Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

How to Follow Your Dreams

I don’t ever want to turn my blog into a “follow your dreams” blog.

There are enough of those out there.  And I think that’s bad advice anyway.  

There is a difference between a dream and a calling. Some things you know you’re supposed to do, no matter what. Some things are worth sacrificing for and giving your life to. 

I don’t want you to follow your dreams. I want you to fulfill your calling. (Maybe that’s what this blog is ultimately about?)

There are probably one of three narratives holding you back today. 

It’s all in the stories you tell yourself.  

1.  The “it’s so hard” narrative. 

We tend to say this a lot.  Anything worthwhile is going to have some degree of extraordinary difficulty.  Sniveling about “how hard things are” makes things harder. Not easier. Starting a business or a non-profit is hard. Writing a book is hard. Following the path of world-change and justice is hard. There’s no way around the hard. You just have have to go through the hard, solve the difficult problems, answer the tough questions.    

Change that narrative to “it’s worth it.”

2.  The “dream about it” narrative. 

This is the woo-woo of visualization.    

“If could only...then I would ... “     

I wrote about this one just recently.  Dreaming is important. But dreaming is not doing. We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that I’m making progress because I’ve brainstormed or mind-mapped a thing.  A brainstorm and a mind-map that doesn’t result in a to-do list may well be a total waste of time and brain energy. 

Change that narrative to “dream, then do.”

3.  The “I don’t have the resources” narrative. 

This is the story of excuses.   

I can’t write a book because I don’t have a proper computer.

I can’t start a coffee shop because I don’t have a $10,000 espresso maker.  

I can’t start a business because I don’t have the capital. 

I can’t fight injustice because I don’t have a platform. 

This is ultimately the thinking of a fixed and poor mind.  It’s true, you may not have the resources you need to do the big thing, and fulfill the ultimate dream. But already have what you need to start. You can be scrappy. You can start small. You can dream big and carry a freight train load of patience. One of the best coffee-shops in Chiang Mai, Thailand is doing a great business with with systems they’ve built around a $300 espresso maker.

Change the narrative to “I’m starting small and building systems along the way.”

So while I’m not saying “follow your dreams”, I am urging you to follow your calling — no matter how outlandish. You may simply need to adjust the story you’re telling yourself.