Originally published Tuesday, 17 December 2013.
This blog post first appeared over at www.allisonvesterfelt.com - you can read more about Allison there!
I don’t know what it is you dream of doing — quitting your full-time job, serving overseas, starting your own business, working for a particular non-profit, having a family, getting married, or something else entirely.
Photo Credit: Alejandro Mallea, Creative Commons
Dreams vary from person to person, but as I’ve talked to hundreds of people about their live and their dreams, I’ve found one thing doesn’t change.
We all have the same excuses.
It’s true. No matter the age, life stage, circumstances or practical realities of each individual I talk to, the reasons they’re waiting to go after what they really want are all the same—time, money and people. “I’m really busy, and don’t know where I would find the time to do something like that,” “I don’t have $10,000 laying around,” and “My wife/parents/sister/friends/kids would kill me!”
Time, money and people. These are the three basic obstacles getting in the way of our dreams.
The most interesting part about this to me — aside from the fact that I completely identify with these obstacles and wrestle with them everyday — is that, no matter how much time, money or freedom we gain in our lives, going after the life we dream about never seems to get any easier.
By that I mean, a sixteen year old who is accountable to her parents, who’s only responsibility is school, and who’s only source of income is the $10 she receives in allowance each week; and a 40-year-old high-powered executive who gets paid six figures a year and can’t remember the last time he had to ask his parents for permission — both have the same reason for waiting to chase their dream.
Isn’t that strange to you?
Their circumstances are dramatically different, but the obstacles are still the same.
To me, this says a few things.
First, there will never be a better time to chase your dream.
If you’re in college, now is the best time in the whole world to chase your dream. You’ll never have more personal autonomy, more freedom, more opportunity at your fingertips.
Don’t wait. Please, don’t wait. You’ll regret it.
If you’re out of college, and married, now is the perfect time to chase your dream. Think about it. Before, you were alone. Now, you have someone to support you and give you feedback and be your biggest cheerleader. You have someone on your team.
Your spouse will be a tremendous asset to you as you chase your dreams.
If you have kids, there is no better time than now to chase your dreams. If they’re young, awesome. They’re still teachable. In fact, you might just bring them along for the ride. Think of what they’ll learn and experience watching mom and dad abandon everything to create a life of meaning.
So what if you can’t buy them fancy Christmas presents? Create experiences for them instead.
Second, this observation makes me realize how insignificant these obstacles actually are.
I’m not trying to trivialize our frustrations, so don’t hear that. But hear this: If a 16-year-old, with $10 a week as an allowance; and a 40 year old, with $200,000/year both complain of having no money; is there a chance it’s not the money that’s the problem?
Is there a chance it’s our perspective of money that is stopping us?
Here are two vastly different circumstances, both with the same perceived problem. Is it possible the “problem” isn’t as much of a problem as we thought it was?
Could it be in our heads?
The point is this: Don’t wait. Don’t wait to chase your dreams.
Don’t wait for obstacles to go away which don’t actually exist.
Don’t wait for it to get easier, or to make more sense. It won’t get easier. It will never make sense.
And don’t keep waiting for more money, more time, or more approval for others. Ask yourself where your money and time are going— if they’re spent on things that are valuable—and consider why you care so much about what others think in the first place.