Recently I listened to Craig Valentine, an award winning speaker and trainer, give a talk and he said something that struck me as profoundly interesting. I am paraphrasing, but he began by posing a question to the effect of “what is it that you think keeps us from pursuing our dreams, or from being great at something?” As you might expect, a number of answers were thrown out that included things like fear, ourselves, doubt in our ability, lack of resources, etc. Then, Mr. Valentine said, “those are all great answers, but they’re not the number one answer.” He said that the thing that keeps us from pursuing our dreams is not something bad, but something good. He then gave a story about how it had been his dream to become a full-time speaker and when the time had come for him to pursue it and leave his job, his employer ended up offering him a salary that was 4 times his current one. This meant that his salary would be well into 6-figures. After going home and talking the incredible offer over with his wife, he said that she told him, “your dream is not for sale.” He left his job and pursued his dream.
In case you are curious, yes, it paid off hugely, but I don’t know that that was the most important piece of what made his story phenomenal. I wanted to share this with you because of what it challenges us to think about when it comes to our own lives. We can readily identify those minuses that can be impediments, or barriers to our dreams, but we don’t often consider the way the pluses can cause us to settle.
How often does comfort, stability, and benefits, all of which are great things to have and to desire, keep us standing still rather than moving forward? If pursuing what we really want means experiencing some discomfort, uncertainty, and risk, is it worth it to us to do so? Essentially, Mr. Valentine suggested that sometimes the thing that stands in the way of our dreams, of us being greater than we are today, is being too comfortable being good.
From my perspective, being good can give rise to complacency and complacency is your better paralyzed. The good news is that the paralysis doesn’t have to be permanent. It can be a temporary condition. It is up to you. So, how is it that you can get moving again toward your better, best? Remember your dream, purpose, call, and/or passion. Remember what you want for yourself. I am saying ‘remember’ because the other thing that being too comfortable being good does, is that it slowly suppresses our goals and dreams. It slowly buries them along with our purpose beneath the comforts that good has brought to us. And, so we forget that thing at which we desired to be great. We forget the feeling of hunger for doing something that matters for us and to others. We forget that it is ok for us to be better than good. We forget that we wanted better for ourselves and our families. We forget what we saw in ourselves.
The result of forgetting all of that is settling for where you are. Remember, be encouraged.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.