Dreams

There is so much programming out there telling us to “follow your dreams” or “let your imagination run wild” or even “you can be anything your heart desires.” The problem with this programming is that it isn’t universal. Depending on where you grow up and where you come from, you might not have dreams, an imagination, or even know anything more than the small environment that you are part of. Dreams are not universal.

I was one of the kids who didn’t actually hear any of this programming as a child. My programming was more along the lines of “graduate high school before getting pregnant”, “anybody better off than us are assholes”, or “so-and-so should be taking care of us because they are better off.” There was no hope, no dream in the future that was being programmed into me. There was nothing bigger than living off of family who made a life for themselves. Doing more, being more was never a thought.

My imagination as a child was very limited. I didn’t know anything outside of the small town and poor life I was growing up in. I didn’t have good examples in my everyday life of following dreams or even dreaming big. Goals were not something that ever crossed my mind.

Today I am living a vastly different life than the one I grew up in. Why? Because I took the glimpses of life outside of the poor situation I was in from what little TV and movies I watched and books I read and knew there was more out there. I didn’t know how much more. I didn’t ever consider that I would be where I am today. I just knew I wanted more.

My first real dream I followed was going to college. It was never a consideration for my parents to even encourage college, but I knew I wanted to go. I figured going to college would give me an edge on living a better life. Once I was in college, I started seeing more and more of life outside of living a poor life, counting on everyone else. I knew before college that I wanted to live my own life and support myself, but my eyes were being opened and my mind was learning.

I never dreamed of getting my MBA or becoming a project manager, or being a traveling professional. I never dreamed of making the salary I do today or buying a home. I never dreamed of sharing my life with random people or becoming an overlander who has gear to travel to places most vehicles can’t make it. I never dreamed of working from home from a mission-driven company. I never dreamed of most of what exists in my life today.

I did dream of being a writer as a kid, but thought that would never happen because I wasn’t rich enough. I attributed everything to money. Yes, money does provide a lot, but so do goals and dreams.

Today my dreams are bigger than I would have ever expected growing up. I wouldn’t have even imagined my dreams were a thing. That’s the difference of the environment that we are in.

I frequently question why people don’t get off their ass and do something about their situation. I did, why don’t they? I’m learning that it isn’t that easy for some people. The programming that we receive during our formative years can and will determine everything about our life. Some people don’t have the mental acuity to look outside of the hear and now. I frequently lose my patience when people limit themselves, then I have to remind myself that I have limited myself in various ways throughout my life.

Not only does it take hearing or learning about what else is out there, it takes desire to do more. For those of use who come from places where dreaming isn’t or wasn’t a thing, it isn’t just about the dreaming. It is about what we have access to. Some people don’t even have the limited TV or movies that I had. Some people don’t even have books. These people may have a burning desire for something more, they just don’t know what that is because they are in a place where their imagination and ability to dream is limited.

Unfortunately in our world today, there is still so much limitation on the ability to dream and imagine a different life. We have a long way to go.

I am sharing my story because I hope that if you are reading it and you are someone who is in a position that doesn’t have access to anything that will stoke your imagination and dreams, it will give you a little bit of hope for something more.

Growing up I didn’t dream of a better life without the input of TV, movies, and books. I thought the only way to get a better life was to be born into it. Today, I work on my thoughts, dreams, and overall knowledge every single day. My inputs have changed my life tenfold. I am where I am today from one little dream, living a better life than what I grew up in. I didn’t know what that would look like, but I chased it.

What did you dream of when you were a kid? Did you have big, audacious dreams? What life did you dream of?

Freedom

All of my life, I was looking outside of myself for freedom to be myself or freedom to be successful or even just the freedom to be loved. As a child, I witnessed that all of these came from external sources. The primary example I had was that nothing good came to me if it wasn’t granted by someone else.

I haven’t had the freedom I always wanted because I kept waiting to be granted it by someone else. I wanted someone else to tell me that it was okay to be myself or that I was successful. I wanted someone to tell me that even if every single person in my life or that I meet doesn’t love me, my love of myself is enough. I kept waiting and waiting, feeling like it never came.

It wasn’t ever going to come. The freedom I was looking for doesn’t come from other people. The freedom I was looking for couldn’t be granted to me by anybody but me.

I didn’t finally learn this until last year. I didn’t fully learn this until I quit drinking completely. I used alcohol as a crutch to be liked for so many years that I didn’t even know who I was, even if I thought I did. It wasn’t until my thoughts became clearer that I could process all of the personal development that I was learning.

I heard many speakers and life coaches say it over and over again, it all starts with you. It all starts with me. I thought I was starting with me. I thought I was leaning into who I wanted to be. I did, some. But my freedom came when I quit drinking and cleared my mind and have been able to lean into who I am without any crutch.

My freedom to be myself and love myself is growing. I am giving myself more freedom to be my loud self. I am giving myself freedom to learn how to have fun, be silly or ridiculous or whatever, and not judge myself for it out of fear that someone else is judging me. I am giving myself the freedom to truly share my shit-show of a family when people ask me if my family still in New Mexico or how many siblings I have. I am no longer hiding any of what I don’t like about my life because there is more freedom in owning it and acknowledging where I came from to get where I am today.

My freedom is truly coming from within. I am no longer looking outside of myself to be granted the freedom I so desperately wanted. I am the only one who can grant myself the freedom I crave and doing so is yet one more step-by-step process.

I grant myself freedom to be whoever I want to be and to be loved by myself first. I grant myself freedom to make choices that not everybody will love. I grant myself freedom to live a happy and healthy life by my design.

It’s Easy For Her…

…there is no way I could ever be like her.

comparison kills creativity. (1)

Have you ever thought that? I have. It is defeating. It is depressing.

But there is so much wrong with that thought. It took me years to realize it and learn how to overcome it every time that I encountered it.

Now, I see that others might be thinking the same thing about me. No, I’m not getting conceited on you. I’m acknowledging that I am further along in my personal growth journey than some and that might be intimidating.

That thought, “It’s easy for her, there is no way I could ever be like her” is a comparison. It is a comparison that I’ve made for every step of my life. Do any of these sound like things that you have thought?

Yeah, but it won’t be easy for me…

I’m too far gone to be helped…

I don’t know how or where to start…

Self-help/Self-development is for people who are extremely fucked up, that’s not me…

When I first was presented the idea of personal development, I had the last thought. I seriously was of the mindset that only fucked up people read self-help books. I judged them before I ever gave them a shot.

Then people I knew were recommending a couple books in that space and the books didn’t sound like they were weird. So I started reading. All it takes is one step to start.

You have taken that step. You are reading this blog. I share personal development, self-help information. I share my journey through it all.

Personal development isn’t easy. It isn’t because going through the work to truly grow is emotionally and difficult. It takes time. It takes dedication.

In my opinion, nobody is too far gone. Each of us can take a little step every single day. Little steps are how I’ve gotten to where I am. It didn’t happen overnight. 

Again, you’ve already started, you are here. Blogs, books, podcasts, etc. There are so many resources out there depending on what you feel you need to work on. If you don’t know how to determine what to work on, go back to my post about thought work. You can sit and work through your thoughts that are plaguing you. Thoughts always plague us.

I know you’ve probably heard this multiple times, but stop comparing yourself to others. Even as you are growing, comparing yourself to the influencers and to those of us who are a little further along can be painful for you. All you are doing by comparing yourself is strengthening your insecurities. You are making the things that you want to change worse than they already are.

If you want to change something, you can’t compare yourself to someone else. Your journey is different than mine. Your issues (yeah, we all got issues) are different than mine. Your dreams are different than mine. Your situation is different than mine.

It wasn’t easy for me.

I started and stopped in my personal growth journey multiple times. I have battled with some of my issues over and over and over again. There are times that I feel like I’m doing really awesome with one thing and bam! that thing rolls me. Everything I share here is after I’ve done continuous work over long periods of time. I have a lot of life to unpack. I have a lot of work to still grow through.

It isn’t easy for me. I have had to make some big changes in my life just to get to where I want to be. I’ve made big changes to get to this point today. I still struggle with my growth.

It isn’t easy for me and it won’t be easy for you.

I Am Not Mediocre

Mediocrity is how so many of us live our lives. Mediocrity is how we fit in with society. We don’t want to be too over the top so people don’t judge us. We don’t want to fall behind because that life is hard. We want to be right in the middle because the middle is what is comfortable. Mediocrity is safe.

Fuck mediocrity.

I have lived for mediocrity all of my life. I grew up being below mediocrity most of my life. I just wanted to be normal. I equated being normal as fitting into society. Normal was just enough for my life. Normal was just mediocre, nothing special. I didn’t want to stand out for any reason.

I had this realization recently as I was interviewing for jobs. I had just been laid off and I had multiple positions that I was interviewing for and multiple I was expecting offers from. I had two that I was really considering and was comparing against each other. One with a small startup that had a lot of unknowns and wasn’t established. My position would have been a new position that I would create. Another new position with what I believe is potential. This sounds just like the job that I got laid off from. The other position was with a well-established company that already has a project management team with processes in place. This would be a position that is being backfilled. This company has never done layoffs. This would be a safe position to get into.

I didn’t want safe. While the safe position would have allowed me to have a normal schedule and work with one of my close friends again, the startup has so much potential and a mission that I connected with right away.

To me, safe equaled mediocre. Mediocre meant it could take me longer to advance. Mediocre meant I wasn’t creating something to pass on. Safety was not something that called to me.

I didn’t choose the safe job. I chose to right above mediocrity and take a chance. I wanted a challenge and if that challenge means that I’m looking for a job again in three months, six months, or whatever because the startup failed, that’s perfectly fine with me. I have survived multiple layoffs and I know I can survive them in the future.

Mediocrity isn’t for me. I want to live outside of normal. I am not normal and my career isn’t either. Bring on the challenge and bring on the fun I’m about to have.

I’m An Overthinker

Overthinking is what I do best. I can and will overthink for just about anything. It is truly a problem. Are you an overthinker?

Overthinking affects our lives more than we probably would like to admit. We zero in and focus on a specific topic and think about all the possibilities. Usually, the possibilities that we think about are negative. Whether you are ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, overthinking does not benefit your life.

In fact, if you are anything like me, overthinking actually does more harm than good to your life. For me, ruminating on the past usually turns into worrying about the future. I take a thought that I’m overthinking full circle over and over again and it usually happens over multiple days, weeks, or longer.

I tend to start with ruminating on a situation that I didn’t like how I behaved. I think about how shitty I was, how embarrassing I made the situation, or how I offended or hurt someone. I go on and on until I fast forward to the future and create a whole new situation with the same people where I encounter something similar and have to re-write my behavior. I usually try to think the situation into an existence where I stand up for myself and the other person or people are put in their place. This comes from the victim mentality that I was raised with.

Lately, I’ve been able to catch myself in this process. I stop myself from going down this rabbit hole creating drama in my mind that doesn’t actually exist. It’s not easy to do, but it is so worth it. The overthinking that I do to get me to this point tells me that the other person in the situation is bullying me or that I’m a fucked up person. It wears me down without me even being in the other person’s presence.

Not only do I ruminate and worry about the future, but I also worry about the little things. Will I look absolutely stupid in this outfit, am I over/underdressed? What happens if I’m late? What happens if we break something on the truck? What if we don’t have enough money? What if they judge me for this? Don’t be too loud, we don’t want to offend anyone. Don’t have sex here, this is Sally’s house and that is disrespectful. Don’t make the food according to your dietary preferences, you don’t want to offend everyone else who is eating. Don’t quit drinking alcohol, you won’t have anything in common with Sally and won’t have anything to bond over anymore. I could go on and on with thoughts that have crossed my mind. I am always overthinking everything.

How do I course correct my overthinking train of thought? I stop dead in my tracks and twist the thought. If Sally was staying in my house, how would I feel about her and her husband having sex if nobody actually heard or knew it was happening? How would I feel if Sally was late to the BBQ by two minutes? How would I feel if Sally told me that they couldn’t go to the event because it wasn’t in their budget?

Let me tell you how I would respond. I would say have fun and have sex if nobody knows about it. Two minutes is nothing, glad you are here safely. I totally get budgets and I think is awesome you are sticking to yours.

I would respond completely different to other people than I do to myself when I get trapped in an overthinking episode. While I’m not even close to perfect in eliminating my overthinking, I can proudly say that by flipping the situation, I am a recovering overthinker. I have stopped so many horrible overthinking trains of thought from spiraling so far out of control that I’m afraid to be in Sally’s presence. I have improved how I behave and show up for not only myself but the people I overthink about.

Overthinking doesn’t always have to control our lives. We can take back control. We just have to work for it. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it.

How can you flip your overthinking train of thought?