If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I'd want to pass along to others...
Care enough about yourself to live your dreams.
Sometimes when I ask people about their dreams, an awkward silence ensues before the subject changes. It’s almost as if there’s a fear to admit to themselves what would make their heart sing. Their thinking must be something like this:
“If I open my awareness to my dreams, that means I’ll have to do something. But right now I can’t. I have so many obligations I’ll have to say no to my dreams. So why create the pain of even imagining these possibilities anyway?”
At least, this characterized my thinking about fulfilling my dream to visit France. For more than 25 years, I longed to go there, but life seemed to get in the way. College, marriage, work, a baby, divorce, single parenthood, a master’s degree – all came first. I’d judge myself anytime the thought came up to travel to France: That’s such a stupid idea! You don’t have the money to spend on something so frivolous. What kind of a parent goes off to France by herself?
This pattern ran deeper than delaying a vacation. Early on in life I had gotten into a habit of living a life of obligation. When I was 17, I had moved away from my home in Montana to attend college with dreams of a bigger life. Deep down I had longed to be an artist but instead decided to study more practical things like business. I graduated from college and forgot about my aspirations for adventure and creativity. Instead, I settled for the stability and routine of a banking career.
These were the choices I made, which I didn’t regret. Yet somehow by putting off my dream, I lost a piece of myself.
It took a boyfriend dumping me four years ago for me to finally say “yes” myself. I had been dating this man whom I considered “Mr. Right,” and when the relationship ended, I was crushed.
The day after our breakup, I walked my dogs before sunrise on a cold, bleak Montana morning. I knew I needed a change, but I didn’t know what it was. Did I need to move? Change my career? What did I want anyway? Then another question formed which completely changed my life.
“What would make you happy?”
I smiled as I realized my answer: I wanted to go to France. Eight months later, I finally traveled to France for an adventure of a lifetime. Living this one dream completely changed my life. I started saying yes to other dreams I had put off. In the three-and-a-half years since France, I’ve continued to travel, have written and published a book and even started a speaking career.
Your dreams are likely much different than mine. You may not want to travel anywhere, write a book or speak to a group anytime soon! But there’s one thing I know: everyone has their France.
Say “yes” to yourself and your dreams, and you’ll create a more joyful, fulfilling life.