One of my favorite quotes of all time is by the amazing poet Mary Oliver. In her poem “The Summer Day” she asks:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
It’s a valid question, whether or not you believe in the afterlife or reincarnation. This particular version of you is unique and precious. Your time here on Earth is brief – so what legacy will you leave behind?
As a new calendar year begins, you have the opportunity to take a look at how your daily experience lines up with your biggest dreams.
Even if the two don’t seem to be aligned at all, don’t panic or get down on yourself. Like most of us in this society, you were probably raised to “do the right thing” and “please other people first.”
What our culture is only slowly beginning to realize is that we each have unique talents and abilities. The best way to serve others is to follow our soul’s callings.
You came into this life with a mission, or perhaps several missions. You are the only YOU there is! As such, it’s your job – or rather, your joy – to find out what you do best. Look at where this overlaps with what you love to do and then rock the heck out of it!
If your dreams feel especially huge, achieving them in this lifetime might be a bit overwhelming.
The good news is that you don’t have to get to the end point tomorrow or even next month. If you look at the most successful people who are doing what you’re longing for, chances are it took them quite a while to get there. Even the “overnight successes” or the “whiz kids” who are living their dreams in their teens probably put in a LOT of time taking baby steps toward their goals.
The key to getting where you want to be is taking those baby steps.
Are you wondering what the steps might be? In my experience, they can be summed up in three words. (All of them conveniently start with P – hopefully making them easier to remember.) Here they are:
No matter what you want to do with your life, the way to excellence is to practice. If you want to be a rock star, rehearse every day, before or after your day job if necessary. If you long to feed the world’s hungry people, start at the local soup kitchen or in your garden. Practice, practice and practice some more. Be sure to have fun with it!
No matter how huge your big dream is, you can get there if you keep moving toward it. This doesn’t mean banging your head against the wall trying the same things over and over. Let yourself learn from what works and what doesn’t and adjust your course as you go. Be persistent in taking those small steps toward where you want to be.
Surrounding yourself with the right people is key to reaching your goals. This means finding people who believe in you and won’t dismiss your dreams. It also means connecting with others who share your passions and collaborating with them. It might take a team to get where you’re aiming – so start building your dream team now!
As we begin a new year, take time to reflect on what your ideal life would look like – and then build in daily steps in that direction.
It’s easy to set your dreams aside. Yes, you need to take care of the daily tasks of life. But most of us get distracted by things that are by no means necessities. What if you redirected some of your leisure time so that you’re taking those baby steps regularly?
You’ll soon be well along the path toward your big dreams, while having fun on the way.
Let’s make 2018 the year we truly treat our lives as wild and precious. The world will be a better place for it.