What a dull and boring life it would be if I had to wake up every morning with the only hopes and dreams I had were to make it through the day. If I ever allow that to happen, I hope one of my good friends finds me and kicks my butt around the block a few times.
I am consistently surprised at the number of people that I observe and work with that live their day to day existence precisely like this. Some people unconsciously program themselves for mediocrity. They are afraid to fail, so they think of failure as a foregone conclusion. Call it laziness or fear; many people are satisfied with a life of self-imposed limits. They have created a comfort zone based upon their self imposed limitations. It’s a life with restrictions that protect them from their very own potential.
I believe that the success of any kind begins in that area outside of one’s comfort zone. Not until we force ourselves to test the uncharted waters of risk do we ever know what we are capable of achieving. However, many people are so afraid of any level of risk that they have led themselves to believe that doing nothing is satisfactory. Have you ever heard a person talk about hopes and dreams, then in the same breath, tell you why these things will never happen?
It happens all the time!
Never allow fear and self-doubt to squash your dreams. Fear usually falls under the categories of failure, embarrassment, and rejection. Self-doubt is generally a focus upon your perceptions, like not being good enough or smart enough. Everyone has a certain level of these feelings, but when left unchecked, we can become satisfied with our fear. Fear can make us comfortable by giving us an excuse not to take any level of action. The bottom line, fear cancels dreams.
So I challenge you to look deep and ask yourself if you still know how to dream. Better yet, will you even allow yourself to dream? An executive told me recently that he has “shut down” his dream functions. He reasoned that if he allowed himself to dream and then failed, then he would only be disappointed. I had to ask myself, what has happened in this person’s life that would make him so fearful of life? At some point, you must ask yourself the exact qualifying question that drives success, “How big would I allow myself to dream if I knew I couldn’t fail?”
We need to remember to dream like a child again. Dream with unlimited possibility and with no fear. We need to step away from the constraints of a limited comfort zone. I’ve found that most comfort zones are self-administered, so there’s always room for expansion. No one on this earth ever had the specific purpose to be average. We all have a unique gift to offer, and we never discover that gift until we allow ourselves the freedom of dreaming and exploring possibilities. Crazed dreamers have built our world. These people are those that dared to dream, knowing that their ideas were so outlandish that they would surely meet with constant ridicule. But they persisted, and they never stopped believing. They persevered with insane ideas like the light bulb, or the airplane, or the telephone. Not every dream translates to a winning product or service, and you won’t achieve every goal you set, but who cares. You might accomplish things beyond what you ever thought possible, and you might have a ton of fun trying. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, or self-doubt is not an excuse that you should hide behind. Fear of living an unfulfilled life should be your primary concern. Life is far too short not to explore what you’re capable of achieving.
So what do you say? Let’s have some fun and dream on baby, dream on!