“You did it!”
Those words broke me out of my trance this morning on the treadmill. I was feeling uninspired. Zapped of creativity. At a loss for words. And wondering if I had anything thoughtful to offer when I sat down to write my blog today. I was off my game and so I turned to my playlist and workout therapy to light a spark. The air outside was too cold to brave a scenic walk of bare trees through the park trail. So I opted for the gray walls of my local gym where the air smells of stale sweat and the well-built young man in front of me seemed like a great sight until he removed his pullover to reveal a white tank top labeled “Mitch Dogg” on the back (Yes, seriously it said that. In black, ironed-on letters). The gym was hectic. Making it difficult for me to get lost in my thoughts. Yet still, I summoned my brain to reflect on matters of the heart and life’s struggles... I was searching for a life lesson for the day.
And then somewhere between “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and a Rihanna ballad, the message came to me. The message was somewhat uninvited because I was deep in thought (or trying to be). A gym member, who I enjoy exchanging pleasantries with, approached my treadmill and interrupted my brain-storming. With a few beads of sweat dripping from my forehead, I removed my earbuds and smiled a friendly hello. He clutched his hand and pushed his arm in my direction, as if to give me a “fist pump.” And then he spoke those three words... “YOU DID IT!” My gym friend was coming over to congratulate me on publishing my first book. Many months ago I mentioned to him that it was a dream and life goal to write a book. It was on my “I Always Wanted To Do...” list. As the months passed, he would ask me how the book was coming along. I gave brief updates. And then I didn’t see him for a few months because I turned to the outdoors for my daily workouts. The winter weather brought me back inside today. And I suppose it was serendipitous. In that moment, my insides smiled with a huge sense of pride knowing that even if no one ever reads my book, I did it! I wrote a bloody book! I didn’t just dream it. I made it a reality.
When I set out to write my book, I didn’t have any strong connections in the publishing world. And aside from writing some superb “thank you” letters, my sister’s college application letter, and a couple of “Holiday Movie Special” shows from my television days, I would hardly categorize myself as a true writer. Sure, I enjoy writing. And yes, it comes somewhat easy to me. But I never thought that I would be writing more than the perfect interview for George Clooney’s latest film, let alone a full book! But nonetheless, it was a still my dream to write a book.
I never expected that it would be easy. And I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to make my dream happen. It started as an idea on my wish list many years ago. And over the years, when I would meet or interview authors, I mentioned that I wanted to write a book one day. And that’s where the idea lived for years... as wishful words... as an idea that sat stagnant in my mind. And every now and then, I would dangle my idea in front of the universe wondering if I would become one of the millions of people who said, “I always wanted to...” but never did anything about it.
And of course I sited all of the reasons that come along with an unfulfilled dream... I don’t have time... I don’t know where to begin... I don’t have the right contacts... What if it’s not profitable?... What if it’s not good?... What if it’s not all that I hoped it would be?... Maybe it’s a stupid idea... Maybe it’s just safer to keep doing what I’m doing now... You get my point.
All of those thoughts start with “don’t” “what if” or “maybe.” And none of them sound positive. How often have you had one of those thoughts about YOUR DREAM? Your dream is something that makes you feel passion. It excites you when you think about it! It makes you light up when you fantasize about the possibilities of your dream. And then you allow “what ifs” to get in the way. Your “what ifs” halt your dream. Your “what ifs” are made-up scenarios in your mind. But you allow them to become your reality. And then your dream becomes nothing but an idea. An idea with no movement. An idea with no life.
An idea with no life is a dead idea.
The other day a friend told me that there’s a reason why the rearview mirror is so much smaller that the front windshield. She said we need to spend more time looking forward than looking back. It was a simple metaphor. And maybe even a recycled one. But it made perfect sense to me as I thought about the “what ifs” from my past that I’ve held onto while realizing that it’s much more thrilling to run toward what lies ahead.
After my gym friend spoke his congratulatory words to me, I popped in my earbuds. “I Lived” by One Republic starting playing. If you have a dream in your heart, you should listen to this song. And I hope it inspires you to breath life into your ideas.
After all, the only bad part about an idea... is to never do it.