“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” ~Seneca
From the beginning, I wanted a life of freedom, travel and adventure—and for the most part I’ve created that—from becoming a writer to living, working, and travelling on four continents (soon to be five). In my most recent adventures in living, I just moved to the west coast, and sent off a 60-page book proposal that took me months to write. Both experiences offered moments of challenge, accomplishment, and astonishment.
Admittedly, daring to dream and live beyond your wildest expectations can be an exhilarating pursuit, but great ideas are one thing, making them happen is another. So what does it take?
In my own experience, as well as recent interviews with several visionary changemakers, I’ve discovered there are a few common practices that all who dare to go big and go bold follow.
Firstly, keep calm and hang on. In all circumstances of great change, victory, or love, the ones who succeed are the ones who can persevere no matter what the challenges, obstacles, or frustration. The first to be discouraged and give up is the first to be defeated.
They are also able to persevere no matter what because they are willing to explore alternatives, trust in the universe, and embrace the mystery of what life delivers. After months of searching, I could have easily given up on my quest for my ideal living space—in a cool neighborhood, near the ocean—and settled for four walls of zero inspiration in an ordinary location. I held out for the former and found a condo perched on a rocky cliff with spectacular ocean and city views.
Be open to be open… and to be seen. Vulnerability is the new black. In order to succeed, you have to be willing to be imperfect, be real, and be seen. Success never happens in hiding. When I decided to complete and submit my book proposal (after endless moments of quiet desperation and thoughts of bailing on the whole process), I knew my words, ideas, and soul would be right there on the page (or screen) for others to see. How it would all be received (liked, loved, accepted or rejected) was not up to me. My job as a writer was not to wait for the permission or acceptance of others to move toward my dream; my job was to hit “send” and take my own destiny into my own hands. So I did.
Sometimes clicking the send, submit or publish button can feel like a thousand-pound weight. Author Steven Pressfield would call this weight “Resistance”… and if you want to create great work, you have to move through Resistance. To put any great artistic, entrepreneurial, or even personal project out into the world, takes guts, determination, and often, blind faith. As a good friend of mine says: “Fortune favors the brave.” And the brave hit “send.”
Trust in what’s possible – not probable. Sometimes in life we rise to low expectations; we believe what others tell us to be true, and let someone else’s experience predict our own.
And at other times we dare to let our own experience—and deep conviction—set a new standard of what’s possible. Matthew Sanford, one of the leaders of transformation I’ve interviewed, is a shining example of this. In a traumatic car accident at age 13, Matthew broke his back and was paralyzed from the chest down. Two months after the accident, he was told that any sensation he got in his legs below his point of injury was nothing more than a phantom feeling, as if his legs had been amputated.
Instead of listening to—and believing—that he had no sensation, Matthew started to “listen” to the sensation of paralysis—literally to what it felt like inside his paralysis. And it turned out that what he had been told was lost was not completely lost at all. Matthew believed in his own experience of this heightened level of presence, subtle movement of energy, and mind-body connection.
Today, more than 35 years after the accident, Matthew is an internationally renowned yoga instructor who teaches yoga from his wheelchair—to people with disabilities and those without. He’s also the founder of Mind Body Solutions, a non-profit organization helping people deepen their mind-body relationship and increase their consciousness. All because he stayed true to what he believed was “possible” not probable.
What are you daring to believe, do, or pursue? Where do you find your motivation? May your adventures—big or small—bring you closer to your truth of what’s possible for you. Enjoy.