Why Not You? Think Big!
Each month, I feature one of my top-ten core values. This is my sixth: Don’t sell yourself short.
If you don’t think big and live your dreams, that’s all they’ll ever be — dreams.
To this day, I still look back on a time early in my career where I came face to face with a big dream.
I was trying to find my career direction. I had realized that being a broker wasn’t the right job for me, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. So, I was considering different possibilities.
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I started to think outside the box. To look beyond immediate solutions and at the bigger picture. My mantra became What if I could ….? I was very open to possibilities!
I had no problem thinking big …
In fact, one of my brainstorms was to create a New York City bookstore where people could have coffee and socialize. I even went out with a commercial real estate broker to look at possible spaces.
Now, I’m not saying I thought of putting cafes in Barnes & Noble or reading at Starbucks before either of those became “a thing.” Nor that my idea would have become a reality if I’d invested any amount of time or money in it.
I’m sharing my story because … I’ll never know what could have happened.
I let fear get in the way.
Even though I could think big, I didn’t always act big.
I talked myself out of pursuing the bookstore idea. I had no funding. I lacked confidence and believed no one would give me a loan. I didn’t have a mentor or close friend to push me past my limiting beliefs. To help me find solutions.
I let all my perceived obstacles overwhelm and discourage me. Without the gumption within myself to go for it, I dropped the idea altogether.
I said “no” to myself before the world ever said “no” to me.
“The only thing worse than starting something and failing … is not starting something.” — Seth Godin
Of course, when thinking and dreaming big, we still need a healthy grasp on reality — what it will take to execute our ideas. We all forego or compromise some dreams because other responsibilities need to take priority. Or we lack the raw talent or required resources. However, only a fine line separates living a life with a few unfulfilled dreams and living a life full of regret. No one wants that!
So, how can you navigate this slippery slope?
The answer is by believing in yourself. And not selling yourself short.
You may remember I wrote about the power of believing in yourself earlier this year. Like most values, believing in yourself isn’t one-dimensional. This value weaves together with other values and strengthens both your clarity and confidence.
Related: The Freedom of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you’re dreaming big and acting on those dreams, believing in yourself demands you no longer sell yourself short. It means having the courage to step outside your comfort zone. To take risks. (So long as you aren’t going to hurt yourself or others.) To build yourself up instead of cutting yourself down. To ask, “Why not me?” when the gremlins of self-doubt creep in.
If you’re ready to begin thinking and acting big, the following Power Challenges will help get you started!
Power Challenge #1: Dream big. Think big.
Studies show that daydreaming is good for you. In fact, it can help you at home, at work and in life overall.
That might seem to fly in the face of reason! But when you daydream, your mind wanders around and relaxes. And there’s growing evidence that having a relaxed mind facilitates creative thinking and problem solving. This sets the stage for the answers you seek. Or for one of those “a-ha moments” to break through.
So, how do you do this? How do you let your mind wander?
Ideally, find something to do that doesn’t require focus or undivided attention. Walking, for example, is a great way to slip into a state where daydreaming is easy and natural. Listening to music, sitting outside in nature, or even just looking out a window can also free your mind to expand beyond its usual boundaries.
Once you’ve made the space for daydreaming, prompt yourself with questions like the following:
- If I could be anything or do anything, what would I be? What would I do?
- What ideas do I have to create or build or make something?
- What ideas do I have that other people think are crazy?
- What would be so cool if only I could make it happen?
- What would I regret not doing in this lifetime?
Jot down whatever arises for you when you daydream. Or create voice memos on your phone. You may surprise yourself with some dreams you’d forgotten about — or never acknowledged!
Power Challenge #2: Don’t keep your dreams hidden away.
Once you define the dreams that mean the most to you, give them a voice. Whether you share with people you trust or simply say them out loud to yourself, expressing your dreams gives them life. They begin to be real.
Research shows that talking out loud to yourself about your dreams can motivate you to move forward and act. It can also fend off negative self-talk and self-criticism.
Are you afraid to share your dreams because you fear others’ reactions? Successful entrepreneurs have graveyards of ideas that were laughed at or didn’t work out. In fact, very few make it big without first experiencing one or more massive failures. Look at Sir James Dyson. Before hitting the mark with a bagless vacuum, he launched 5,127 vacuum prototypes that failed!
What sets apart Sir James Dyson, and others like him, is they knew they were as worthy as anyone else to make it big. So, they didn’t let a few failures (even 5,127 of them!) or other people’s opinions stop them.
“If people aren’t laughing at your dreams, your dreams aren’t big enough!” ~ Robin S. Sharma
In addition to stating your dreams out loud, try writing them down. Be as descriptive as possible. Studies show that people who write down their dreams and goals in vivid detail are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to realize their dreams than those who didn’t.
Related: Is Your Definition of Success Holding You Back?
And finally, when articulating your dreams, challenge yourself: Are you minimizing anything so you don’t upset others? Or because you don’t want to “ruin” the dreams they may have for you? Or because you want to play it safe and avoid failure? Remember: You’re as worthy as anyone else to dream big — and you have as much right to succeed, too!
Power Challenge #3: Believe in your own worth.
A healthy sense of self-worth allows you to trust yourself. You trust your strengths, your skills, your thoughts, your ideas and your ability to succeed. You know that even if things don’t go exactly as planned (and chances are they won’t — that’s just life!), you can figure it out. You will figure it out.
On the flip side, doubting your worth and worthiness sets the stage for self-sabotage and failure.
When you define your dreams, set your goals and believe in yourself, you can make your dreams come true. Believing in yourself is the secret sauce. It gives you staying power and helps you remain steady when unexpected obstacles come your way.
You know you’re just as worthy as anyone else to make it big. Instead of asking. “Why me?” start asking, “Why not me?”
You have as much right to succeed as anyone!
Many of us feel we aren’t worthy or deserving of our dreams. Achieving big dreams is what other people do. People who are smarter than us, more talented than us, richer than us, better networked than us. The list goes on. The “story” we tell ourselves is … it can’t be me.
Some of us have been telling and living this story since we were young. But it’s time to rewrite the narrative. To create opportunities for new chapters to be written — chapters you never imagined could really be part of your life. So, cultivate a strong value for yourself where you recognize your worth, and you stop selling yourself short. Now you’re set to do just about anything!
Looking for a motivational speaker for your next event? Carla energizes and inspires attendees to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Contact her today.