When your dream reveals itself as some crazy, hair-brained idea, it’s natural to want to keep quiet about it. It’s like conceiving a baby, in the first few weeks of gestation, none if it seems very real. That’s why we keep our dreams to ourselves, casually rolling ideas and “what if’s” around in our minds. We fantasize about what the future might hold.
But what happens when we stop right there and keep the embryo of our dream trapped in the recesses of our brain? When, out of uncertainty and fear, we fail to take any action toward birthing that idea into the world, then what?
So many people lack the confidence to make their visions reality. I understand, because I’m guilty myself. For years, I didn’t talk about what I really wanted to do with my life. I had a dream to write, to help others reclaim their lost power and live in freedom. I wanted days filled with creative expression, honest service, adventurous experiences, great friends, stimulating conversation, and loving interaction. I’m not going to lie; as a dream, it was ambitious and very attractive.
But I had no idea how to make it a reality, so that’s all it ever was, a nice idea going nowhere.
Back then, I harbored deep-rooted beliefs that I didn’t deserve to have what I wanted. I probably wasn’t good enough anyway. What if I made a mistake or messed up my life entirely? I’d already done a fair amount of that. And so I took no action at all, believing it wouldn’t make a difference, even if I did.
My big dream became an even bigger secret. I kept it from others, afraid of what people would think. I also tried to keep it from myself. I didn’t want to feel the tug of this desire. I placed the lot on a back burner hoping it would just go away. I thought I could find another way to live, one that would make me feel happy enough.
So I put all my energy and attention on trying to be responsible, on finding a job that would make enough money. I told myself that I could be okay with pretty clothes, vacations, a comfortable house, and a nice car. But sadly, none of these things could quiet the desire that continued to surface every time I slowed down. Until one day I finally faced the truth I’d been avoiding. The fear of not going after the kind of life I wanted began to outweigh my fears of finally jumping in.
It was either sink or swim, and if not for the doggy paddle, I wouldn’t be here telling about it.
We’re ALL afraid to swim in the light of our dreams. We all share fears of the early failures that come with beginning something new. Sure, it’s uncomfortable to start from behind, to know you won’t be as successful as those who began before you. It’s frustrating not knowing where to start or what to do. The road is very dark and sometimes lonely.
Facing vulnerability is inevitable when pursuing your dreams and purpose. You’re exposing one of the tenderest parts of you, your soul’s imprint. Your dream is what makes you unique in the entire Universe. It isn’t like anyone else’s. There’s nothing to go on, nothing to compare to, and so it’s easy to feel uncertain and strange.
Brene Brown, in her book, Daring Greatly, says, “Everything I’ve learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson. Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in. Showing up terrified with no guarantee of success.” When we understand the pursuit of our dreams as a vulnerable act, one that everyone who wants success must also face, it becomes easier to find the courage.
To share the most vulnerable parts of yourself, you must first choose to accept them. You must be willing to risk being different. Heads up, you are. Allowing others to see your difference means you have to really see it yourself. Explore it, like it, appreciate it. Get to know what it’s all about and what makes it special. And that way you can unleash it from the secret closet you’ve been keeping it in.
What makes you feel vulnerable is your truest gift. Know that you are not the first or the last to feel afraid of putting it out there. You are in good company. The people who will celebrate your path will soon arrive on the scene and take the place of those who may not understand you. Honor your vision and the desire that wells up inside of you. They will guide you in the right direction. The uncertainty will clear with each and every step you take. Choose now to begin. We’re on your side.
You might be able to keep your dreams a secret for a lifetime, but they won’t ever go away or die… that is until you die. And who wants to take so much unmet potential to the grave?