First, what’s your really big ‘they’ll think I’m crazy’ dream? I mean the big one. The one that you think about but then listen to the pessimists and surrender your dream to their ‘reality.’ Well, heck, you are busy, aren’t you? You have priorities, and anyway, deep down inside, you don’t think it’s ever going to happen, so why bother putting in the effort? Isn’t that what the voice that slows you down says to you?
“People aren’t afraid of hard work. They’re afraid of hard work not paying off.”
~ Rudy Ruettiger
When I chased my dream of becoming a comedian, I really never achieved it. Technically, I failed. I never became a comic headliner and made people laugh for a living. Instead, I was an opening act or maybe a middle act, at best. However, because I pursued that dream and struggled through the process, I grew personally. I also discovered a bigger, better dream that I didn’t even know existed.
Second, do you ever see ‘signs’ that you need to move forward – to go toward your dream? Maybe reading this article is that message for you.
Let me take you back to my “bucket list.” Because I always identified with the main character of the movie Rudy, I put meeting him on my bucket list. I decided to take a small step towards my goal and googled Rudy Ruettiger. I was shocked to find that he had an office less than a mile from my house! I was also shocked to learn that he was a speaker. Many attempts to contact his office resulted in little progress. I started putting the word out to friends and colleagues that I was very interested in meeting him. It was months later that my friend Judi Moreo helped set up a lunch with him. Wow! Cool!
We had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I felt like a little kid having lunch with Santa Claus. I was so excited and hung onto his every word. It was a powerful experience. First, because it reminded me that my bucket list dream had come true, but only if I took action. Secondly, I was inspired when he told me the story of how he created the movie through his trademark underdog determination. It was more inspiring than the movie itself to hear how he overcame Notre Dame’s reluctance to film another sports movie and the writer’s reluctance to write it. Rudy lives his “dream big, never quit” attitude.
What does this have to do with you and me? Everything! It was Rudy’s second big ‘they’re going to think I’m crazy’ goal. I believe if we’re not striving for something, we aren’t growing personally. Striving makes your journey more enjoyable and gives you hurdles and celebrations of accomplishment along the way.
I had this little idea in my head. I realized that I gravitated towards real-life inspiring stories. Rudy is my favorite, and Miracle, the story of the 1980 USA Hockey team and their coach Herb Brooks, is my number two. My idea was to take the story I tell in my keynote speeches and transform that into a Hollywood movie. I told only my closest friends because I didn’t want to look like I was on an ego trip. People tell me my story inspires them. But my thoughts were, “Who am I to have my story told in a movie?”
Life changed a bit for me during a mastermind meeting when I opened up to my friend and colleague, Mike Rayburn, and told him my fears. Mike replied to me, “Who are you, not to?” Wow! That was a new perspective, and it took me a long time to fully digest.
While watching the movie Coach Carter, I was reminded of this powerful quote that relates directly to my message. You may have heard these words erroneously attributed to Nelson Mandela. However, when he actually used the quote, he correctly attributed it to Marianne Williamson.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
By Marianne Williamson, from A Return to Love:
Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles.
I believe I heard Brian Tracy say, “Whatever you think about, you can bring about.” Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Well, conceiving it is one thing. Believing is another. I needed to work on my belief.
I got excited and started making some steps forward. I’ve met some amazing people who have brought me a couple of steps closer to the big goal. I met a Hollywood producer and several screenwriting coaches. My original plan was to hire someone to write it as Rudy did. Then I met a big-time producer, and she told me I needed to write it myself and she’d take a look at it. I’ve been talking a big game to some close friends, but I realized I needed to get serious because I was only working on my dream “in-between” work and personal life. I was not fully committed and making daily progress. I realized part of my apprehensiveness was feeling scared that I couldn’t do it. I’ve never written a screenplay, and it’s very different from a speech. I have no interest in making that a new career, I do have a desire to tell my story like most people.
Remember I asked you earlier about seeing signs? Last weekend, while driving with my sister, a car came screaming by us. It was the exact make, model, and color of my own car. The license plate was YNOTU. Why not you? I laughed, and I thought of Mike’s words to me and then realized it was a message to get serious. To me, it was a sign. On Friday, I spoke to a group of speakers in Vancouver. A young man in the audience asked a question about projects that I’m working on, and I launched into this story I’m telling you now. I realized I was partially doing it to make a commitment to them to start this process. The audience seemed to like the idea, and now I can’t break my word.
How can I genuinely inspire others if I’m not working daily on my next big goal? Inspired by Rudy’s story, I’m going to start on my own. I don’t know how it will turn out, but I hope that my struggle and accomplishments along the way somehow, with God’s help, will inspire you every day of the week. I will be putting in at least seventeen minutes daily towards my new goal and posting the activity on my blog. Each day, I’ll post a new blog entry: 17 Minutes Towards Your Dream DAY ONE.
My selfish reason for posting the progress is to keep me accountable to you. I’ve discovered I’m often more accountable to others than I am to myself. I wish to inspire you by example.
Why 17 minutes? I’d love to tell you about some great scientific research that led me to that number. The truth is that I know if I commit to a few minutes a day, some days, it will turn into hours. If I can create the habit, that’s the success, and I’ll make daily progress. Your thoughts, insights, and encouragement are welcome. I chose seventeen because that was my high school football number. My whole youth sports ‘career,’ I was second-string on every team. In most games, I sat on the bench, never getting my game uniform dirty. The summer before my senior year in high school, I said, “enough is enough!” I was tired of it!
I started lifting weights and running every day. I was in the best shape of my life. Due to my commitment to weightlifting, one of my high school nicknames was Chester. I worked harder than almost everyone else. When the season started, I still was not a starter, so I worked harder. I was beginning to see the coaches notice my efforts, and by our third game, I was returning punts and was the first-string cornerback. Nothing was going to change until I decided that enough was enough. It was my turn.
I don’t know if I’ll achieve this big film goal, but who am I not to? Who am I not to teach inspiration to others and not continue to grow through the challenge of pursuing my dream? I don’t want to just have the movie appear in theaters. I live my dream, and now I want to help more people to live theirs. I want it to inspire viewers to believe in themselves and start pursuing their passion. Also, to have it be the highest-grossing, most re-watched film, and that also wins seven Academy Awards! Hey, if you’re going to dream big, then…dream big!
What is your really big ‘they’re going to think I’m crazy’ dream? Do you see any signs? As Marianne said, “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others will not feel insecure around you.” Think big! Believe big! If you can’t believe big yet, commit to your big goal and make daily progress. Your progress will increase your belief, and the universe will bring you unexpected help along the way. I Darrenteed it!
Will you post a commitment on my blog? Will you help keep me accountable by seeing if I’m posting at least five days a week? Most importantly…what will you make daily progress toward? If not for you, then do it for your kids. They’re watching you. Inspire them by example. Each day I’ll be at least seventeen minutes closer to my goal. Will you?