So, it’s already been three weeks since the live Brand Camp. I’ve been consumed in a deluge of emotions and things to take care of and SLEEP and MORE SLEEP. I’ve burrowed deep into my introverted little world after spending days offering more love and support and help and fire and passion than I knew I had in me.
But this post isn’t about me, it’s about all of us. And the potentially devastating side effects of bringing our biggest dreams to life. Whether that’s holding a big event, launching a new business venture, completing your latest project, having a baby, running a marathon, moving to Brazil, or hitting that six-figure income mark — the same side effects apply.
1.) You will be surprised.
No matter what you were expecting, the world you inhabit after seeing your dream come to life is a bit different. Maybe it’s better, maybe it’s worse. Maybe you thought there would be more jazz hands. Maybe you expected a parade. Maybe you thought success hinged on something that didn’t even happen. Maybe you thought [key person] would finally say [key phrase].
You. Will. Be. Surprised.
In my case, because one of your best friends and your Mom hijacked a golf cart and the only photo is really blurry but she’s smiling in a way you haven’t seen in over a decade. (Mom is always so Put Together but sometimes she forgets and just has fun.)
2.) You will have an unceasing parade of awkward conversations.
I’ve had more awkward conversations in the last 21 days than I’ve had in the last ten years. Big dreams coming to fruition cause big-huge-elephant-sized changes.
Relationships you’ve taken for granted for years reach a new phase. They require attention. They shapeshift in ways you couldn’t have imagined. Sometimes delightfully, sometimes painfully. Either way, they change. And it’s awkward.
3.) You will lose your fear of awkward conversations.
If you’re forced to have lots of awkward conversations in a short span of time, you get way better at them. You learn to start awkward conversations with, “This might be the most awkward conversation I’ve ever had, okay?”
That single question manages expectations and prepares the other person for potentially weird waters. When neither of you pretend you’re talking about something as simple as the weather or the latest World Cup soccer score, you’re better able to work through what needs working through. You’ll be surprised by how you made it through the awkward moments more easily than you make it through the photos of that unfortunate Junior High outfit you HAD TO HAVE.
4.) You will become privy to all the life lessons you’d been storing up that were living on the other side of the dream.
Like how to deal with overwhelmingly positive feedback and a small minority of negative feedback. You will learn how to hold both in your brain simultaneously without ignoring the naysayers or giving them all the bandwidth in your brain.
You will be just plain SCHOOLED in taking the good with the bad, the highs with the lows, the wins with the losses.
(Your lesson might be different, but you will have your ass handed to you by life. Make no mistake.)
5.) You will be cracked open with gratitude.
The bigger the dream and the longer the struggle, the more likely you are to just plain weep with gratitude for what you’ve been given when you achieve it. This will lead to so much crying. You’ll better hydrate to compensate for all the crying. You’ll feel alive in a way you’ve never known, despite (or perhaps because of) the chronic eye leakage. Eventually this phase will pass and you’ll sigh deeply and smile more.
6.) You will refine your dream and start again.
Unless your dream was to stop working forever and ever, your next dream will appear on the heels of your current one. It will be scarier and will require more of you than the last dream. It will ask you to walk forward steadily, with consistent courage.
This is the stuff of evolution. This is the stuff of life.
Despite all the lessons and the tangle and the mess of it — despite the expectations that didn’t come to fruition and all the surprises that appeared — you’ll do it again. You’ll learn, you’ll adjust, you’ll get better and you’ll be shaped into a more amazing human than you were when you started.
It’s a thrilling ride, isn’t it?
P.S. You should probably give up. (I promise it’s positive.)
Photo // (That’s my dad!) by Jon Canlas, at Brand Camp the camp