November 6, 2011

Are we scared to dream? Are we scared to pursue our dreams?

What is your #1 goal right now? Evaluate the way you spend your time, then give me your answer.

Can you tell me your top five dreams in order of priority without having to think about your answer even for a second?

Are we living every day the way we do because we want to live that way? Even those of us who would consider ourselves satisfied, even happy, with our lives, is it because we truly are happy? Or is it because we believe we are doing relatively well considering...

...considering most people go to work five days a week for 8-10 hours, right?

...considering most families only see each other for a short time in the morning and then around the dinner table at night during the work/school week, right?

...considering most people only get 2-4 weeks of vacation per year. And most people don't have the luxury of taking all their vacation, right?

...considering most people take the promotion when it is offered. And if it requires that the family move, then that's a sacrifice worth making, right?

...considering most people have to work for someone else to have health insurance. And most people cannot afford to start their own business, and of those that do, most aren't successful. And most people cannot take their family on a two-month mission trip or vacation anytime they want. And most people need to work for someone else to have the security and stability they need in order to responsibly raise a family, right?

We have a great church, a wonderful group of women we have coffee with every Tuesday morning, two nice cars, the money to meet monthly payments on student loans and the mortgage. We live near family, our kids attend a nice school, we spend one week every year at the beach, we get to see most of our kids' basketball games, we volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club. We are progressing in our career -- next year Bob will get a bump up to $120K or Laura will have her own P&L to manage or Tim's church will pass the 1,000-member mark.

Our lives are pretty good, aren't they?

What would big, hairy, audacious dreams (BHADs) do to our lives? If your response is that you are already living your dream, then I'd ask you to dream bigger. Would dreaming big upset the balance, disturb the satisfaction, and cause us to feel a little uncomfortable?

Your dream isn't big enough until it makes you feel uncomfortable.

So are we scared to dream? Start with your spouse and your children. Start with the people who need you most, who love you most. What would your life look like if you got to schedule it? What would your family do every day, every year if there were no restrictions? What could you do for your kids, where could you be for your kids, if anything was possible? Who could you bless and how big could the blessing be if there were no limits?

Don't dream within the parameters of your current situation. Don't restrict your dreams to fit within the "nice" life you are living. Do not color within the lines just because someone gave you an 8x11 piece of paper with a picture on it. Who said that's the picture for your life? Who said the height of your joy is dependent upon how well you color that picture? Forget the picture, forget what you see all around you, forget where you've been, forget every challenge that flies in your face every time you begin to dip your toe in the ocean of your wildest, most audacious dreams.

When you dream big, hairy, audacious dreams then you challenge everything about the life you are currently living. It can feel much easier to limit your dreams than it is to dream without limit.

And what if we do dream? What if we do allow our hearts and minds to reach beyond the page; to start imagining what the picture would look like if we drew it?

And what if we found a way to pursue those dreams? What if there was a vehicle that could take us and our families to a place we once never thought possible?

Might it take discipline to achieve for our families what we once never dreamed possible? Might it require that we step outside of our comfort zone? Might it require that we take the road less traveled?

I've always wondered why "a road most traveled" even exists. Aren't we all unique? Aren't we all made to pursue our own path? Don't we actually long to break the mold, draw our own picture, and dig a tunnel under the prison wall? Do you ever look up from your computer screen and look at all the "cubicles of life" that surround you and wonder what it might be like to walk out?

But there I go dreaming again. Silly me.

But just for a moment, dream with me. What if there was a way to pursue your big, hairy, audacious dreams? What if it all was possible, but it just required you to do things a little differently in order to get there?

Maybe you will dare to dream, but will you also dare to pursue the dream? Will you dream big enough for the dream to be worth pursuing? The dream has to be valuable enough to replace the comfort of your current situation. The dream has to be big enough to overcome any fear or laziness or apathy or even satisfaction.

What if there was a vehicle to pursue your dreams? What if it didn't look like any other vehicle you'd ever driven or ever even seen? What if there was a way, but it wasn't familiar or comfortable?

Then I'd say the vehicle might match the size of your dreams. I'd say you might have found a way to draw your own picture. I'd say that you've journeyed beyond your fears and arrived at the outskirts of a forrest that most have never dared to trek through, most have never even dared to step into. The trees loom large and the fog is heavy. You can't see far ahead of you, and everything within you is screaming: "Turn around! It's not worth it. You probably won't find what you are looking for anyway!"

But you take that first step into the unknown, armed with your greatest tools: a commitment to always dream bigger, hairier and more audacious dreams and a daily resolve to wake up every morning, fold up your tent, roll up your sleeping bag, put out the campfire and walk one more day in the direction of those dreams.

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