How far will you go?
I love Disney. I’m not going to justify this statement, it is just my truth and I’m okay with this! I was listening to my new favourite Disney song, ‘How far I’ll go’ sung beautifully by Aleissa Cara (knocking Idina Menzel’s ‘Let it Go’ off my top spot for the best ‘I’m defying everyone and following my own dreams’ car karaoke song) and it got me thinking about the limitations we put on ourselves when trying to conform. Conformity takes many shapes, whether it is a career path you think you should take - maybe because that is what your degree subject was in, maybe because everyone tells you you will make a great teacher/manager/lawyer/<insert profession here>, maybe because you feel pressure to go for that promotion or next step; or a life decision you feel you should choose because the age you are at - we have all been in those situations, with the little head tilt of expectation when asked by a caring relative or friend about getting a partner/settling down/marriage/buying a house/having a child/getting a ‘real’ job - and you have the choice to either say what is expected - “I really want that/I haven’t found the right person/job/place but I am looking” or go against the norm and state your real desires - “I am happy doing my own thing/I can’t wait to take a year out and go travelling next year/A relationship would be nice, but at the moment, I am doing amazing things in my career and that is where my focus will be for the foreseeable future/<insert your own truth here>.”
We all have dreams and ambitions for our life, but how often do we squash them because we can’t see how we can make them happen, or tell ourselves it isn’t the right time, or, possibly the most damaging, are worried what other people will think and say about our decisions?
'And you ask "What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, What if you fly?'
I love this Erin Hanson quote from her stunningly raw poem ‘What if you fly?’
And, what if you fly? At this stage, there is as much chance of flying as there is falling - 50/50 - yet we choose to focus on the fear of falling, over the freedom of flying - and both are equal possibilities. I talk with my clients about the idea that Tony Robbins articulates as 'Where focus goes energy flows.' You can choose to put your energy into making your dreams a success, finding innovative solutions to challenges, deciding on the small steps you need to achieve to build towards your ultimate accomplishment, and holding onto, and protecting that treasured outcome; or you can think of all the reasons you can’t do something, focus on the obstacles, procrastinate and decide to give up. I’m not saying to not be aware of risks and issues - fully understanding what you are facing into puts you in the best position to overcome the difficulties that may come your way, but you can focus on how you will overcome them, rather than seeing them as total roadblocks to your success. As Henry Ford famously said, 'Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you are right!'
So how does all of this link back to my new favourite tune? I will dissect the meaning I have interrupted in the How Far I’ll Go lyrics:
You have a long held dream, something deep in your soul you wish to achieve. There isn’t a ‘logical’ reason for this, it is just something you need to do - a goal purely for you, a way to feel purpose - you can’t even really explain it.
You try to conform, you want to conform for everyone, but this dream, ambition, goal, keeps strong in your heart and keeps pulling at you.
No matter how you conform, what choices you make, your heart keeps pulling you back to your dream but you feel you cannot pursue this. You have an internal conflict, and though everything in your outer world may look amazing, your inner world, your core, your heart is not totally happy or fulfilled.
That line where the sky meets the sea is your dream and you don’t feel fulfilled because you can’t reach it. You can’t tell people about it as you fear they won’t accept it, or will judge because it isn’t conforming.
If one day you go for this, and you have good favour and luck, or maybe just hard work and tenacity to not let go, you know you will soar and this level of achievement of this dream will have no boundaries.
Life can be by design and you have fallen into a design that isn’t of your choosing - a structure in family, a career path, a way of being that maybe you don’t like, or isn’t serving your highest purpose - are you seen as the reliable one, the quiet one, the one that will always be there? Do you want to be? You have assumed a role within these structures, and when it is something you identify fully with, it is perfect, but when you have some internal conflict, it can be difficult to reconcile - so you can choose to go with this or not accept your own position and fear the consequences of defiance.
There is a difference between what you can do (and what you can do well) and what you want to do. You trick yourself into thinking that if you do what you are ‘supposed’ to do, and you do it well, that this will fulfil you. But when you have a real ambition, goal or dream to do something else, something different, this won’t be quieted by doing what you ‘should’ do. Your conformity may mean outer peace in your life’s design but it causes internal conflict in you.
Your dreams, ambitions and goals are yours. They are beautiful and precious and totally unique to you. They light you up and give you that fire in your belly to excel. No-one but you will ever fully understand the passion you feel for them.
Every day, hour, minute is a fresh start, to move forwards with your dreams if you choose to. However, the start of a new year often creates a real sense of moving into something new and leaving the past behind you - are you ready to cross that line this year?
This is all about you and your life journey. But if you have something that is calling you, and keeps calling you over and over, maybe it is time to investigate this further.
Do you want to look back at your life and wonder ‘what if?’ or go for your dream and see ‘how far you’ll go?’
As we go into 2018, I invite you to think of the possibilities, to dream big, to consider all the things you have squashed over the years. What do you want to achieve in 2018 (and beyond)? What resources do you need to make this happen? What one thing can you do today to start making this a reality for you?
Dream big, plan well, take action and see how far you’ll go.
Happy new year!