“What do you want to do before you die?” the presenter asked, clicking to the next slide in her presentation.
I was at my monthly professional organizers meeting, listening to our speaker talk about financial matters for end of life. I was there for the camaraderie and the excellent cake. I did not expect to get existential.
She paused, waiting for us to write down ideas.
I stared at my blank paper. What do I want to do before I die? Nothing came to mind, and then I realized why.
I had already done it.
Writing a book has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. It was the thing I put on bucket lists and talked about sometimes, but mostly dreamed about, wistfully, with a heart full of fear that I would never do it.
But I did.
I did something BIG. Something I’ve always wanted to do. And I didn’t realize this until I sat at that meeting with a plate of cake crumbs and some blank lines. I had accomplished my big dream.
I paused to take it in. And then another question came to mind. How did I do that?
Today I’d like to share 5 things I’ve learned about doing something BIG in the hopes that it will help you accomplish that big dream of yours, too.
- There’s no “good time” to accomplish your dream. When I set out last May to write a book, I was on the brink of summer vacation with three 8-year-olds. I couldn’t rely on the school day for regular, kid-free writing time, and I was also running a business. This was not a “good time” to write a book, but you know what? There is no good time to write a book. If you want to do something big, you just have to do it. The perfect time will never show up, because there is no perfect time.
- MAKE the time. If you want to do something big, you must MAKE the time. I dislike the phrase “find the time” because that sounds like there are hidden pockets of time somewhere and all you need to do is discover them. Not so. To write my book, I blocked out hours on my calendar, hired a babysitter, and went to a coffee shop to write. That’s it. Nothin’ fancy. Just plain old hard work. MAKE the time and you will do amazing things.
- Failure is impossible. As I reached the end of the book writing process, I got nervous. What if no one bought the book? I’d invested time and money and I worried that it had been a waste. Lucky for me, Josh stepped in with some perspective, “It doesn’t matter if nobody buys the book. You still accomplished something you really wanted to do.” (See why I married this guy???) It’s true. If you summon the guts to reach for your dream, you have already succeeded. Or think of it this way: If you have a dream and you aren’t reaching for it, you are currently failing. Your first, smallest baby step toward your dream is your first success. You cannot fail if you are moving toward your dream. It is impossible.
- Speak up. Ain’t no good hiding that dream in your closet! I often tell myself, “Nobody cares about my book as much as I do.” It’s up to me to be the voice for my dream and let others know about it. My publisher, web designer, and friends–while they certainly care about me–are not going to sell my books for me. You are your dream’s voice. Let it be heard.
- People will show up. This one gives me unlimited faith in the goodness of humanity. To get my book out there, I needed foot soldiers. I asked 75 people to join my team and 50 of them said yes. They read advance copies, wrote reviews, talked the book up to friends, posted on social media, sent emails, and threatened to unfriend people who didn’t buy it. (Just kidding! They did not do that. They are all extremely nice people.) I remember the shock of watching my first Facebook post the morning of launch, how it spread from page to page without me doing anything. Amazed, tears in my eyes, I whispered to myself, “They showed up.” People will show up for your dream. Especially if it’s big.
I hope this post inspires you to reach for a dream that might be sitting in a dusty corner of your closet. Maybe it’s time to dust it off, bring it into the light, and take that first tiny step toward making it happen.
And hey, if one of your dreams is to tackle those dusty corners of your closet, call me for some help. 😉
Thank you, be well, and dream BIG!
Rose Lounsbury is a minimalism coach, speaker, and author of the bestselling “Less: Minimalism for Real.” After blogging about her journey toward a minimalist lifestyle, Rose was inspired to start Less, a minimalist-minded professional organizing company. Rose has been featured on Fox News Good Day Columbus and WDTN Living Dayton. If you’d like to contact Rose for a speaking engagement or help with a minimizing project, you can email her at [email protected] or visit her online at OrganizeWithLess.com.