We’re living in unprecedented times. Coronavirus, riots, uncertainty…it’s hard to know what to say or how to act.
And dreaming about travel or adventure seems really selfish, right?
It’s actually more important than ever right now. Dreaming fills us with hope and gives us something to look forward to. Not only that, it actually puts the things we long for into motion.
But should you share those dreams with others? What if they discourage you because your dreams are big, or worse yet, chastise you for even dreaming at all?
We’ll get back to that in a minute.
But first, let me tell you about an encounter I had at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California a couple of years ago.
If you’re not familiar with the Esalen Institute, it’s an iconic landmark that has been a beacon for free-thinking and healing arts since the early 60's.
Back then, regular folks and dignitaries alike flocked to the humble structures that dotted the bluffs for classes in meditation, bodywork and all sorts of exploration into science and mysticism.
I spent most of the day indulging in a heavenly massage and a long soak in the cliffside hot tubs. As the sun was setting, I blissfully stumbled up the mountain to join the dozens of residents, interns and workshop participants for dinner.
It was there I met Sarah; a pleasant woman in her late 40's who was enrolled in a 5-day workshop called Painting from the Soul.
She told me that she wanted to help others discover how art could help them be more expressive and "set them free." Her dream was to teach art workshops and retreats so she can finally leave her boring 9 to 5 job.
Except no one even knew that she was there, immersing herself in this dream. Not one friend. Not even her family. Absolutely no one!
Of course I wanted to know why she came to this beautiful place to learn in secret and her answer made me so sad.
"Most of my friends can't afford to do something like this and I didn't want to make anyone feel bad," was her reply.
"Wouldn't they be excited that you were following your dreams?" I asked.
She mumbled something about hurting people's feelings and from there our conversation drifted off until she excused herself. She looked sad and not at all like someone who was pursuing her passions and dreams!
I know sharing your dreams can be scary but please don't be like Sarah! When you have decided on a dream…when you are ready to pursue new passions…SHOUT IT FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP!
Tell everyone! Yes, that can be intimidating. There will likely be people who will be jealous of you or simply projecting their own fears onto you. Ignore these "Dream Stealers" and shout even louder!
Telling others will propel your dream forward and all kinds of wonderful things will unfold.
People will appear to help you on your journey. Opportunities will be presented to you that you hadn't imagined. Things will become easier. All because you announced your dream to the world.
But what if you're not ready? What if you're still working on the details of your dream?
I call this the "Incubation Period."
It's okay to keep your dream secret while you're working on the fine points. But eventually, you’ll need to move out of the incubation period and share your shiny new dream with the world.
Here are some sure signs that your dream is ready for its big debut:
So if you are still working on the details of your dream, that's okay. But don't spend too much time polishing it.
Maybe it's time to find your voice. Maybe it's time to stop dreaming in secret. Maybe it's time to (fill in the blank)...