When I picked up the book by Whitney Johnson “Dare. Dream. Do.” I thought to myself: “So simple. This call to action is so simple!” Yet, for some reason, most of us struggle to dare, we gave up dreaming, and don’t act because we are afraid to end up a failure.
As I read through the amazing stories of women in the book from all walks of lives, cultures, and ambitions, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the strength and wisdom of these women. But the more you read, the more you understand the profound truth. If you don’t dare dare, you won’t conquer your fears. If you don’t dream, you won’t move forward. If you don’t do, you won’t know what your limits really are. And at the center of it all is faith, a true belief in yourself. “Achieving goals isn’t as much about gaining credentials or training as it is believing in possibilities and being in a place where you can explore possibilities,” says Johnson.
As I looked back at my life and my accomplishments, I wanted to offer my view of “dare, dream, do” and what us, women, can do in achieving the successes we deserve.
We don’t dare enough. And why not?
I have worked with too many women who were afraid to speak up during the meetings either because they were afraid to look silly or because they didn’t think their opinions were important enough. And later on, when someone else was praised for the same idea, they kicked themselves for not daring to speak. I’ve worked with brilliant women who didn’t think they deserved the promotion and hence didn’t apply for the management position, though they were capable enough to lead. I’ve known women who declined the opportunities to speak at industry events because they didn’t think they have anything important to say.
What if you do one thing, one small thing a week that pushes you beyond your comfort zone? The trick is to start small. And not to give up. I have a friend who consistently does things that scare her: she got her MBA late in life because she wasn’t sure she would be able to, she got her pilot license because she was afraid of heights, etc. You see, if you start small, dare yourself to do things that you always wanted to do but lacked confidence to do them, if you persevere, you will discover the strength and creativity that you didn’t know you had. And the best part – with each attempt you will become more and more confident. Your eyes will open to new opportunities that you might have missed before.
So dare! Dare every day! You only have one life, don’t live it according to someone else’s rules.
Sometimes we get so lost in our everyday lives that we forget to dream. We tell ourselves that it’s too late, we are too old, the situation isn’t conducive to realizing our dreams, and the list of excuses goes on. Sounds familiar? I bet it does. We have all been there. But if you don’t dream up what your life might look like, how would you ever get there?
Dreaming makes us who we are, it allows us to imagine and, if we are lucky, to inspire others. Dreams keep us going on tough days, they are our rainbow at the end of the storm.
So I urge you to take a long walk by yourself and dream. What is it that you always wanted to do, but never got to? What changes would make you happier in your life? Talk to your friends and your family, ask them for advice and support. Maybe your dreams are not as unattainable as you thought. Surround yourself with people who are positive, who believe in you. Draw your dream in a form of a picture or write it up as a quote and place it somewhere where you can see it, every day. This will help make it a little bit more real.
Our dreams are just that, our dreams, if we don’t act on them.
Growing up in Russia, I never thought I’d get the opportunity to live in the U.S., I never thought I’d be an author in my thirties, and that I would do what I love. But I did dream. And every dream in my life, one by one, became a reality.
Here is the truth – there is nothing you can’t do! I believe that wholeheartedly. And it’s not because I am an eternal optimist and I want to cheer you up. It is because I have done it, amazing people in my life have done it, and you can do it.
The trick is to break your dream up in small sprints, achievable goals that you can execute one by one. Plan out what small things that you can do, small steps you can take that could lead to ultimately getting to your dream and work on them. Enlist the help of people who believe in you – your own personal advisory board – and keep moving forward. Step by step, slowly, but deliberately. You will be amazed what you are able to accomplish.
So make a plan. Today! Identify the steps you need to take to make your plan a reality. Reach out to friends and family and ask for advice. Reach out to others who may have knowledge or connections to take you to the next step in your plan. And if there is anything I can do to help you with your dream – please let me know.
And finally, I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t add my own “D” to the list.
Strive for excellence, in everything you do. Whatever you offer the world, delight it! Delight and excellence come from your passion, your motivation to be the best you can be. It is my belief that it is never too late to pursue your passions, change your careers, and walk a new path. So go back to your dreams, continuously, ferociously. Dare to craft new dreams and goals and execute on them. Only then you will know that you left your mark in the world and you will live your life with no regrets.
I would like to end this post with the question that Whitney Johnson posed at the closing of her book: “What one thing, one small thing, will you do to dream today?”
Originally published in Huffington Post