Today while I was sprinkling Italian herbs over my baked beans on toast, I had this thought:
It wasn’t that having baked beans on toast for lunch was bumming me out, I quite like them.
They’re filling, but they’re not my dream!
I was in unconscious meme creation mode because I was reflecting on a blog post I’d just read. You can read it here.
In the post, Sonia spoke about how chasing her dreams had left her feeling wrung out recently, and how she wisely took some time out to simply enjoy a day without the pressure to fulfil the dream bearing down on her. That’s my interpretation of what she wrote anyway.
Sonia, I totally believe in you!! Dream on, girlfriend xx
Then, not for the first time, I read a question online from someone asking how long it took others to reach a certain level of engagement in their blogging, and with no disrespect to the questioner today, as I’ve read the question multiple times before, I wanted to shout at my iPad screen.
I might be spectacularly out of touch, but every single time I see or hear this question, from someone who is clearly an adult, I’m genuinely astounded.
This question, whether it’s framed around blogging, or career advancement, or success in your chosen creative field seems so strange to me, and my response is usually in the form of my own question:
What is it that has some of us believing in the false notion of overnight success?
That’s not a thing. It sometimes looks like a thing, but it isn’t.
Let me say that again, overnight success isn’t a thing. It’s not real. It won’t happen. (Just call me the dream crusher!)
Like perfection, it’s a false god that too many people seem ready to fall down before.
These false gods aren’t benign though, chasing the idea of perfection or of instantaneously arriving (whatever that means!), can drive a person loco.
Dreams are great. I’m pro-dreams. If you’ve got, you know, actual talent in your dream field, you’re well on your way to making your dream a reality.
You will need some other stuff in your dream realisation kit; like patience, skill, perseverance, resilience, and perhaps controversially, I believe you also need time away from dream chasing.
Let’s say your dream is to be an Olympian. (#Rio2016, I’m so on trend!)
To fulfil that dream, you will need to train hard, for YEARS and YEARS!
You’ll need to sacrifice and persevere, you’ll need to be mentally strong, you’ll likely have to come back from injury, you’ll probably have to hold down a day job while maintaining your training schedule.
I hear Olympians have family and partners and friends, so you’ll need some time away from training to remain connected to those people.
You may put in 100% to achieving your dream, for years on end, then get a virus or something just before the selection trials. You may not make it.
Back to the drawing board, or gym, running track or pool, you can always try again in four years.
Dreaming takes commitment, and courage.
I am contemplating opening an Etsy shop to sell my art, and having someone place an order seems like a pipe dream right now. Even so, it’s something I want to pursue.
Before that first order comes in, there’s a lot of practical stuff to do, like source card stock, fight off imposter syndrome, set up the shop, fight off imposter syndrome, stock the shop with art that takes time to create, put a price on my art, fight off imposter syndrome, and so on.
I’m scared to do it, but I want to do it anyway.
I might fail, it might be crickets once the shop opens, but I am going to try.
Dream on dreamers!
But dream with your eyes open.
Dream with great people around you, who support your dreams, while keeping you connected to the real world.
Dream BIG, armed with the knowledge that all good things take time.
Remember, overnight success, like perfection, is not a thing.
My advice for all you dream chasers, be like my favourite character in Pretty Woman (not Vivian!), strut down the streets of your life, head held high, sharing this wisdom with the world…