How many different careers did you idealize when you were young? What were they? If any were like mine, a few of your childhood aspirations may have made your parents a bit crazy, and not in a good way. One such dream for me was to become the first female NFL quarterback for the then, Baltimore Colts. As you probably guessed, that exact goal never came to fruition. However, a more desirable completion did.
Before we go down that path, can you guess what was at the heart or the "why" I wanted to play for the Colts? Would you be able to verbalize the deep motivation behind one of your own childhood dreams?
My underlying desire was to be a part of the "modern-day-warrior-like-athletic" ethos that football represented to my young, impressionable tom-boy self. This is what I clung to like a child holding a teddy bear close while drifting off to sleep. When I grew, the teddy bear (which in this scenario represents the essence of my quarterback dream) moved from my arms, to become a sentinel at the end of the bed. And as I matured it found its place on the shelf. However, I never gave the dream away. Although the journey has seemed long, I do believe that by allowing the dream to remain safely tucked away, the initial aspiration came alive at an optimal time. Here are a few of the highlights as the dream awakened at different points in my life:
I was invited into the highly acclaimed Gym Jones where I've been in the middle of grit your teeth, sweaty mental battles pushing the boundaries of my own head, heart and body. And not just engaged with an inner battle but thusly so in camaraderie by the side of NFL football players, extreme alpinists, MMA fighters, Navy Seals, Jujitsu world champions, a rock star and such.
Once sufficiently trained and prepped, I followed my own war cry to compete in triathlons. Even more recently, my son and I reinvented ourselves as Spartans and earned our stripes and medals in the mountains of Utah, the rolling fields of Sacramento, and through a prickly pear laden course carved out in the heart of Texas.
But the crowning jewels for this dream materialized shortly after Sarah Whalen walked into my office decked in her son's (Griff Whalen) Indianapolis Colt jersey. It was game night for Sarah. For me it was a moment to ooze with enthusiasm. I told Sarah about my childhood wish and she sympathized with a story about wanting a pony. I didn't realize that our commiserating would be more than that. Yet a few weeks later I received a package and the SoulSalt team documented the unwrapping.
The scenarios noted above, and other incredible experiences have solidified for me that some of our seemingly extravagant childhood desires hold merit. Like raw footage, they potentially refine down into revelations of some of the most enlivened, large and brilliant aspects of who we truly are. They can encourage us to stretch and be inspired. Other times they challenge us to actualize our own boldness into being.
So, back to you. How would it be if you dusted off or recovered one of your childhood dreams? What could happen if you allowed it to grow up and find a place inside your experiences? Who would this dream allow you to be? I want to know. And not just that, I'll cheer you on.
Today when someone looks at me and queries about "why" I have leaped into some of my adventures, I smile confidently inside. I don't expect them to fully comprehend that by doing so, some of the most daring and exciting parts of me were finally given voice. And in the process I'm a better, happier, more confident self. Try it! I know you'll like it!