I was 11 years old. It was a typical day in the life of a 6th grader as I met my friend Damian for the 1.5 mile walk to Westwood School. In between the occasional punch in the arm, sarcastic comments and pre-teen eye rolls we shared our stories and our hopes and plans for the future.
On this particular morning, along with telling Damian of my visions of becoming a prima ballerina (like the girls I met at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet who only ate bran muffins), I also mentioned casually that I might want to be a model when I grew up.
Damian then proceeded to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that my nose was clearly too big to be a model.
And that was it. A one-minute conversation with a 11-year-old boy was enough to erase that possibility from my future. My dream of modeling died that day. I didn’t mourn it or cry. It died quietly, the only remnants being a lingering distaste for my side profile as it always seemed to pronounce the vastness of my clearly too-big schnoz.
Do I blame Damian that I am not following in the footsteps of the Naomi Campbells and Cindy Crawfords of the world? No. I’m 5’5’’ (ish) and anything over a 1.5 inch heel has me wiping out in elevators, never mind on a fashion show runway.
But this is not the point! The point is I was 11 years old, bursting full off possibility with the world at my feet and already I was closing doors on myself. It saddens me that I let that dream die so easily. That one uninformed comment not only killed off a future possibility but gave me a major nose complex that lasted into my late 20’s!
Plain and simple, MY DREAM GOT STOMPED ON and I am writing this article so it doesn’t happen to you.
Don’t Let It Happen To You!
Dreams come in many forms. The dream of owning your own business, the dream of making VP, the dream of owning a home or graduating college or being a millionaire, finding love or winning an Academy Award.
Whether it is a deep longing or a fleeting fancy, the dreams you have are yours and I encourage you to resist the well-meaning advice of those who want to stomp on them!
“Don’t reach too high.” Your coworker warns.
“Why would you want to do that?” Your sister asks you with distain.
“Things like that happen to other people, not to people like us.” Dad says to make sure you don’t get too big for your britches.
You’re not smart enough…..
You’re not pretty enough….
You’re too old….
You’re too young…
It’s never been done before….
What makes you think you are so special?!…
To all those who wish to stomp on your dreams due to their own lack of self-confidence, their desire to hold you down, their attempts to keep you safe or their simple need to have an opinion…
I SAY PHOOEY!!!
PHOOEY! PHOOEY! PHOOEY!!!
Nobody gets to tell you not to follow your dream. And if you have people around you that have a tendency to do that, please ask them to start supporting you, to keep their thoughts to themselves or to kindly move on.
You are wise, intuitive and resourceful and those dreams that keep tugging at you tug at you for a reason. They want to be born in your life and where there is that kind of will, there is always a way.
Passing Fancy or Destiny
Now, some dreams truly are a passing fancy. They have no teeth and their swift death would hardly be a blip on your radar but let it be you who chooses to put them out to pasture. Let it be by your hand that they lay down for their last time.
Other dreams endure, even when they have been beaten down, even when they seemed impossible or you were told they were unrealistic, they keep popping their head up saying “Remember me? I’m still here waiting for you.”
Think about it…. do you have one of those? Has it been poking at you for months? Years? Decades? Is it time to reopen that dream file that was stomped closed in days gone by?
Believe it or not, coaching was one of those dreams for me.
When I was 21, I wanted to be a coach but I didn’t know it yet, not fully. No one stomped on that dream per se, it was just that it hardly existed back then. No one had a name for it. I had a psychology degree and no desire to do the heart-wrenching work of a therapist. I wanted to work with people who were happy, healthy, successful and wanted more from life. But I didn’t know what it was called or how to make a living at it so I went into the business world.
Fortunately, this was one of those dreams that would not die and when I was ready to reconnect to the longings of my heart some years later, it was still there. By 2001 I found out my dream had a name -professional coaching – along with accredited training and its own professional association. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Funny thing – turns out the modeling bug endured as well because, when a friend of mine in advertising asked me to sit in on a photo shoot, I was all over it!!
The campaign consisted of a series of head shots depicting “the science of happy”. They chose my picture to represent “Happy as a clam” (and not only that, my fabulous schnoz was featured on one of several 20-foot-tall banners the company hung from the rafters at a convention they held.
Take that, Damian!
1) Guard your hopes for the future from the DREAM STOMPERS of the world. Whether they be friends, family, bosses or well-meaning strangers, your dreams are yours and you have them for a reason. While I do not personally believe that anyone can do anything, I do believe that you can do those things that call to you or they would never have called. Do not allow others to remove them from your future – save that choice for you alone.
2) Check in with yourself and see if there are any previously stomped-on dreams that need resuscitating. Don’t worry about not having all the answers. When we connect to the power of our dreams amazing things become possible. Empires have been built in under 5 years, people have gone back to school at 70 and 80 years old, people have discovered the airplane and walked on the moon and, yes, some people with bulbous noses and average height and ½ an index finger have been paid as models. He He!
Your dreams are a gift of freedom and happiness to yourself and they are your precious and unique contribution to the world.
Gotta go. My agent just called.
Did you endure unreasonable dream stomping? Do you have a dream that needs to be resuscitated? Have you noticed how certain dreams have tended to endure even when you have tried to put them away? We would love to hear about them! Share in the comments below.