The backstory to my dream

Do you have a vision for your future that just doesn’t go away? I do.

Do you feel like it is your destiny to do more than what you are currently doing? I do.

Do you resist the pull of that dream? I did.

In order for me to explain where I am today, I need to tell you where I started.

It was a couple of week before Christmas in 1997. My mother-in-law asked me to read a poem she had written to honor my husband’s grandmother at the family Christmas party.

I said, “No.”

She said, “But you have such a pretty voice. Please won’t you read it?”


At that moment I was adamant that I would NOT be reading ANYTHING to ANYONE out loud! The only reading aloud I did was with my children.

Judy accepted my refusal without further comment. Our visit that day continued as normal, but I felt worse and worse. This woman had asked me to do something so simple, so seemingly easy.

What she couldn’t understand was that I was terrified at the idea of being in the spotlight. My face turns 1,000 shades of red at the slightest provocation. The thought of doing this reading paralyzed me.

But I couldn’t stop feeling like a heel. You see, this woman was amazing! Each year she created the dream holiday setting for my children to enjoy. I knew there would be a mountain of gifts and an abundance of yummy food for children and adults to enjoy. I knew she would devote hours of time and hundreds of dollars on making this holiday special.

And she had asked me to help with one small thing. One seemingly small thing. She had no idea how much her request scared me.

You have probably figured out that I did end up agreeing to do the reading. You probably think that all went well and that I was proud of myself for overcoming this fear.

You would be wrong.

It was a horrible, traumatic, embarrassing life-transforming experience!

The pain of that experience lingered long after the holiday party was over. It festered within me. My fear of talking in front of people was debilitating. I had noticed it in my workplace. I had noticed it in social situations. This fear from my childhood was still hanging on well into adulthood.

Three months later I found the courage to address this fear. I attended and joined a Toastmasters club. My life changed almost instantly. Well, not instantly, it took about two months before I started finding my voice and overcoming this fear.

As my speaking skills developed, I started envisioning myself encouraging and supporting people who want to find their voice, achieve their goals, and make an impact in their world.

I started dreaming about being a professional speaker. I registered my name as a internet domain name and wrote a monthly inspirational newsletter called “A Swan’s Song.” I started getting speaking gigs and enjoyed standing on the stage–in the spotlight!

But then I lost my passion for it. I’m not exactly sure what happened or why it happened. The best I can come up with is that moving forward with that dream started to feel heavy. Fear moved in again and I wasn’t able to deal with it. I let other activities and life demands move into the space I had once set aside for building a speaking business. I stopped speaking. I stopped  writing.

Recently, the fire in my heart has been rekindled. I am tackling the fear head on. I’m putting myself out in this seemingly big and scary world. Why would I do that? Because I believe in my heart that the world is NOT big and scary. Most of the people I know are supportive and encouraging.

Of course there will be naysayers, but I am ready to deal with them.

This is my dream. I may have taken a sabbatical from pursuing it, but the vision of success has never left me. That is why I am starting over again.

What dream/goal have you started and stopped in the past? Are you currently in high gear moving forward or have you stalled in the road? Let me know what your greatest struggle is so I can try to help.

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