No. 142

Dreaming Big

When I first started my business, I saw two great advantages in my new endeavor: (1) Escaping the cube that I had been chained to at my non-profit job, and (2) traveling.

I had no business plan.

I hoped clients would find me. I had thought maybe I’d make about as much as I had in the job I was leaving. I really hadn’t given much thought to what I was doing.

Last week, I attended Click, an event hosted by Christine Kane and her team down in Asheville, North Carolina. During my time there, working on my business and speaking with other entrepreneurs, I realized how small I’d been dreaming, both in my business and in my life.

I’d been staying small because I was afraid of the consequences of playing big.

Playing big means taking big risks. It means envisioning a future for my business beyond self-employment — a future in which I find myself creating an organization and, eventually, an empire. It requires skill and sense and levels of savvy I have to grow into.

And it means making some people uncomfortable, especially myself.

I felt really bad about this. I knew it was hard for my ex-boyfriend that we were in such different places financially. He wanted to be the provider, but I was in an easier position financially. I never minded or complained, but I know it stressed our relationship silently. And yes, it was definitely uncomfortable at times.

I have to live in a place of discomfort because I’m growing in that place.

The moments of uncertainty (where I just wish someone would tell me what to do) are moments that lead to my expansion. I’m learning. Every new experience bends me and teaches me.

At first, I was really uncomfortable talking about money, even dealing with money. I charged so little in the beginning that I failed to make rent one month. I hated asking people for money because I thought it made me sound greedy. Learning to value myself and my skills took time.

There were also the moments that I broke the “don’t talk about what you make” taboo around people. (My mother was particularly squeamish in these situations, a feeling I had inherited and was trying to break.) I admitted where I had been, where I was, and where I was going, because in all honesty, I was done with the old ways of doing things. I want to have real conversations about life. I wanted to open myself and share my failures and my success.

If we’re going to help others be successful, we need to model that success.

That means talking about money and business and life without bragging, without flinching, without flagellating ourselves because we’ve been successful where others haven’t. It means discussing what has been challenging, when we’ve wanted to give up, how we overcame the demons lurking in our shadows.

Andt means dreaming big and playing big, to show others how possible it is to turn a whisper in our hearts into a force of nature in this world.

It doesn’t happen all at once.

We are called by life to be happy, in every way. Now, that sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? But it never feels that easy.

Along the path, we self-sabotage. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks talks precisely about this. We’re not used to success and happiness and abundance.

Learning how to be comfortable with abundance is a process.

Evolutionarily, we’re hard-wired to expect the lurking predator; we stay small to stay “safe”. But the world has changed.

I don’t expect myself to make a quantum leap in my happiness levels. Right now, I’m focusing on my business, my health, and my friendships. At some point, I’ll think about dating again as well. But I’m not pushing myself to have it all right away.

There’s something beautiful in the process of becoming and I’m just enjoying the journey.

Where are you playing small? Where are you dreaming big? And how has being in uncomfortable places helped you? Tell me your story.

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

2 thoughts on “Dreaming Big

  1. Such a great post. The points about valuing your worth and charging accordingly are big hills to climb mentally, especially for people who have escaped environments where their work is undervalued.

  2. I recently realized how small I’ve been thinking and living recently when I did an exercise of asking my soul what I needed to embody just to simply manifest the fulfillment of love in my life. The simple answer was immediate: Bigger than this. The next word that came to me was “open.” Being open to love in all its forms seems to be the key for me, and I think the ‘bigger than this’ answer applies to my life in general, not just to love. And it’s definitely scary. I sincerely thank you for being such a great example of living big and daring that free fall into the unknown to chase your dreams :)

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.