What would you say to your 22 year old self? I thought about this today.
I would tell her feeling the fear when you think of your big dream is normal. It doesn’t mean you are in the wrong path. It isn’t a sign that says STOP but it means you are up to something big in your life. It should feel this way. Dreams should make your heart beat faster. Otherwise they are not dreams but only plans. Martin Luther King didn’t start his speech with “I have a plan”. I don’t think he would have inspired millions of people with “a plan”. Dreams come at least a few sizes larger so that you grow with them. Dreams means you don’t know how to get there but you believe deep in your heart that you can.
If you think about it, everything around you started with a dream. Even the simple things we don’t notice every day. The comfortable chair you might be sitting on right now or that very tall building you walk by every day. That song that makes you feel so happy or that art work that you adore. Everything.
I would tell her not to stop dreaming just because she is terrified at the thought of achieving it. I would show the honest biographies of people I admire that tell how all of them had the fear but they did it anyway.
I would tell her not to misinterpret that squishy knot in her stomach as a sign that something is wrong. That is a sign to go forward; that you have something you are excited about. That she should never judge what she can achieve with her circumstances; that everything is possible when she believes herself. That there is a path that she can never see at the beginning that she can trust. That she should only focus on the dream and why it means so much to her and forget about the how. Just start living the dream even it is only baby steps at the beginning.
I would tell her she is no less than all the dreamers. They were persistent. They stood up and walked again after a big fall. I would share the story of Amy Purdy who got an Olympic Medal after both of her legs were amputated. I would tell her how Howard Schultz went to more than 200 people until he got someone to say yes to invest in his business. I would tell the story of an incredible woman’s story who became a professor in US being born in a small village without any electricity in Africa. I would tell her how the Kentucky Derby winner jockey Espinoza dreamed of becoming a jockey when he was young living with his 11 siblings in Mexico.
As Arianne Huffington says “But you have to do what you dream of doing, while you’re afraid.”
That’s what I would tell my 22 year old self.