Dream Bigger Tip #9: Surround Yourself With Support

How to dream bigger when everyone around you isn’t? It’s a question I get asked often. Contrary to what you might...

How to dream bigger when everyone around you isn’t? It’s a question I get asked often. Contrary to what you might think, the culture we live in is not one of big dreamers.

Most of us are raised in societies that aspire to success yet fail to equip us with what’s needed to get there. If you’re not part of the dominant group that sets the rules you’ll get mixed messages about your personal success – at best. As women this often translates in doubt, lack of confidence, perfectionism. The belief that we have to be and do it all before we can even speak about success. Even if we’d attain the impossible we still wouldn’t brag about it. We’d remain good girls and not shed too much light on our achievements. Sound familiar?

It certainly does for me.

From the start of my career when I was 21 until well in my thirties anything I did was never good enough. Fresh out of uni I was sitting at the table with decision-makers from major corporations, building innovative projects with passion, and dedication. I didn’t feel good enough. I went on to build my own web agency. I grew it with passion, and dedication. Still didn’t feel good enough. In 2013 I sold it to a bigger player on the market, and started consulting on a freelance basis. Again at the table with decision-makers from renown corporations, and institutions. Nope. Still didn’t feel like I deserved to be there.

By the end of 2014 I’d had it. I left the white-collar world to do the stuff I’d always wanted to do: pursue my big dreams.

As a multi-passionate creative woman I’d always heard the call, but systematically failed to act on it. I bought into the status quo. Thought I had to do things “by the rules”. Add a dash of perfectionism, people-pleasing, and lack of self-worth to the mix and you’ve got a beautiful recipe of unhappy compliance. Along the way I healed myself. Worked my way through limiting beliefs, re-framed things for myself. But looking back one of the main reasons I didn’t go after my big dreams sooner is because I wasn’t surrounded with the support I needed.

Everyone in my life followed the same rules. We were all oblivious. To the status quo, the unwritten rules, the expectations. All of us expressed the same wishes for material things, the same ideas about how the world should be and our place in it. Whenever I strayed off the path and expressed my deepest desires I was met with worry, disbelief or – my all time favorite – the friendly advice not to think so much.

When I realized it’s wasn’t me, and that my big dreams weren’t crazy, I went out to find the support I was craving for. It felt like I was born again. This time my big dreams were born with me.

How do you surround yourself with support?

  • Read biographies

With so many naysayers around me I had to convince myself I wasn’t crazy for wanting what I wanted. One way I did this was by reading the biographies of people I looked up to that went after their big dreams.

Reading biographies helped me believe in myself, and my dreams by realizing that everyone struggles with well intentioned people who simply don’t get it. That there’s no overnight success. That all roads are paved with challenges. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s a couple of juicy ones that will fire up your dream brain:

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

  • Create your own support network

It’s great to have role models but it’s certainly not enough. Big dreams can’t be built alone. We all need a support network to help us achieve our goals.

The good news is, you can create one for yourself.

Surrounding myself with like-minded people, mentors, coaches, friends who support me, and believe in me is one of my priorities. The more of these positive influences I have in my life, the better I do. With my goals. But with myself too. Go out in search of the support you need, and ask for help. To keep you accountable, to learn, to grow or simply to be heard, and loved. It works!

  • Remember you get to choose

When we’re stuck in the status quo it’s easy to believe there’s no other way. That the people we’re surrounded by are it for us, and that we’ll simply have to make it work. The truth is: you get to choose. Who you allow into your life. What your boundaries are. The kind of help you want and need.

Remember you’re free to choose – and chase – your big dreams. Whatever anyone tells you.

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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