As a life coach I have noticed that most of the time in a session is spent around clarifying what it is the client wants. I have also noticed that when I summarize what I have heard, and say it back to them, they get a little uncomfortable. Usually it goes something like this: “Well, I’d like that, but I know I can’t because …” So before they even attempt to accomplish their desire, they already come up with reasons why they cannot, how it is impossible, or how it is dependent on other circumstances that will never happen. I finally realized that most of us have become experts at rationalizing ourselves out of what we really want. Chronic rationalization out of our dreams leads to developing a lack of clarity and purpose. Eventually this can lead to living but never feeling alive. The life that we want, the results we seek seem to be unattainable due to years of solid, experience based “proof” that “it ain’t gonna happen”.
When we observe this from a wider perspective and outside the realms of coaching, it points to a wide-spread epidemic that threatens us all. Somewhere, somehow we lost the boldness required to live a fulfilling and deeply satisfying life. Maybe it happened after our hopes and dreams were crushed by an unforeseen event or unfaithful partner, years of being told we were no good by an ignorant parent or sibling, extreme poverty or health crisis that did not support bold living. It could have been a combination of all of these or other factors that bring us to a place where we feel like we’ll never get to where we want to be. And what is truly sad is that people have stopped even dreaming big because they believe that they will never attain their dreams, so why bother. It is one thing to dream big “knowing” that you will not get there, but to not even dream because you never have, or you were not allowed to, or you learned early on that it is a waste of time, is disheartening.
Most children have vivid imaginations, they pretend and role play at an early age. They are born with an inherent gift of seeing “outside the box”. This together with a certain amount of fearlessness brings them joy and makes them fulfilled beings for the most part. I am afraid that as adults, most of us have lost our imagination and our ability to dream. We think it is a waste of time and unproductive. As most learning experts would agree, nothing could be farther from the truth. Creativity and imagination are essential to learning. And as a life coach, I say, “imagination is essential to living a fulfilling life”. So, even if we’ve learned that it is unproductive and trained to believe that it will not get us anywhere, I say, “dare to imagine”. “Dare to dream big and then feel it. Feel the grandness and joy that your dream brings you.” And that is the first and sometimes most uneasy step in achieving what we want.
Many are alive, but few are living life audaciously. We see the athletes who push themselves to obtain that medal or win that tournament. We see those who go against the odds to get to where no one else has gone before them. We hear stories, like the illegal immigrant turned into a world renowned brain surgeon and we think that these people have what we do not. But the truth is that we are all born with that audacity. Perhaps it did not get cultivated or nurtured, but it is in us, in all of us. We have to stop looking at others who are in the spotlight for their accomplishments as if they are preferred or born with gifts that make them special. It is time to look within for our own gifts and personal courage that will help lift us up to live an audaciously fulfilling life. It is time to allow that long ignored, gift of imagination to soar and fill us with hope and desire to accomplish and become who we always wanted to be. Actualizing the dream is actually less challenging than dreaming it. So, let’s be daring and dream big for ourselves, our families, our communities, our countries, and for the world!