“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” –T.S. Elliot
It is the bet we make when we step out of our comfort zone to chase a dream we’re committed to.
Several years ago, I gave up my job with an international firm where I was earning a great salary. I traded off my good job for the pursuit of the dream I had held for many years: starting my own business. Family and friends were shocked at my decision. My wife, however, believed in the dream, though I could tell that she too was apprehensive. I remember a friend calling to tell me that I must be out of my mind, that I was making a big mistake. He assured me that I’d regret it.
While I’ve had some successes, I’ve also had a fair share of tough times. During such moments, I’ve paused to reflect on the conversations I had when I was starting out. I’ve asked myself if, in retrospect and with the benefit of hindsight, I’d make the same decision. The answer is always clear in my mind: It’s a resounding ‘Yes’!
A dream is long term, but we often get distracted, or we compromise it for short-term need, or get busy. Life happens, fast and furious. Then a relative, or a close friend, dies unexpectedly. We’re jolted. We stop and think of our own lives. And what our biggest regrets would be if we were suddenly sitting on our deathbed.
Indulge me as I ask you to travel through time into the future. You’re in your twilight years. Perhaps on your 80th birthday, surrounded by those closest to you. You’re looking at your life through a time prism.
What would you regret most not having attempted in your life?
List the three biggest regrets. Would it be that you didn’t let yourself be happier? Or you neglected some relationships? Or you didn’t start that business? Or write those books? Or you worked too hard and missed your children’s youth? Or you didn’t give expression to your gifts and talents? Or you never had the courage to be true to yourself, but lived according to other people’s wishes and expectations of you?
The dreams that have come true did so because people stuck to them. They paid the price to keep their dream alive. They refused to be discouraged. They did not let disappointment get the upper hand. Challenges served only to spur them on to greater efforts.
What are you doing today to live your boldest dream? Take the leap and act on it. Your dream can come true, be determined to pursue it. You won’t regret having taken the risk.