I f you’ve been around the field of self-development for long, you’ll begin to notice the encouragement to go for BIG. It’s exhilarating and scary when you begin to dream big. (I use the word “dream,” but for my corporate friends, we can say “set big goals”.) Dreaming big takes faith. Dreaming big takes courage. Dreaming big requires that we listen to our hearts instead of our heads.
Because, let’s face it: our imaginations can run wild with our dreams.
When it comes to our creative needs, our brains are wonderful tools, but in addition to the ordered, controlled part of the brain we use every day, we also have to contend with the primitive part, the part that is properly known as the amygdala, but that many refer to as our “lizard brain.” (Check out this great video for a fabulous lesson on the term Lizard Brain.)
If your lizard brain kicks in, watch out! What you once saw as a dream, becomes a nightmare. You’ll start to believe that your dreams are unattainable, that your dreams are foolish, that you don’t deserve success, happiness, love, joy. Your mind will insist that in order to stay safe, things must stay exactly as they are.
Last month, I talked about what to do when the dirt comes up. Sometimes, though, the lizard brain plants itself in front of us, blocking our ability to plant the first seeds of growth, or prevents us from sowing the next batch of seeds.
So, what can you do to help stop your lizard brain from winning?
Put on a different pair of shoes, and walk around a while.
Now, I’m speaking figuratively when I recommend a change of shoes, though men and women could all use new footwear from time to time. What I really mean is that you should give yourself the gift of perspective, by looking at yourself from another person’s point of view.
Write down your BIG Dream.
Put on the shoes of an acquaintance. We all have them, those folks who read our blogs, follow our twitter streams, or chat with us in the break room at work. Write down two reasons why they keep you in their circle of acquaintances.
Put on the shoes of your best friend. Make a list of at least three reasons why he or she knows you are the best thing since Apple Pie.
Put on the shoes of your lover (partner/spouse/etc). Make a list of at least five reasons why she thinks you are the Bee’s Knees. Write them down!
And there you have it: a list of ten reasons why you ARE going to achieve your BIG DREAM. Take this list, and post it in your office. Create affirmations based on what this list has shown you about yourself, and post them in your office, as well. (Print them out and stick them in your wallet, or copy them onto your smartphone, too.) Whenever you need a reminder of why you are worthy of success and happiness read the list. Whenever you forget that your big dream is a brilliant idea and an attainable goal read the list.
Just this week, I was reminded that sometimes getting to the next level requires that you step back in order to gain perspective, and see yourself through someone else’s eyes. I firmly believe that each person has this information deep inside our hearts; sometimes, it just gets a little lost along the way.
Put on someone else’s shoes, and kick your lizard brain to the curb. Because your big dream is what you were meant to have. I know it. And your heart knows it, too.
Art is: “What Do You Think” by Gil Elvgren