by the ebb and flow of the day.
Reactive Living is like being a passenger…
Living a reactive life like that means you’re never in charge. Things happen to you, decisions are made for you, and you feel helpless, at the mercy of external forces.
In fact it’s a little like being a slave. I was a slave to circumstance. I was at the mercy of others, and I could blame the bank manager, the economy, the government, or even the weather for my sorry state of affairs.
Life told me what to do…and I would do my best to get everything done before I crashed into bed at night.
What’s scary is that when were are right in the middle, it’s very hard to see life any other way. We have our perspective, and that’s all we know.
And of course, someday things will get better, right?
One of the best things I ever did was to sit down with a piece of paper one Monday morning and plan out my week.
It was the start of an amazing transformation that gave my life more structure…
That structure began to create a flow…
The moment I began to make plans was the moment my life changed. I was creating a place in my life for things to happen. For the first time I was prioritizing my dreams and ambitions, my personal growth and aspirations.
We are often told to dream big dreams and go for it. It sounds right, and there is a certain amount of weight there, because we all need a vision of what we want our future to be like.
But if we don’t have room to grow, we will forever be frustrated with our progress, and we won’t even know why.
We’ll be forever saying “Someday...”
I don’t believe in waiting around for my dreams to come to me on a silver platter. I believe in putting things in place, bringing order into my life, making room for my dreams, and taking intentional action to make them happen.