by Marcy McKenna | Featured Contributor
We all have a dream—from the time we were little we were taught to dream big. That we could achieve anything we wanted, if we just put our mind to it. That if we wish upon a star, dreams really do come true. For some of us that dream is to become a famous Hollywood star. For others it’s to own a restaurant or to publish a book. No matter what the dream, as middle age approaches or even passes us by, many of us find we’ve swept our dream aside in lieu of a safer route. We find ourselves working to live rather than living to work.
For me that dream was housed inside of a thick white binder. By design, the binder didn’t have a name on it. I didn’t want anyone to know the binder existed, because if they did, I would somehow feel responsible or held accountable to actually go after that dream and make it happen. And then what if I failed?
About eight years ago my financial circumstances took an abrupt turn as the industry my husband is in went on strike. There was no end in sight and the fear of the unknown kept me up for countless nights. I have three young children including one who was born with special needs, so the idea of not being able to provide for them weighed tremendously heavy on me. Because of the circumstances of the strike, my husband was not allowed to work.
Without realizing it, I had found my “why”.
I opened that white binder and flipped through the pages staring at the many inventions I had dreamed up over the years—sixteen of them to be exact. I chose one and made the decision at that moment that come hell or high water I would bring that invention to life and start making an income for my family. There was something so liberating about that moment. And from that moment on, everything changed.
I pushed fear aside and vowed that failure was no longer an option. There would be no Plan B. My “why” gave me the courage to take unimaginable risks and to push forward no matter what obstacles were in my way—and let me tell, there were plenty of them! That “why” had me setting my alarm at 4:30am every day and getting out of bed, even when I wanted to bury myself under my warm covers. That “why” helped me stay committed day in and day out as I worked to achieve my dream.
That “why” was the impetus I needed to finally follow my dream of creating a line products. Today, eight years after I discovered my “why,” I’ve commercialized over twenty products and am in the midst of launching my own Travel brand with the home shopping powerhouse, HSN—and for me this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Sometimes it takes a crisis to help us fully understand our “why”. And while I wouldn’t wish a crisis on anyone, if it helps you find your “why”, it can be the ultimate silver lining. For I believe that until we have a “why” we can’t fully immerse ourselves in achieving our dreams.
But your “why” doesn’t have to be a crisis at all. It can be a personal passion, a talent, a cause or something else that excites you. It’s different for everyone. And no one has to know what yours is. The key is to take the time to dig deep in order to discover that thing that will get you up every morning and motivate you to follow your dream—that’s your “why.”
And while your “why” may change during different times in your life, it’s important to always check in with yourself to make sure you in tuned to your “why.” Because when you do, anything is possible. There’s little you can’t achieve when you understand your “why!” I’d love to hear about yours, and about the difference it makes in your life.