A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with an audience on the topic of "Who do you think you are?" and why it matters. In the conversation, we explored the questions:
Who are you?
How do you know who you are?
What are your dreams?
What do you need to fulfill those dreams?
It was a powerful conversation full of both excited sparkling eyes and discouraged teary ones as some participants grew emboldened at the idea of what could be and others fought against the part of them that was already saying it could never be done.
Of all the conversations that ensued, the one that caught my attention and the one that still rings in my ears weeks later, involved the words of a woman who, when asked to share her dreams, held up her hand, tears streaming down her face.
"I don't know," she said.
"I don't know what my dreams are."
"I don't know who I am."
"I have lived my life for other people. There has been no place for my dreams."
Ouch. And WOW!
I assured her that her tears were for a worthy cause and welcomed her to the club. It was time to start uncovering her dreams, herself and the life that awaits.
Days later, I was confronted by the same conversation, this time from a successful business woman with a seemingly great life – a great life that had been consumed by her business. As she was nearing the mid-century mark, she found herself questioning the point of it all, feeling empty and wanting more. More depth, more fun, more community, more life.
More and more I am coming upon these people who are looking for permission to start really enjoying their lives. More and more I am coming upon these people who are waking up to the idea that they are allowed to have dreams. They are stopping and asking the questions that all too often our busy lives allow us to ignore.
Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
What do I value?
What do I love?
What would I do if I could do anything? (I mean anything, anything – the anything that you barely dare the think about. That one!)
What would bring more joy into my life?
What gives my life meaning? How can I get more of that?
For all of those who are asking the questions, BRAVO! Asking the questions is the beginning. Once you start paying attention, the answers are sure to follow.
When I started on my own quest to find these answers I was at a place where building my life was a necessity. I was in my 20's and just trying to find a way to make it all work, looking for a life that wouldn't be so much of a struggle and wouldn't hurt so much.
Today, I am so thankful that I was called to look for happiness as a youth because it has given me the tools to seek and to find what makes my heart sing and my eyes sparkle. It has given me the power to choose my life and to know I am choosing it every moment.
If you are one who is creating your life with intention, if you are someone who is asking these questions, I want you to know that this is no small task.
Even if you are still seeking answers, even if at times it feels like a struggle, know that you are on the path and all will be revealed. Your seeking will be rewarded, for you are actively and consciously living your life adventure.
For those who have never asked but want to start, the tools are right in front of you.
If you had unlimited time, money, and resources, what would you do with your days? Who would you have around you? Which skills would you use more often? What activities would you totally discard?
If you won the lottery tomorrow what would you do?
If you knew you were going to die in six months, how would you spend your final days?
These questions, when freely pondered without judgment, will reveal the beginnings of what could be one heck of a life.
You don't have to know how to make it all happen right now. Just allow yourself to look. Allow yourself to dream.
I clearly remember back to when I asked myself these questions. I said there was nothing I would rather do than have conversations with people – deep conversations – exploring what it takes to be happy, how to conquer fears and how to live a great life (this, interspersed with spa days, great friends and lots o' love.) This was my heart's desire and it is undeniably the life I get to live today.
It all starts with permission to dream. Once the dream is out, the universe can start answering, but it starts with the openness and willingness to look.
Dare to dream, my friends. It is what life wants from you. It is the way to your greatness and to your greatest satisfaction.