From Guest Blogger Tom Finn
Tom Finn is the author of Are You Clueless?, a guide for leaders who serve multicultural customers and employees, and is a fellow dreamer. You can order the book at areyouclueless.com. He also coaches executives on how to handle pressure and heavy responsibility (lifelineconsulting.com).
What if our dreams were a source of guidance, maybe even guidance toward a greater, more influential us?
I’ve wondered about that. And that wondering just got stoked when I read an advance copy of Teressa Moore Griffin’s upcoming, uplifting book, LIES That Limit: Uncover the Truth of Who You Really Are.
LIES That Limit shows the myriad ways society, our family, and ultimately, we, limit our greatness in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. And it also shows a way toward living our dreams. One of those is by using our nighttime dream material to our benefit.
So what do you suggest I do with the following?
I’m riding down a fairly busy street, and I’m driving my Mercedes. Mercedes, y’all. Did you get that? My Mercedes! (I’m a Prius guy. So: environmental, don’t care what they look like, a means to get me places. And I think cars are the worst investment in the world. Mercedes has not been me.)
I am taking my prize – uh, my car – for a checkup. And I am aware that the repair shop is on – GET THIS – Mega Avenue! Mega Avenue. (Up to this point in my life, I haven’t considered myself a “Mega” kinda guy; not in the sense of wealth and grandeur. Not a George Clooney or a Bob Johnson or a Bill Gates – not even a Mercedes owner.)
But there it is, in big letters in an overhead street sign: MEGA AVENUE. Initially I drove past it. But I recover and double back (evidently you can’t do U Turns in dreams, either. Cops’ll get ya!) and I’m on Mega Avenue. I find my way to the shop and pull in.
I like this dream! Why? Well, for one, after reading LIES That Limit, I’ve started to make some small shifts as a result of the book. Secondly, some of my dreams are what I call “I Can’t” dreams. For example, I’m on a basketball court feeling very confident I can dominate this particular game. But, strangely, I lose my capacity to dribble the ball. Or, in another b-ball dream, I’m ready to dominate but can’t find the ball. In yet another, I’m ready to take the court but my shirt is too big. The crowd waits while I rummage through piles of shirts!
And there are others of the “I can’t” genre. In a recent dream, I’m cooking at Martha Stewart’s house (yes, cooking, at Martha’s – don’t tell me I’m not a risk-taker). I ask her for a serving platter, 3 times, and though she assures me she’s got one (do you doubt that?), it never comes. A friend shows up and wants a glass of water, and I can’t find a glass – in blasted MARTHA STEWART’S HOUSE – while I’m trying not to overcook the lamb!
With some “I can’t” dreams behind me, you might understand why I like my Mega Avenue and Mercedes dream. It’s a an “I CAN” dream.
Teressa’s book encourages readers to think about their dreams, and one method she features is called “percept,” which was put forward by a remarkable couple named John and Joyce Weir and their educational and dynamic partner, Alexandra Merrill. Using “percept” with dreams, one imagines key parts of the dream as parts of oneself. In my case, I am focusing on the “Mercedes part of me” and the “Mega Avenue” part of me. They represent the rich, accomplished parts of me, the big impact, big thinker part of me, the parts where there are no limits.
When I read stories of self-made people who have made it big, the thing that strikes me most is that these folks don’t seem to focus on limits. They focus on big things, attain big things and accomplish big things.
I associate the “I Can’t” dreams with clutter in my life — too many papers, too many “to-dos,” too many directions, clogging up the path to my real deal accomplishments-to-be. After reading LIES That Limit, I have begun a gradual process of decluttering – getting rid of stuff, organizing some things, focusing on business items with payoff. And, though I’ve just begun, I can feel a shift – I’m more optimistic, I can see more clearly the things I need to do. Obstacles don’t seem as big.
With decluttering, in time, opening up and making space, my Mercedes and Mega Avenue experiences will come. In fact, they’re already flowering.
Do you ever think you’re playing too small? I do. And there are SO MANY messages and people that encourage playing small with comments like: “Consider yourself lucky that you have a job. In this economy (fill in the blank, “Don’t take risks,” “Be careful what you say,” “Now is not the time.” “Oh, gosh, that’s such a big project – who has time for that?”
I think my dream is encouraging me to drive to Mega Avenue. It’s given me a clear image that abundance is there. So I’ve got a choice – to listen to the small messages and focus on those little annoyances that keep me from soaring in a game I can clearly play, or choose a luxury transport to Mega Avenue.
Through my dreams, I’ve been given wonderful guidance by…me! The gift our dreams, intuitions and passions provide aren’t the stuff of formulas and measures, but I can’t think of anything much more concrete than the two sets of dreams representing “parts of me.”
The pulls between “I can’t” and “I CAN” may not be over. In my dream, when I gave the car to the mechanic to work on it, the last thought that occurred to me in the dream was, “Oh, no! I should have asked for an estimate!”
What’s your dream, “in this economy?” Do you have messages in you or circumstances that influence you to play small? Or do the influences in your life entice you to dream and play bigger?