The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
~ Albert Einstein
Jodie and I were high-achieving children, successful students, and motivated young adults. We took on every new challenge that presented itself from academics to competitive sports, the stage, music, student government, college, world exploration. You name it, we were ready to try it and give it our all. Success met success which fueled our lack of fear and willingness to “go for it”. After college we both went on to graduating with honors from graduate schools.
For Jodie she continued to be fearless, completing marathons, teaching in foreign countries, developing curriculum and attacking life head on. I, however, got married and started our family. Slowly my dreams started to wane…what were they anyway? My time had come and gone. After Jodie (finally) settled down trading her professional, exotic life for domestic “bliss” she joined me in “shelving” her dreams.
I was so far removed from dreaming that I barely remembered what my dreams were. The only “dreaming” I was doing was for and about my children. Hey, what’s wrong with that, you ask? It’s great to have dreams for our children; not just great, important! But this shouldn’t mean we can’t dream too!
Why Do We Stop Dreaming?
Your job isn’t to know the how, it’s to know the what and to be open to discovering, and receiving, the how. ~ Jen Sincero
As we go through life we “learn”. And sometimes what we learn doesn’t work in our favor. Things happen, we draw conclusions, and we cut ourselves off from possibilities. We develop strict “rules” about ourselves, the nature of the world, and our abilities as they apply to our dreams. These rules literally close doors to areas of possibility and opportunity. We make up ALL KINDS of excuses. These excuses protect us from the hard work it takes to chase our dreams; they let us off the hook. They keep us “safe” from disappointment and rejection and act as a wall between us and a fulfilled life.
What Does a Massage Have To Do With It?
I had a massage recently, and she found amazing amounts of scar tissue built up in certain areas of my body. When the body experiences stress the area receives extra blood flow, and as a result the body produces “protective” fibers. Over time these build up and instead of protecting they end up harming. They impede movement! When they get really built up they can stop blood flow, the very thing that is needed!
When we build safety nets for ourselves they protect us, but they also stop us from challenging ourselves, reaching beyond what is safe and easy. Eventually they obstruct our forward progress. When we stop allowing ourselves movement we lose access to our talents & skills. We stop our own development. Just like the scar tissue, this “protection” ends up hurting instead of helping!
Remember: If we aren’t growing we are dying.
About 15 years ago I decided skiing was an “uncomfortable” thing to do. Even though I really enjoyed skiing it was scary. Plus I hated being cold. (Can you hear the excuses?) I decided I didn’t need to ski anymore. So I said no to many opportunities to go skiing. About 5 years ago at age 45 I said to myself,
“Julie, stop being a wimp! Don’t worry. Just go for it. Bravery should NOT be a thing of your youth. You are missing out on life!” So I have been on 2 long ski trips since and loved every minute of it. I think I enjoyed it even more than I had in my youth. I pushed myself, skied through the fear and occasional discomfort (mental and physical) and enjoyed tremendous joy on the other side. That is what it feels like to really live.
Lesson Learned: Don’t let discomfort or fear stop you. In fact, when you feel these things, run toward it because these are the moments worth living.
Looking back, even up until a few years ago I really enjoyed my “safe” life. Yes, it was kind of boring, but I was focused on my children. Their successes were my successes, and this was the life I chose. I loved my children more than life itself, and it was my labor of true love and purpose to make sure I did all I could to teach and shape them and provide all the opportunities which would result in them developing their own God-given potential. It was a full-time job.
But how did they view me? As “mom”, “personal maid”, or “chauffeur”. What was I teaching my daughter about a woman’s role in the world? Was this how I wanted her to spend her life after giving birth? Dedicated solely to her children, forgetting her personal or professional development, abandoning her dreams? Of course I did not. In dedicating my life to my children I left out a key component: role model. Not only for my daughter, but also for my sons. It was important for my sons to view the role of women as more than caregiver or their personal maid! I wanted my sons to view their future wives as equals and whose roles would include more than that of mothers and housewives if they desired.
A New Chapter and An Open Mind
The first thing that happened was I moved to Seattle. I had no friends and no job, and all of a sudden due to my daughter getting her licence and my youngest taking the bus I went from 6+ drives a day to and from school to zero driving! I was FREE! What should I DO???
I read a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. If ever I was going to live my dreams now was my chance! After identifying my passions I thought about going back to school to get another degree, this time in interior design. I wanted to be a decorator. I started dreaming of becoming a decorator. Subsequently, I started thinking like a decorator, what it would look like, preparing mentally. Soon I was decorating every chance I got, using online tools and redecorating my spaces every day.
Act “As If” to Live Your Dreams
Next, I stopped doubting myself and began “acting as if”…as if I were a decorator, not like someone hoping and wishing that one day she might possibly be so lucky as to perhaps end up with an opportunity to maybe pursue her dream…. Do you see the difference?
Instead of imagining obstacles I imagined DOORWAYS….I had a newfound excitement and a newfound faith. It is no coincidence that it was at this exact moment in my life that I accepted Christ as my savior. Even though I had always been spiritual, gone to church for much of my life, and had prayed on and off. This was different. I was giving my life over to Christ. In his hands I had no fear.
Faith, my friends. It is power! It’s waiting for you, free and available for the taking.
Attitude is Everything
With my new attitude I saw possibilities and had newfound clarity. It was around this time my daughter introduced me to Instagram. We moved into our new house. My days were filled with decorating, redecorating, and taking pictures. I got a job at a home decor boutique and was decorating around the clock…my skill level seemed to mirror my confidence. The more joy and confidence I felt the better I decorated. No training, no schooling, simply desire, passion and faith. And the universe provided.
Faith and Confidence to Live Your Dreams
My faith and confidence are carrying me to each next phase of this journey. Three years ago I didn’t have the confidence to write a blog. Now Jodie and I are embracing all possibilities. We are dreaming big and not afraid to fail. Not only are we actively dreaming, we are going after our dreams. The only failure is in not trying. We have a whole new attitude on life and living and we’re not going to waste one day! Because each day is a gift to be valued, and lived for all it’s worth!
Remember Friends, success becomes possible only when your faith is greater than your fear.
Want to live your dreams? Here is Jodie’s and my recommended reading. Each one of these books is powerful and worth reading multiple times. Happy Reading!
Recommended Reading List
With love and gratitude,