I’m a realist. Actually, I’m more of a pessimist with an annoying penchant for pointing out any and all tiny little problems that might potentially happen along the way, no matter how unlikely they may be. All this to say that I’m not much of a daydreamer. My brain tends to shoot down lofty dreams pretty quickly. Of course, it’s a lot of fear too. Fear is the jerk who likes to whisper in your ear and tell you it’s totally not worth dreaming because it’ll never be anyway. I’ve never spent time thinking about what my dream house, or dream car, or even just dream pair of shoes would be (are dream shoes a thing? I’m so bad at dreaming stuff I truly don’t know what people dream about).
I’m trying to change that though, and I’m trying to learn to dream big. A few years ago I sat down with my husband and tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my career. At that point I had really no experience in the job market besides retail, and some very painful years in college waitressing (sorry to all of you who had to put up with one of the most awkward and clumsy waitresses while attempting to enjoy some Mexican food). I remember Frank asking me what my dream job would be, and after a lot of thinking, I told him it would be to style homewares for Terrain, my favorite brand. At the time it seemed like this crazy insurmountable goal. Their parent company UBRN is notoriously hard to get into, and talent teams are basically buried alive on a daily basis with resumes of creatives trying to get positions at the Home Office. But I got scrappy. I did whatever I could, and well, to make a long story short, here I am. In the exact job I had seemingly no real right to even hope for.
Looking back it seems like a small dream, even though it felt huge at the time. I recently started seeing a therapist again, and when I talked to her about my career she told me a little more than sarcastically “well, I guess you should have dreamed bigger then, huh?” Ouch. Nothing like having a mental health professional roll their eyes at you and tell you you’re thinking too small, but I supposed that’s also what I’m paying her for, and seriously, she was totally right.
As a little exercise I decided to think of my dream house. I’d never really thought of that before. I had thought about houses that I liked for sure, but a dream house, like a legit, wildest dreams house had never been something I had spent even a minute considering. It was actually really hard to put myself out of my pessimistic box and out into the open of dreamland. At first I thought “Well, I’d like to be near the beach” and then I had to remind myself “DREAM house” and said “okay, okay, ON the beach”. Even giving myself permission to think of a dream house that’s on the beach felt like I was really stretching myself.
I truly believe you don’t luck into things. If I’ve learned anything from Micheal Scott (and apparently this Wayne Gretzky fellow) “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. I also think you miss 100% of the dreams you didn’t bother dreaming. Obviously there’s a lot of hard work behind getting to those things, but I’ve found that hard work is the easier part for me. I’ll gladly put my nose to the ground and bend over backwards to reach my goals, but sometimes you gotta dream big.