John Bon Jovi wrote a song that epitomizes the art of life and having the guts to act on your dreams. The tune is It’s My Life: “This ain't a song for the broken-heated, no silent prayer for the faith-departed, I ain't gonna be just a face in the crowd, you’re gonna hear my voice, when I shout it out loud.” The lyrics orchestrate that we only have one life to live so we need to seize the opportunities available. Basically, dream at full throttle. It is those who choose to rocket over boundaries that live a rewarding life. You need drive, passion, creativity and imagination to press ahead on a given journey. Dreaming is your fuel to maximize the distance you can go.
What happens to those running at maximum speed? The good and the bad can happen. Just when things are going in the correct direction, bam—boom, you hit a snag in mid-flight. Life has the ability ensnare the best of us. Circumstances certainly can squeeze the drop of energy from you (if it is allowed). This is where the game can change. Once we let the passion fizzle and we become complacent, the fight is lost. Ask anyone who was a power hitter in the dreaming realm. They started to hit on hard times or allowed negative chatter from people to overcrowd their heads. If you feel stuck with dead-end circumstances don’t give in. We can’t promise you a lifeline but can offer you compelling reasons you need to dream big.
This is a time to do some soul searching to figure out what you want to do. If you desire to go back to school, envision what that would look like. Write down what courses are available, the degree you want to attain and the money needed to enroll. Maybe you want to start your own company, or buy an existing one. How would you do this? First you need to draw up short and long-term goals to reach the dream. There's a caveat, however. No matter what try to be honest with yourself. If you are unhappy where things are headed try listing details of your frustrations. Lisa Rankin, M.D. shared on Psychology Today that asking honest questions will help determine direction, or when it is time to cut ties. “You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn just by asking yourself these questions. Write down your answers, so you can reference them later,” she wrote. If there is a lack of honesty with ourselves on what we are willing to put up with, we end up deceiving ourselves.
Eliminate the horrible inner voice that whispers you are a failure. Nothing damages one worse than believing this utter baloney. Virgin Records tycoon Richard Branson did not listen to the negative in his life. Branson failed in school and suffered from dyslexia. Despite the pressure and disappointment from continually flunking his standardized testing, he turned to his assets. His interpersonal skills paved the way to a new life that trumped failure. Today he is one of the riches businessmen in the world. Apple creator Steve Jobs has a poor start in life. Jobs was adopted and headed down a road as a kid that could had squandered his talents. Instead he used his energy and poured it into computers. There are plenty of other people who focused on the positive in order to reach their dreams. Changing the way you think can really help you rise above the fray. If you become discouraged read stories of those who overcame setbacks and still dreamed big.
Dreaming is defined by Merriam-Webster as a series of “visions or thoughts that are created by your imagination. It is something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time.” Start by envisioning something that your mind goes tilt. Take all the fears out and just go for it. Let your mind dream big like a child. For example, if you want to change careers, don’t think of a job change, think of running your own company. If you want to change lives and are an inventor, get a patent. Additionally, if fear was not a factor, how far would you really go? Eliminate the fear. Cast it aside, when thoughts come to steal your focus. It is hard, but like with anything, by practicing it-- you will slay the dragon of fear. Allow your vision and thoughts be bigger than doubts.
Now we are cooking. You need to think about connecting with others. Reach out to associates or those you worked with in the past. Find people in the industry of your choice that can mentor you. There are numerous business networking opportunities and organizations that can link you with professionals. Try the chamber of commerce, which has networking events. Look into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Service Corps of Retired Executives. They have a nonprofit mentoring program for those looking to start their own business, or can help with needed business advice. They have over 300 chapters in the U.S., and also hold workshops. This is not a time to be bashful. Be extremely proactive in meeting people of the same mindset, this will fuel your dream.
You can plan for the best, but you need to be resilient. Practice the habit of letting go of setbacks, hurts, mistakes and learn to fail forward when tracking your dream. Holding onto things that don’t benefit us is draining and a dream killer. Savor even the smallest pleasures and victories of your professional and personal life. Overcome intimidation by confessing that you have nothing to prove to anyone. Overcome fear with positive self-talk.
“It’s My Life” can be an anthem as you dream big and live for today like it is your last. Don’t be just another face in the crowd and take back your dreams and face-off to the future with courage and a new boldness. Here's to dreaming big again!