[“the first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are” – John Pierpont Morgan]
July 18, 2013. I’m not good with years or dates. I only know this was the day because I found the piece of paper I had scribbled on during an afternoon with three coworkers. Mid summer. Mid twenties. A couple hours before I had to go to work.
I was kind of lost. I was standing still.
The big question was posed – What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?
I had heard that question many times before. But for some reason that afternoon the real honest answer came up – or maybe it had been there all along and I was finally ready to listen to it.
lululemon will call this kind of work goal setting. Danielle Laporte might call itDesire Mapping. [Read that book!] My writing mentor would call it intention setting. This particular question is Brian Tracy’s; he calls this work thePsychology of Achievement. My dad has a bucket list. My mom has a vacation planner. I dabble in all of the above.
The truth about me is that I’m as into personal development and making my life as rad as possible as I am going out on friday nights. I guess you could say I found a way to blend the two.
I say yes to out-of-body spiritual woo-woo stuff on yoga retreats. I say yes to doubles on Thursdays. Yes to personal development seminars and the self-help section at Chapters. Yes to making terrible decisions and laughing about them later.
So July 18th. Two summers ago. I got really honest with the question I mentioned above. “I would be our generations Candace Bushnell. I want to be recognized in a magazine as our generations Carrie Bradshaw.”
I had also heard the follow up question many times before. “What’s one thing you could do that would be a step in the right direction?”
Here’s my two cents on that question: I don’t think it so much matters what small step you take – it’s just the act of taking a step.
My favorite university professor who I met in 2006, and now my writing mentor and as I like to call her, my life coach, taught me a really important lesson: So often we get stuck in a spot where all we’re doing is debating to take path A or path B. We weigh the pros and cons, second guess ourselves, and let fear [of a million things] stop us from making a choice. We think that the big decision is whether we choose A or B. But the truth is, the real decision is just making Adecision. Any decision. What matters is pulling the trigger.
Because nothing is going to happen if you stand still. At least if you choose B, and it turns out to be shit, you can course-correct. You learn something. You’re going somewhere. My small step was sending my university professor an email to see if she was still teaching writing workshops. [She is – http://www.languageofyoga.com/%5D
There were thousands of other tiny choices and steps along the way. But what amazes me is how much ease there was in all of this. As soon as I took that first step, things started rolling. I was just published for the first time, I write for Swagger Communications, I’m a regular contributor to Branded Magazine, and someone from the Sun just contacted me about freelancing. Last night I started to put together a portfolio. Things are rolling, one step at a time. Branded Magazine called me “Calgary’s Carrie Bradshaw.” That’s pretty close to what I scribbled down two summers ago.
And all I’m doing is being me, writing about what I want to write about, and saying yes to people, opportunities and connections. It can be that simple.
Someone else who is chasing dreams and taking tiny steps is my friend & photographer Nina. @ninavis www.ninavisphoto.com
We got together this winter because a) I was freaking out and feeling really self conscious about a magazine photo shoot I had just done and b) I wanted to capture this time of my life with more than just selfies. I wanted photos that felt like me, in my condo, in my belongs-on-a-beach wardrobe.
I have a mini freakout every time I hit “publish” on my blog [including right now] and Nina has a mini freakout every time she puts her images out into the world. Of course we do. We’re human. We’re girls taking paths a little less traveled and a little more risky.
Judgemental voice inside my head every day that I’m getting better at ignoring:Your dream is to be a writer? Good luck with that one.
But being able to express who we are creatively, and that feeling I have right now which I’m pretty sure is my heart going YES YES YES … these things make it all worth it.