In 2011, Stop Putting Off Your Dreams

I recently had a conversation with a friend about how much fun it would be for her to open a bakery. We imagined ideas for desserts she might serve, and how she might run her business. But the conversation ended with her saying, “Maybe someday I’ll do something like that.” Immediately, I knew that she probably never would, and I felt very sad — for her, for myself, and for so many other people who sit on the sidelines dreaming, but who never make an effort to pursue their dreams.

Certainly, some of us make half-hearted attempts to accomplish a few of our life and business goals. But how many people do you know who put everything on the line to pursue their deepest, most life-changing dreams? What are the rest of us doing, and what are we waiting for?

Choices and Challenges

Of course, circumstances get in the way. There are challenges, setbacks and detours. But each of us has a choice. Although it won’t be easy to navigate back to the right path, if we say that we can’t find our way around obstacles, we’re making a choice to leave things as they are.

Last night, I was reading about Roald Dahl, author of such hopeful and imaginative books as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That might be my absolute favorite story about an underdog who overcomes obstacles while continuing to believe in something, even when all is stacked against him.

It turns out Roald Dahl was a lot like his character Charlie. Dahl’s personal life was filled with hardship and tragedy. In spite of all the challenges he faced, he remained positive and achieved great things. As it says on his website, “The series of misfortunes and tragedies Dahl… suffer[ed did not] made him more bitter. Loss and physical adversity seemed to stimulate his enormous energies to positive action. He fought misfortune as if it was a dragon to be slain.”

Time to Dream Big

I hope that 2011 will be a year of great progress toward achieving our deeply-buried dreams, and a year of doing things that require us to step out of our comfort zones and test our abilities, even if they lead to failure or, even more frightening, success.

I challenge you, as we round out these last few days of 2010: dust off those gutsy dreams and ambitions you’ve kept to yourself until now. Dare to put yourself out there; do something big this coming year. It doesn’t need to look big to anyone else, but you’ll know it is, because it will require you to go out on a limb and do things in an entirely different way.

For 2011, live the way you truly want to live, and achieve what you’ve only ever dreamed you could achieve.

What big, audacious goals do you have for 2011?

Photo courtesy Flickr user Neal

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