29 October 2008

Living Your Dreams

When I was a little kid, my parents told me that I could do anything or be anything that I wanted to. I'm pretty sure that most parents tell their kids this, but my parents took it a step further. My parents encouraged me to write down my dreams and here's the key... Then, they helped me write down a list of goals that would help me achieve my dreams.

As I grew up, my parents continued to encourage and foster this behavior. They even helped me out when I needed experience or support or even money. Sometimes, I wasn't able to achieve my dreams, but because I worked on goals and "lived" my dreams, I was able to accept the disappointment, maybe because the journey to the goal is more important and valuable than the actual dream.

Because of this experience, along with some reflection, I've learned that one of my core values is this idea of living your dreams. It is a part of who I am and is also something I feel very passionate about. In fact, I get very frustrated when I'm around people who either have no dreams or who dream big, but never take any steps to achieve their dreams.

As a professor, I have the opportunity to impact my students' lives. While the content of the courses I teach is important, there are many other lessons I hope that my students take away. I want my students to know that they should live their dreams. I want them to know that the pathway to those dreams requires hard work. I want them to know that it's not the actual dream that really matters, but that the decision to dream and then start taking steps toward achieving that dream will completely and totally change their lives.

One of my triathlon mentors said something to me that seems to fit along with this theme and idea of living your dreams
. He said, "You will learn that it's the journey, not the race that transforms you as a person, the race confirms it all. And when you have a great race, that confirmation runs deeper." This was in a discussion about Ironman triathlons, but I think the statement applies to so much more. The journey to your dreams will absolutely change your life, and the achievement of that dream will confirm those changes.

I'm very grateful to my parents for teaching me to dream big, for teaching me how to go about achieving and living my dreams, and for always believing in and supporting me. I hope to instill this idea in my students and that they will go after their dreams. Personally, I have some pretty lofty dreams floating out there, but while I know they'll be very difficult to achieve, I believe that it may be the journey to those dreams that becomes most valuable.


Barb said...

Glad you can achieve your dreams. Keep dreamin', my's an awesome ride. Barb