The convenient truth about dreams (the big, scary ones)

Find out why so few of us live up to our childhood ideals, and how you can take steps towards living the life you want now – and finally achieve your big, scary dreams.

How has your life turned out? Would the seven-year-old you – the one who dreamed of being an astronaut or movie star – approve? Or would they look at the life you’ve settled for and feel cheated?

Celia Balmer from Swagger & Spice asks what goes wrong between our big childhood dreams, and more modest adult reality. And how, maybe, we can learn a lesson from the seven-year-old you and have the courage to dream big still – and actually go for the life we really want.

We all dream big when we’re kids

“When I grow up I want to be a regional sales manager.”

There’s a very good reason why you’ll never hear these words come out of a child’s mouth. Actress maybe. Scientist, sure. Middle management in a mid-sized firm? Not so much.

You see, we dream big when we’re kids. We imagine ourselves in rocket ships heading for the moon or on the starting blocks at the Olympics. We don’t picture ourselves in a strip lit office where a plastic packet containing prawn and rocket on brown is the highlight of the day.

And yet all too often, that’s where we end up. But it shouldn’t be that way. It’s 2016, no one should ever be willing the clock to tick tock quicker to five.

What’s holding us back from our dreams?

So what is putting its bum in the way of your child and their dream? Because something certainly is.

It’s fear. That little &*$% again – the scourge of the human race (along with trans fats and Jeremy Kyle).

Fear is the lens through which we view the world and our options in it. We enter our teens thinking the world’s our personal sweetie shop. We leave those wonder years with an acute fear of failure, social embarrassment and of course the biggie – what our parents will say.

We ditch our dreams for more serious goals

So we ditch the big plans (haven’t got the skin to be an actress anyway) and tell those daydreams to sling their hook. There are university debts to accumulate and career beanstalks to climb. It’s time to be serious, not frivolous and indulgent.

And of course time jogs on, families are born and priorities change. Binge drinking on Friday nights is out, yoga is in. And it’s good, really, really good, save for that bitchy little voice at the back of the mind. The one that says you should have done more. You could have done more. People have done twice as much with half your brains, education and gift horses in life.

It’s the voice you hear when you’re just nodding off at night, or brushing your teeth, or waiting for a new checkout to open. And like a Brit in a foreign land who is trying to make themselves understood, that voice just gets louder and louder and louder.

What’s the solution?

So what’s the solution? Count your blessings, give a shake of the head and drown out the whining with vino?

Or, while the laughter lines have not yet solidified into wrinkles, commit to doing something big. Where you reconnect with the inner kid for whom failure was not in their vocab?

You know the answer.

What is YOUR dream flitting from shadow to shadow in the back of your mind? And you’d better not say becoming conversational in Spanish or learning Wonderwall on the guitar – this is about blowing the roof off your self.

For your biggest goal is not the thing that involves the most work. It’s the thing that involves the most fear. Is it getting on stage? Writing a comedy? Starting your own youtube channel where you play nothing but Britney songs on jam jars?

Discovering you’re no scaredy-cat with the discipline of a drill-sergeant; this is where fulfillment snoozes. And it’s the only you’ll be able to sleep easy through life without the aid of some nytol.

And those little fears that cause you unease? Like not having dental insurance, or admin headaches, or the constant threat of parking tickets… they just melt away. They can’t get a foothold on the chick who’s just played to a crowd, or the guy who’s just been handed a black belt, or the family who’ve just sailed across an ocean.

How to get started on your big, scary dream

Are you ready to ditch disappointment and mediocrity and go for your big, scary dream? If so, here are the first three tiny steps to take:

  1. Admit it to yourself.
  2. Admit it to your partner.
  3. Perform a google search (where all good stuff takes the starting blocks).

Once you start it’s not that scary. The truth is it takes barely more energy to go for the big goals than to dabble with the pebbles. But it’s only the big ones that will leave you breathless.

For more straight-talking business advice, visit Swagger & Spice, a creative business armoury for people who refuse to sink in the slurry of mediocrity.