Dreaming Big

July 11, 2011

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I was emailing with a friend of mine last week about hiking the Appalachian Trail. I’ve always thought it would be an awesome challenge, hiking from Georgia to Maine, and he’s done it.

Hidden in the middle of his paragraphs about those six months on the trail, he wrote a gem:

“I think some people hike the AT with huge dreams, and then there is another group of people who realize they can dream big after doing it.”

That flipped the ah-ha switch in my brain. I write a lot here about why it’s worth taking a leap in life, why you should do it now and how you can make it happen. But that sentence made me realize that doing something awesome — what author Jenny Blake calls Making Sh*t Happen — benefits each of us many times over. Because once you’ve done it, that one-time experience turns into a springboard of confidence, a launching pad that opens doors to more opportunities. Once you’ve done it, you’ve proven to yourself that you can live how you want to.

And that means you’ll dream big — and accomplish big — from there on out.

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8 Replies to “Dreaming Big”

  • Matt says:

    I haven’t had a chance to start reading it yet but you might want to check out Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman (http://www.hikingthrough.com/).

  • Kim Kircher says:

    I used to teach Outward Bound courses. The students always came away with an increased sense of self-worth and confidence. Each challenge on course taught them a lesson: you did this hard activity, now you can do the next one that comes along. We need these intentional challenges in our life. They are like dress rehearsals for the real thing.

    • Alexis Grant says:

      Yes, Kim! Yet another thing we have in common… I did a bit of Outward Bound, too. A month-long internship with them when I was in college, canoeing in the Everglades with at-risk kids. You’re so right about dress rehearsals. Except I think those moments are even more than that — The older I get, the more I realize those moments are what life’s about.

      • Kim Kircher says:

        You might be right about that Alexis. When I say “real thing”, I mean the hard challenges that come our way. Voluntary challenges taught me how to get through a really difficult (involuntary) time in my life, when my husband needed a liver transplant. I relied on lessons from my adventures to help me get through. I wrote a memoir based on this theme. But, I agree that the adventures we choose really are what it’s all about. Unless, of course, it’s true what they say about the hokey pokey.

  • I love this! Once I took one (intercontinental) leap, it gave me a bit more confidence to leap again. And I agree that outdoor challenges put these leaps into perspective.

  • Torre says:

    “Because once you’ve done it, that one-time experience turns into a springboard of confidence, a launching pad that opens doors to more opportunities.” “” this is SO TRUE and it’s the very reason that ““ despite being terrified ““ I embark on big, scary pursuits. The harder the challenge, the louder the chant in my head: I did THAT so I can do ANYTHING. That’s a pretty great souveiner to take home from an epic adventure! 🙂

  • Ami says:

    “Once you’ve done it, you’ve proven to yourself that you can live how you want to.”

    That sentence rings so true for me. That’s exactly how I’ve felt since finishing my 200-hr yoga teacher training. It’s amazing how much confidence and motivation you gain from completing a task that was challenging (and maybe even absolutely terrifying).

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