Ever since I remember, I’ve been a dreamer. I don’t think it was a learned behavior, I honestly think it was something that’s been in me forever. For some reason God put it on my heart from the beginning to be relentless, gritty and always dream big despite what people around me think or say…this hasn’t been easy.
Growing up, I was pegged as the “over-achiever” whether it was in sports or in the classroom and to be honest, I was embarrased and ashamed by that. I felt like it made me less cool in the eyes of my peers in middle school and high school. I felt like boys didn’t want to date a girl who was too motivated…I remember a boy telling me that I was ‘too intimidating’ in high school and that’s why he never asked me out! I was a whole 5’3″ and barely 100 pounds…how did that make me intimidating?! I hated myself for having these feelings and would try to tone it down or hide my drive on purpose in fear of how others would view me.
Jump forward to the end of the college. I wanted to be a professional runner. I never made an NCAA Final. There are not many professional runners who were never All-Americans and getting a potential group or coach to email someone like me back was nearly impossible. I spent the last few months of my college career trying to prove to OTHERS why I should be able to pursue this running dream. This led to sub-par performance week in and week out because I was focused on how others would view me if I didn’t run “fast enough” to keep running post-collegiately.
But I still had a dream. I still got butterflies in my stomach when I thought about what I wanted to accomplish through running. So I got a job and figured it out. I spent a few years working and running…then decided to add a Master’s Program into my schedule. I felt like the more “stuff” I was doing would make it easier to justify to myself and others if I didn’t reach my goal. So if I didn’t run “fast enough” then I could fall back on the fact that I was working a full-time job and going to school so really my attention wasn’t soley on this one goal. It was a cop out for me because I feared what others would think.
So eventually I quit my job (God willingly my husband was given an amazing career opportunity) and I decided to go all-in on my dream. Now I face new fears which I will touch on in a later post but the most important thing I’ve learned over the past few months is that not everyone in your life will understand you decisions and that is OKAY because they don’t feel what you feel every day either.
Here is my advice to anyone out there with a dream (hint: EVERYONE has a dream). Give yourself permission to dream big. It’s okay to have audacious goals and it’s okay to be a little nervous when you think about them. But work full-heartedly anyways despite what people around you may think or say.