Dream Bigger Tip #13: Read Inspiring Biographies

One of the main issues that big dreamers encounter almost on a daily basis is the lack of big dreamers around...

Dream Bigger Tip #13: Read Inspiring Biographies

One of the main issues that big dreamers encounter almost on a daily basis is the lack of big dreamers around them. A question I get asked often is how to dream bigger when everyone around you isn’t.

It’s true that the path to bigger, better dreams is often paved with the advice of well-intentioned people stuck in inherited dreams. I know them all too well. In my own life, and that of my clients, they often cause more harm than good. Of course, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to warn you about the “dangers” of going after your passion, and doing your own thing. The problem is not with them but with the world we’re born into. It simply isn’t made for big dreamers.

That’s why it’s important to get the juicy stuff elsewhere, to go in search of big dreamers and their stories.

One of the places I’ve found a lot of support and inspiration like that is biographies. Reading the biography of someone who has done it, who – against all odds – persevered, believed in herself and showed everybody wrong is one of my favorite ways to challenge my own inherited dreams, and that of the naysayers around me.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of overnight success, and believe that the people we look up to today were just lucky, or that their success came out of nowhere. The truth is, no matter where they are today, everyone starts somewhere (probably at the bottom). By reading their stories we’re reminded that it’s possible, and we’re inspired to open our mind to new possibilities for ourselves.

How to read inspiring biographies?

Not all biographies are created equal. Some of them might be great stories but if you can’t identify with the person who went through it, you won’t be inspired. There’s a science to this madness! Here are my three tips on how to pick and read inspiring biographies.

  • Make sure the story resonates with you

I love reading biographies of women. Being a woman myself, this is one of the easiest ways for me to resonate with someone else’s story. But it’s not the only one.

Reading about the success stories of people who started where I started, who went through similar struggles as I did, who had the same inherited dreams or social background… it all helps to make sense of their story and see how it could apply to me. For if they could do it, why couldn’t I?

  • Find a common interest

Sometimes it’s not the person but the achievement or that person’s interests or focus that inspires most. I love reading stories from people who’ve made it in finance for instance, because money love is something I care about. I also love to read biographies of entrepreneurs, and people who’ve spent their life fighting for a good cause.

When there’s a common interest, it doesn’t matter so much what that person’s background is, or where they started. It’s why and how they did what they did that interests me, and that I learn from the most.

  • Identify with the person you’re reading about

Here’s a third and final tip about reading biographies. When you’ve picked one up that resonates with you or that is interesting to you my advice is to read it actively. What I mean by this is that you shouldn’t just read it as a spectator. Put yourself in the shoes of the person going through the story. Imagine it was you. Feel into what that would be like, what your life would look like if that story was yours.

Visualizing is a powerful tool to dream bigger. Biographies are a great way to practice those skills! It will help you to be inspired and to take action on your own dreams.

If you don’t know where to start, here are a couple of inspiring biographies to get started with.

All Things at Once by Mika Brzezinski
Chanel: A Woman of her Own by Axel Madsen
Never Tell Me Never by Janine Shepherd
The Road to Someplace Better by Lillian Lincoln Lambert
Suits: A Woman on Wall Street by Nina Godiwalla

 

If you want more Dream Bigger Tips, I’ve got great news for you! This tip is part of a series, you can find all entries here.

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