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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.

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Nancy Brook is "The Cycling Chick." She's the author of the Amazon bestseller, Cycling, Wine, and Men: A Midlife Tour de France, a book that's been called the next Eat, Pray, Love. She is an award-winning speaker, author, show host and MBA. She combines 25-years business experience with lessons learned from her cycling adventures to inspire people to get on their lives and ride! She teaches the value of perseverance, teamwork and leadership.

While this is Nancy's first book, she has written hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles through the years. In her twenties, she undertook a three-year "writing internship" by starting a newspaper. Possessing a lot of passion but limited business acumen, she packed up her family, moved to Montana, and started a monthly publication with her then husband. The newspaper eventually reached a circulation of 40,000 and Nancy was recognized by the Small Business Administration as Media Advocate of the Year.

Another one of her passions is public speaking. Nancy is an award-winning speaker and thirteen-year member of Toastmasters International. She has won the District Table Topics contest twice and was a regional finalist of the International Speech contest. She has achieved the designation of Advanced Communicator-Gold and currently serves as Area Governor. She recently took her speaking talents to the Women's Information Network as show host for the "Love Your Path Show."

Nancy holds an MBA from the University of Montana and has more than 25 years experience in marketing and currently works as a Vice President of Marketing for a bank. Her favorite activities are jogging, biking and traveling around the world. She lives in Billings, Montana, with her two hairy herding dogs. 

Visit Nancy online at, on Facebook, or on Twitter. You can also listen to the Nancy Brook Radio Show.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Thirteen years ago, I had my France: Spain! With my youngest a senior in college, I lived and worked there for a year. Thank you for reminding me that my dreams don’t have to end after “the one big adventure”. Maybe there are more Spains ahead of me!

  2. Nancy;
    It is so Cool and rewarding to live your dreams, wouldn’t you agree? I am a Lic. RE Broker for Keller Williams in Forest Hills, NY.
    My subconscious dream was to own and run my own business. I am living that dream The Middleman Team with my lovely wife Anne Middleman. My Dream became Our Dream!
    Kind of AWESOME, I must share.
    Your story is inspirational. Life gets in the way and obscures our dreams. Your Breakup although was not a Setback but a SetUo
    Created to offer you the possibility of traveling to France. With 20 Seconds Of Courage you forever changed and recharged your life.
    We acknowledge you for your Coursge….
    Keep on Dreaming!

  3. Nancy – What a powerful, inspiring story – thank you!

    I loved what I did in my career, but it was stressful. I wanted to have more fun, more joy in my work.
    Now I do!

    It’s wonderful to hear from a kindred spirit. You expressed this so well!

  4. One of the best articles I have read so far😊❤. I totally agree with you, Nancy..we need to live life the way we desire not how others say we should.

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