Time to read: Not more than 2 minutes. Not counting the pauses to breathe.
Top of the day to you, Rebels!
When you all write to me, you say that sometimes it seems like I'm in your head. That somehow, I knew exactly what you needed to hear. Today, I actually am in your head, and here's what I see in there.
You have a dream.
It may be a quiet dream that you've never said out loud. You likely have taken no steps to make it come true. You've told no one. It sits quietly in your brain and heart, popping up in the wee hours of the morning, slipping by your consciousness while waiting at Starbucks, and maybe disappearing for months to reappear again in a quiet moment.
This dream is probably creative. Say, painting. Or writing a novel. Or learning to belly dance. You tell yourself it's ridiculous, that you don't have time, that it's terrifying, that you don't know how to do whatever it is, and that other more important priorities deserve your attention. Yet, the dream persists in its quiet nudging.
I have such a dream, and I'm stumbling awkwardly (and slowly) toward doing something about it.
My dream? To tell a story on The Moth.
Which brings me back to you. What's the process for stumbling awkwardly toward your dream? As I'm in the middle of the process, here are the steps I'm following:
Step 1: Avoid your dream. Avoid it at all cost. Check Facebook. Push it away. Ignore it. Let years pass while you do nothing. If it sticks to you through all of that, move to Step 2.
Step 2: After avoiding, notice your dream. Make it real to yourself. Bring it forward in your consciousness. Start to tip toe toward what it would be like to do this thing.
Step 3: Tell people. Start with one person. Make it more real by telling a few more people. Let's say you publish a weekly newsletter. You can out yourself there. Bringing other people into your secret dream helps to create personal accountability.
Step 4: Remind yourself that you've done terrifying things before. Like apply for jobs. Or ask for a date. When I published my first newsletter to 80 of my closest friends and relatives, I thought I might die. Now, it's just part of what I do. You can do scary things.
Step 5: Take one little step. Do one little thing that will start the ball rolling. When I hit send on this newsletter, I'm going to click the button on the Moth website that says, "Tell your story." I'm terrified. And you know you can do one thing.
Step 6: Visualize your dream. I'm starting to be able to see myself on that stage, telling a story. I can picture publishing a link to the audio for all of you. This step feels tender to me. You can take your process as slowly as you want.
As for the rest of the steps, I'm not sure yet, because I am still somewhere between Steps 4 and 5. I'll report back on the rest once I know what they are. (Whew! My daughter just called me to pick her up from school. I'm saved from Step 5 and can go back to Step 1. At least for a little while.)
What's your secret dream? I'm happy to help you with Step 3. Write to me and tell me all about it.
With Rebel love,
P.S. Just breathe and take the first step.
P.P.S. If you know someone who has a secret dream, please forward this newsletter to them. They can subscribe for a weekly dose of inspiration about work and life here.