A little over six years ago I began a journey of checking off items on a long list of dreams. The list was made in a time when I was lost and trying to find solid ground. I didn't know where I was going to live, I was alone, my career was up in the air, I was tired, and I didn't feel like things could get any worse. I looked at that huge list of 101 Dreams and thought, "Yeah right. Who am I to want this much? Who am I to think I can do this?" Five years later I'd accomplished 91 Dreams and found a life I couldn't have imagined - one filled with friends, a beautiful home, two new careers, travel, dancing, and parties,and most of all, a new confidence in who I was and what I could accomplish.
It was a crazy path to get there and it wasn't always rosy. At times it was downright terrifying with lots of bumps. I learned to trust in a higher power, to speak from the heart without fear of what people would think of me, and to not settle for anything less than magnificence.
In June of 2013, with THE LAKE HOUSE published and being chosen as the best summer read in major cities, a new book concept coming to fruition, and a very comfortable life with my bridal business going well, I felt that I had arrived where I wanted to be.
But life doesn't sit still.
At book clubs, women talked about my list of dreams. I began to hear conversations about how it was better to be the giver than the receiver in life and many couldn't imagine doing what I'd done. I started to see how women put their dreams last to care for everyone else first. I recognized who I'd been before pursuing my list in so many of these women, and I have to say I was tired of the conversation. So I thought I'd change it.
I put together a contest to bribe women to achieve their dreams. I got answers that they wanted to lose weight, get a six-pack, and many couldn't name their dreams. If they could they found they couldn't find space to pursue them.
The conversations bothered me. Meanwhile, my agent was stating that the book I was thinking about wasn't fully formed and I didn't know where to take it. Along with that my bridal business began to have trouble. Though life was still good, it seemed that no matter how hard I worked, I was spinning my wheels.
Then I had this idea.
What if I could create the space for people to pursue their dreams? A day long event where attendees could try out different items on their list and then go online and connect with the women they met at the event. We could start to change the conversation.
I knew it wouldn't be easy, but as I opened doors and looked into doing these events I knew I needed help. I found what was to be a great business partner, but in order to make it all happen I had to sell the security of my home for the seed money and move back to my hometown of Boston. As soon as I'd done this, and right before my move, I had to fire that partner. But I found new partners and put together a team only to land in Boston and have many of them not return my phone calls. The new web designer I hired was destroying my website and I had to fire him because I was doing all the work. This dream to help others was looking more and more like a nightmare.
I found myself without a home and my stuff in storage waking up every day trying to make this business happen and falling asleep with it still on my brain. I had a new book proposal due and a bridal business to relight. There weren't enough hours in the day.
I write this on the day we launch the site, not for pity's sake, but to show you the truth of pursuing a dream.
I realized this morning, that I stand in almost the same place I stood six years ago when I made the list: No solid home, uncertainty of the huge scale of what I'm going after and if I can do it, fear very much present, and though I have incredible family and friends cheering me on and two young women who work hard to see this dream come to life, I feel alone. Further, it now costs me money to work instead of bringing in income.
So why keep going?
Because I believe this conversation that women and men have about their dreams needs to change. I know after six years of pursuing my dreams that our dreams are the roadmap to life we're meant to live. I have no idea how this will turn out, but I've opened doors and met incredible people along my way, and I'll always be grateful for what this journey has taught me. I now believe I've earned a MBA with the hands on experience I've had.
Dreams aren't about fluffy clouds and magic wands. They are about finding the torch to light when you feel like the light has gone out.
What's your dream? How have you or why haven't you pursued it? Leave a comment and let's start this conversation.