I love to read. If you’ve spent more than five minutes with me, that probably doesn’t surprise you. My favorite books? Those about people who took their ordinary life and, in what seems like one pivotal moment, made it extraordinary. I love reading about people who changed the world with one speech, one decision, or one idea.
We all have dreams of using our passions to reshape the world. Dreams of joining the ranks of those whose lives – despite humble beginnings and seemingly insurmountable hurdles – continue to inspire generations to this day. I imagine taking my ordinary life and living it in a way that inspires others today, tomorrow and far into the future. I want to live the life I was created to live, a life bigger than myself, a life that resounds with the greatness of the God who placed me here.
When I look at my life, though, that seems like one big pie-in-the-sky dream.
In reality, I’m your typical “Millennial” college graduate, paying off student loans and trying to merge my dream of Earth-healing potential with spending my days working in a humble pig barn in southern Ohio. I wake up every morning to what some may consider the mundane. I sure thought it was.
Until I received an invitation to leave the dream life and join the doers.
Okay, “leave the dream life and join the doers” was not exactly how it was worded, but that was the outcome of my time at the Millennial Mastermind training event hosted by Mark Jewell and his team in Columbus, Ohio this past June. After two days of learning multiple personal growth concepts – such as the Survivor’s Guide to Thriving, Six Basic Human Needs and the “Thrive with Five” – to real life and laying it all out on the table with eight other people, I realized the power of unabashed honesty. Having laid it all out, two revelations hit me hard.
Talk about an awakening – this dreamer was up and at ‘em.
Making the Choice
My first revelation? I admitted to myself I had been living life as a dreamer, not a doer. Millennials dream big, but few of us pursue those dreams. We tell ourselves we’re waiting for our moment, biding our time. The truth? Of all those people who inspire me, it was not the one speech, one decision or one idea that shaped their lives. It was every decision they made up until that point. Every day they had to decide what they wanted and who they wanted to be and go for it.
- Wake up early or sleep in?
- Train/study or do their equivalent of binge-watching Netflix?
- Hone a new skill or spend hours on Facebook?
- Reach out or hurry by?
- Be silent or speak up?
- Take on the task laid before them or walk away?
When I examined my own decisions, I realized I had lot to accomplish, but had made no progress on a daily basis.
How much time had I wasted doing something that would not get me to where I wanted to be? A lot.
How much time had I spent doing something that put me a step behind instead of forward? Enough.
In this life, one moment wasted is a moment too much. It’s the small steps that carry you toward your destination. Standing still will not bring your mountain closer.
The second truth I admitted to myself was that I was frightened. I was frightened I would fail, that my dreams were too grand for me to actually accomplish. They, and myself, were much safer living in my dream world. When you’re a dreamer, there is no fear of failure. In your dreams, the obstacles fade to stepping stones and you possess all the knowledge and power to conquer the life you want to lead. In your dream world, you are free from rejection, ridicule and disappointment. There are no hard decisions, no awkward conversations, no discipline needed to apply yourself. As a dreamer, I skipped all the messy stuff.
At least, I thought I did.
At Millennial Mastermind, though, I woke up and realized there’s actually something worse than the messy stuff. What is that? Suffering with the knowledge that you could be living life bigger and better. Waking up knowing that you’ve already failed, simply because you haven’t even tried.
Fear enabled me to procrastinate and be lazy. But at what cost?
What Comes Next?
After two days of eye-opening revelations, I wish I could sit here and say I’ve aced every moment since. Unfortunately, my friends, this is not the case. On the third day, I was no longer in a safe space surrounded by eight supportive people. I was back out in my daily life, back in the real world.
There are days I continue to struggle building habits I know I need to instill in myself. Just because...
- ...I broke up with fear doesn’t mean he isn’t still sending me late night text messages or knocking on my door.
- ...I planned to take better care of myself doesn’t mean fast food isn’t easier than cooking (and it doesn’t make getting up at 4 AM to work out any more desirable).
- ...I have planned to dedicate time to my goals doesn’t mean social media isn’t nearby for a “quick” interruption.
Luckily Mark and his team seem to know this and have implemented a 90-day follow-up that requires me to honestly answer if I worked toward my goals in all areas of my life on a daily basis. Meanwhile I’m noting the ups, downs and in-betweens. It’s a travel journal, if you will, because this is one journey I don’t want to forget, with lessons I cannot afford to.
Brittany Shears is a millennial on a mission to find “the best version of me”. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a dual degree in Animal Science and Agribusiness. By trade, she is in training to manage a sow unit in rural Ohio. Outside of work, she is active in her church and plans to be a minister, owns two horses and is an avid reader. It is her combined passion for agriculture and her faith, coupled with her supportive family and friends, which have inspired her from a young age. Brittany’s primary goal is to find an occupation that will allow her to showcase these two passions and incorporate them in her professional life. On her journey from dream to reality, she continues to gain invaluable experience and learn life lessons that propel her forward.
Follow along on the MJST blog as Brittany shares more about her journey from surviving to thriving over the next few months.
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