“When you wish upon a star…” — I can still hear the song from one of my favorite animated movies ringing in my ears.
Nostalgia takes over as I envision my 6 year-old-self gazing out the window of my childhood home. I remember how I would eagerly search for a shooting star and effortlessly dream about the places life would take me.
It’s pleasantly strange how something as simple as a song can evoke so many thoughts, memories and emotions. I reflect back to all of the many nights sitting by my bedroom window, and I am reminded what it was like to have so many limitless dreams and hopes for the future.
There is something so incredibly magical about being a child and having the ability to see a world with no limitations. Anything is possible from a child’s perspective. My 5-year-old daughter, who we call the “old soul,” reminds me daily of how innocently children view the world around them. If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she is more than likely to tell you something new each day. One day she may want to be a ballerina and then a Doctor the next; the point is that whatever she hopes for in the moment, she believes with all her heart that it is indeed possible.
As we grow older, however, the magic seems to fade and we unknowingly place ourselves into the confinement of our own little box. We unconsciously place limitations on what is possible and conform to the confinement’s of the the everyday norm.
As an adult I am so grateful that I am able to witness the magical perspective through my children’s eyes. They challenge my thinking daily and when I’m really lucky, they spark memories from my childhood and I remember what it was like to view the world from their perspective.
My question is, “At what point do we loose the magical belief that anything is possible and that any of our dreams can come true?”
If you are anything like me as an adult, I lead a very busy life. At any point during the day I am so many different people; wife, mother (or supermom), full-time employee, co-worker, teacher, friend, therapist (not licensed, of-course), dog whisperer and all around full-time circus ring-leader; really the list goes on and on. The point is, I often find my inspiration drained by the end of the day and I am left wondering, “Is this the reason? Is it because we have allowed ourselves to become victims of our busy lives and our dreams somehow fall to the wayside?”
In 2018, I decided to break the viscous cycle. I had just returned back to work after having my second child, and I remember feeling something different inside of me (maybe it was the hormones-who knows?). I felt deflated and lost. I have always been a very goal oriented person, and although I worked for a company that I loved, I felt confined by the role that I was in. I was hung up on titles and my viewpoint at that time was very limited to the box that I had put myself in. I was in a state of self-reflection and it was like I could see all of the things that I had not accomplished; I didn’t have my degree, I wasn’t in a job-role that I wanted to be in, I wasn’t the mentor that I wanted to be, and round and round we go with nothing but a long list of “woe is me.”
For a moment, I allowed myself to feel sorry for all of my dreams that didn’t come true. I remember reading something that challenged my thought process:
This went right along with a conversation that I recently had with my manager, where she challenged me to think differently about my goals. She asked me, “What does Liz want to do with the rest of her life? What is it that makes Liz happy and gives her the most enjoyment out of life? Find your passion and you will find your inspiration; your motivation.”
This conversation was a spark! A chain of events happened after that. I began to reflect about my life a little differently. I was challenged to see everything that I was unhappy about from a different perspective. The goals that I was working towards, I found they were not truly my goals. I had let myself be defined by the goals that someone else told me I should have. “My” path to success turned out to be the “cookie cutter” path that most everyone takes within my industry.
I was becoming more “awake” and I started doing some intense soul searching and evaluating everything around me. I was on a mission to find MY path and not what someone else thought my life should be. I quit putting myself down and allowing others to speak negatively into my life. At the time, I was really bad about telling myself that I couldn’t finish my degree because I was “not smart enough.” I would listen to others opinion on what path I should take or what degree I should get. I was 30 years old and had changed my degree plan a thousand times; each time feeling defeated and like a failure. Looking back I realize my failure to move forward was not because I wasn’t smart. It was because I was not following Liz’s dreams and taking into considerations my passions and how I could incorporate that into a career.
Thinking back, there are so many things that I wish that I could tell that version of myself. I spent so much time conforming to the confinements of my box that I missed so much time that I could have been working towards my dreams. Here are some of the lessons that I have learned:
Identify Your Passion
What are some things that you find the most joy in? For me, I have a passion for videography and photography. I love the way that photos and videos allow us to document our lives or highlight the stories of others. I have recorded so many special moments in my personal life, however, I had never thought it was something that I could incorporate within my job. Once I made the connection between my passions and the possibilities, work became another outlet in which I could creatively develop content and develop a career that was more meaningful to me.
Evaluate Your Goals and Make A Plan
As I began to incorporate my passions into my work, I began to see so many doors–so many possibilities. Not only did I start to find ways to incorporate my passions into my career, but I started to evaluate my goals in life. One thing that bothered me for years is that I never finished my education. With my newfound outlook on the world around me, I put a lot of thought into the question, “What does Liz want to be when she grows up?”
Identifying my passion set me on a path to find more ways to incorporate it in my goals in life. As I began looking into degree options, I forced myself to look outside the norm, and find a path that would allow me to incorporate my passions into my chosen career. To my surprise, there were so many options that I had never considered before; and I finally settled with pursuing a degree geared towards Instructional Technology. I have learned that I have a passion for learning and it has become effortless to navigate through my degree plan. It’s amazing the motivation and inspiration that you have when you are working towards your dreams.
Get Rid of The Negativity
I am pretty sure that I speak for a broad group of people when I say we all deal with negativity at some point in our lives; some of us face negativity from others, while some face it from ourselves. My viewpoint is this, get rid of it! As Elsa says, “Let it go!” Stop letting the negativity feed into your soul and crushing your motivation. Stop beating yourself up and downplaying your strengths. If you tell yourself you can’t do something, then your right, because you have allowed yourself to speak that to your soul. Tell yourself you can and watch what happens!
Everyone of us have a unique gift, a talent of some sort. Some people have identified their gifts while others are still waiting to be found. Everyone is not the same, so quit comparing yourselves to others. Find what makes you…YOU! I believe that everyone has the potential to uncover what their gifts are but sometimes it takes a little soul searching and listening to our own “positive” voice to find it.
Wishes Are For Stars; Dreams Rely on YOU
Stop locking your dreams away!
I am a Dreamer. I see the possibilities in so many things, which is great, however I have been guilty of holding my dreams captive, leaving them fondly locked away like treasures in a museum. I would ponder the, “What if’s” and mourned the “What could’ve beens,” when in reality it my dreams were right there for the taking; all I had to do is put in the effort to make them a reality.
Your dreams don’t magically come true. I am not saying there are no magical moments within the journey to make your dreams become a reality; rather, I am standing behind the belief that dreams take hard work and determination to see them to fruition. The bigger the Dream, the harder the work. Wishing on a “magic” star is great and it is a wonderful thing to let your heart dream; just don’t let the dreams stop at your heart or the star.
Have Courage and Pursue Your Dreams
You have the power to design your future. Speak positivity over yourself and quit letting the negativity knock you off your path. Believe in yourself, you have the power to do anything that you set your mind to!
Your dreams can come true; it just takes hard work, dedication, and determination.
Have courage my friends and follow your dreams!