Before my dreams of being a lawyer, I wanted to be a singer. I had all the heart and zero stage fright. Forget that my “stage” was in an empty church. As a child, those details were inconsequential. Desire trumped rational. [Spoiler alert: I did not become a performer or a lawyer, but they were good aspirations.]
Being raised in the era of MTV, VH-1, and Night Tracks, I had ample reason to believe the life of a performer was dazzling and within reach. I had a front row to seat to experience lyrics that captured sentiments I could not articulate. Feeling so connected through song, my desire to make a living as a performer seemed like an obvious choice.
Sadly, desire doesn’t compensate for inability. I do not have an ounce of singing talent. I can say the words melody and harmony, but I cannot sing a harmony. I CAN sing along to a song on the radio, but there is no deviating from the melody or adding anything extra. If you turn the music off while I’m singing, the tune takes a sudden and tragic nose-dive.
All the “want-to” in the world isn’t enough to make me a good singer. Joining a choir or taking voice lessons may have been valuable first steps toward realizing my dreams of becoming a singer. Desire plus work can sometimes make the dream work. Unfortunately, work often feels like a four-letter word.
Instead of work, it’s easier to let go of silly, far-off dreams. If I’m honest, abandoning dreams keeps disappointment at bay too. Underneath all my reasons for giving up on the desires of my heart was a deeply rooted belief that I didn’t have the things necessary to succeed.
It’s funny how long-held beliefs can be deeply rooted and entirely inaccurate. The narrative I told myself about not being smart enough to become a lawyer or singer spread beyond dreams of my livelihood. They echoed in every opportunity I encountered, and choice I made.
Only one thing pulled me out of my tendency to shrink back and give up on dreams; truth and truth-tellers. I had to be convinced of the good that was within me when I didn’t have eyes to see it myself. I needed the encouragement of actual people to affirm abilities I embodied. The truth-tellers in my life began calling out leadership traits and influence they witnessed in me. Then, they gave me opportunities to exercise both.
Although I didn’t become a lawyer or performer, I did become a teacher. I often stand on a stage and use a microphone in front of an actual audience. I write lyrics [of sorts] and deliver them in such a way as to compel others to pursue hope. This is work, but it’s also the convergence of dreams and ability.
I don’t know if you’ve deferred to lesser things, or if you decided your dreams were too silly to pursue, but I want to encourage you right where you are. Find yourself some truth-tellers, tell them your desires, and ask them to hope with you. Don’t stop there, though. After you’ve circled the wagons, start the work to step toward realizing your dream.
Don’t be afraid to work, just don’t forget to invite a friend. Work is always better when shared. Let today be a day you step toward your dream instead of away from it.
#momentoftruthmonday #work #fourletterword #truthtellers #dreams #lifelessons