Do you have a dream so big you don't even spend much time thinking about it? A dream you brush off as not a real goal or desire, just a passing fancy? Because it's so big it seems like there's no way it's happening?
I want to be a published author. I've been writing for decades, and before that I was a storyteller, making up tales in the lunch line to amuse myself and my friends. Since high school, teachers and workshop leaders and fellow writers have been telling me I'm a good writer and that I should submit some of my work. I still haven't done it. There are a lot of reasons--fear that I'll never get published even if I try; overwhelm at the idea of all the things you have to do to submit stories and keep track of where you've submitted, etc.; the constant, compelling pull of new stories and projects. But mostly I think it's been the fear that I can't do it or it won't be what I thought--all of that. I even convinced myself for a few years that I didn't want to be published, that I just wanted to write stories to enjoy them, and that was enough. It sounded good, and I even believed it.
So how do you know you have a secret from yourself? It usually surfaces frequently but in a quiet way. You make something and think "I could sell this," and then you brush it aside and move on to other things. People around you comment on how good your work it, what a talent you have, that you could sell this/show this/be a professional, and you thank them and turn your attention to other things and don't think of it again. But this kind of thing happens a lot, and you spend a little time thinking about it sometimes. You give the idea a little bit of attention, but then you have a lot of what seem like really good reasons to not do it, and you go back to not dreaming.
What do you do if you realize you've been keeping a secret dream from yourself? Maybe nothing (you weren't expecting that, were you?). Try to pay attention to when the idea crops up and how you feel about it. Spend some time just observing the idea and how you feel about it.
If you decide you want to go for it, go! But start small. (You know I love small steps!) You've probably had this dream for awhile. You don't need to make it happen right this very minute. Do one small thing toward it. Do your best not to think of the other steps that need to happen. One at a time, and give yourself as much time as you need. This is your dream, it deserves time, and you deserve to enjoy it, not stress out about it!
Here's the breakdown I've made for myself so far. Hopefully these steps will help you with your dreams, too:
- Figure out if you have a dream you're not acknowledging or pursuing
- Decide if you want to follow this dream
- Look for a first small step to take (make it smaller than you think is small enough!)
- When you've taken a small step, celebrate it
- Choose another small step and take that one
- Take your time and enjoy the journey!
I hope your dreams are feeling one step closer now. Drop me a note here or on social media and tell me about your dreams and your small steps, and we'll celebrate together.
2 thoughts on “Secrets We Keep From Ourselves”
I love this way of thinking about not pursuing a dream as keeping a secret from ourselves. So true. I managed to stop keeping that secret from myself about Wishmoon, but I'm still doing it with my dreams about writing. You've given me for for thought.
I'm glad you're thinking about your writing! Taking the steps, and then taking more steps, is hard, because every step connects to other things in our lives. It's not like we change things in a vacuum. But I think at least acknowledging that we have dreams and there are steps to take is good, even if we decide not to take the steps right now.
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