Replay: The Art of Dreaming Bigger
Ep. 286
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Replay: The Art of Dreaming Bigger

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In the latest episode of Lessons from a Quitter, I dive into the importance of dreaming bigger, especially as busy professionals who may have stopped dreaming in their twenties or thirties. Many of us settle into a day-to-day routine, resigned to incremental goals, fearing disappointment. I challenge you to break free from the small dreams that keep you stuck and explore what you truly desire. By giving yourself permission to dream without constraints, you can uncover hidden passions and set audacious goals that push you to grow. It’s time to design the life you want, not the one society expects.

Show Transcript
Hey, welcome to Lessons from AC Quitter, where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you've spent getting to where you are. If ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams. Hello my friends. I hope you are well. Happy New Year. Welcome back to Lessons from a Quitter in 2024. I'm so excited to have you here. I hope you all had a wonderful New Year's and had some time to maybe reflect on what happened in the last year and what you maybe want to be different for the year coming up. Uh, I know this is a usual time where people sit and think about their goals, which I think you absolutely should.
If you've listened to the last couple episodes, I've sort of gone over how I think about goal setting and the type of goals I think you should set for yourself. As the first episode this year, I wanted to replay an episode that I did a couple of years ago, and it's called The Art of Dreaming Bigger.
And I've talked about this a number of times on the podcast, but I think that one of the biggest issues I see with people that I coach, especially people that know that something is wrong, are like in a career they don't love, but they don't know what they wanna do. What I find for so many people who feel stuck in this place of like, I don't really have any other dreams. I don't really have any other skills. I don't know what else I would do if I wasn't doing this.
I have found that it tends to be an inability to dream bigger, an inability to allow yourself to have big dreams. And so we keep ourselves small, we try to protect ourselves.
We try to tell ourselves, oh, I don't need more than this. I just need this small piece of the pie and I'll be fine. And that isn't true. I won't be fine because I do want more. And I have a hard time admitting that to myself. And one of the first steps in order to figure out what it is you actually want in your life is being willing to admit the big scary dreams that you have.
And I think that's so important. As you start thinking about what you want for this year, I want you to really think about what you think is possible for you, what you think is available to you.
Because you can't really get down to the nitty gritty or to what is gonna be like your specific path, your specific purpose in life that you wanna have if you're not really willing to allow yourself to see all of the possibility to see everything that's available to you. And so I have found that the bigger I allow myself to dream, the more dreams tend to come out, the more things that I knew were there, but were kind of tamped down by societies like, like quote unquote be realistic. And, and I feel like the more I tap into it, the more I can figure out exactly what it is I want, exactly how I tick, exactly the things that are gonna light up my life. And so it's an episode that I think is really important as you think of goals, because I think oftentimes part of our goals, the reason that we don't stick to them is because A, they're not that exciting.
So we're not that motivated. It's just not that great of a goal to go after, or B, it's not even what we want. It's like what someone else wants, like what society tells me. You know, like I should get in shape or I should ask for the promotion, but that's not really what I want outta my life. And so I think as a first step, we need to get better at really understanding what it is, what we want, and we only get there by allowing ourselves to dream bigger. So I'm gonna replay this episode because I think that it is one of the most important things that you can allow yourself to do. It is such a gift to let yourself, even if you're scared, admit what it is that you want. So my friends with that dream bigger in 2024, and I'll be back next week with a new episode.
Today I want to talk about the art of dreaming bigger and why it's so important. I am doing the goal setting workshop this month, and so I figured maybe I will spend a couple episodes really diving into how to set better goals and visions and just allowing yourself to want for things because it's so hard for so many of us. And it really is a lot of the problem of why you aren't clear about the thing that you want in your life.
So today I want to jump into how to dream bigger and why it's so important when we're younger, there is always something exciting awaiting for us in the future, right? We are always dreaming of the next bigger thing. When you're in high school, you are dreaming about college or the job you're gonna have or what you're gonna become. When you're in college, you start thinking about the impact you're gonna leave when you get out into the workforce. You are dreaming about marriage and kids.
But at some point, maybe, you know, in our twenties or in our thirties, we just kind of stop. And that might be because the dreams that we had didn't turn out the way that we wanted and we feel a little bitter or burned by, you know, dreaming so big and ending up somewhere that maybe we didn't want to be for whatever reason. Because of the way our society is set up, we just end up in this day-to-day year-to-year rutt. And there might be small goals here and there, but there aren't these big dreams that we have for our lives. There's no real wish, you know, it's just like what? Get to retirement and then maybe you will enjoy your life. Or maybe you focus on like that one vacation a year. So that's it. Like you have this one precious life that you've been given and it's relegated to one vacation a year, like a one week period or a two week period and a couple moments here and there, right?
Maybe we look forward to the holidays or something like that. But there isn't. That excites us, that motivates us, that gets us up, you know, in the morning, like ready to hit the ground running.
We don't have that type of drive because we've stopped dreaming. We sort of have just resigned ourself to this is life. I'll just take my piece of the pie, I'll just keep going through the motions. And it's fine. You may have goals, but again, you're just like looking for like an incremental change. Like maybe I'll lose some weight this year, or I wanna make a little bit more money. Maybe I'll go for that promotion and pay off my debt, or whatever that dream is.
But we wonder why we aren't motivated to kind of go after it. It's nothing that excites us.
So many of us don't have hobbies. We don't chase our curiosities, we don't let ourselves be full humans, right? Multifaceted humans that have desires and wants and interests and things that we just allow ourselves to look after because they're fun or because in some way they're gonna fulfill us. We've just decided that like work isn't fun, I'm an adult, I have responsibilities, I just have to get it done. And you know, I'm gonna look forward to that glass of wine at the end of the night or getting to Friday so that I can lay around and watch Netflix. And like that's the totality of, you know, decades of my life.
And one of the biggest things I see when people come to me, because the biggest reason people come to me is that they know they're unhappy, but they have no idea what they want to do. They just know that they hate what they are doing and they don't even really know who they are anymore.
They've sort of lost touch with who they are and what it is that they want when they're not listening to all the voices around them from like their family, society, you know, all the other stuff. And I always say like, the reason that you can't figure it out is because you're playing too small. I can't tell you how many people that I talk to that start out telling me what they want and preface it with something like, well, I don't need a lot. Like I don't actually even care about money. And it's not that I need the job to be, you know, whatever X, Y, and Z. I just like, it would be nice if I could make 80,000, like if I could replace my salary, if I could make six figures, like a hundred thousand, I know that won't happen right away. Or I know in this career that I wanna go to that's not really possible.
I don't need all of that. I can kind of scale back, you know? And it's like you can't even express what you want without trying to brace yourself for the fact that it won't happen. Like you've already decided that it's not possible and that you don't need that much and that you're okay with this like slice of the pie that I have. Like I'm just fine. It's okay. I don't need too much. I don't wanna be greedy. I'm just gonna take this thing and be grateful. Now there's a difference of having gratitude for the things that you have and really delighting in your life and loving your life and still wanting more. We have this like misconception that if you are striving for more, if you wanna push yourself, if you wanna blow your own mind, if you wanna see how full and amazing and incredible of a life you can have that somehow you're saying like you're not happy where you're, you are.
And that couldn't be for this from the truth. I am unbelievably grateful for my life. I honestly wake up most days and think like how is it possible that I can be this blessed? How is it that I can have a life that is so perfect for me? And that doesn't mean I don't have negative emotions or I don't have days where I wake up with anxiety 'cause I do. But I'm just saying I really, really live into the practice of gratitude because I have seen how much it changes my life and it's just generally the way that I wanna live into it. But let me tell you, I have some really big audacious goals because I don't need to get to those goals in order to make me happy. I am happy now, I would be perfectly happy staying here, but I know that I have one life and I just wanna see what I can do.
I wanna see how much I can push myself. I wanna see how much I can grow. I wanna see what I can experience, what is out there that other people get to experience that I haven't, and why is it that they can and I can't.
When I started asking those questions of myself, when I started realizing I don't need those dreams in order to make me happy, I can be fully happy where I am and still want that. Everything changed for me.
And so I want you to take this kind of this attitude of like, I'll just be happy for this slice of pie that I have and I won't seek anymore. Because if, if for whatever reason, if I have more of a full life and somehow that's taking away from other people or that's gonna make other people resent me, or that's gonna mean that I'm not happy in my life, I want you to put that aside because it's and it's a story you're telling yourself.
Now, the reason that we do that, the reason we tell ourselves that story, the reason we dream really small, the reason we become more quote unquote realistic is because, well, two reasons. The first is self-preservation. You don't wanna feel hurt if you don't get to that thing.
So we've all had dreams that didn't turn out right, or we have been given the message that if you try something and you fail, that's bad. So you should not go after things that you think you're gonna fail at, right? Even well-meaning messages, let's say when you are younger and you try out for the soccer team and you don't make it right if you're gonna try it again, your parents might've said like, oh honey, why don't you, why don't you try basketball? They don't give you the message of like, yeah, keep trying. How much more do you need to practice? Who do you need to become in order to get on that soccer team? What do you need to do in order to make sure that you make it? Like try again? What's the harm?
The harm is is just your ego, right? It's just the feelings that you're gonna have, the disappointment that you have to sit with if you try and you don't make it again. And so that's why we do it. Like we've all had it. And so we've all decided like, well, I don't wanna feel that discomfort. I don't wanna feel that disappointment of going after something and then not getting it. So you know what? I'm just not gonna go after it. I'm just gonna tell myself, I'm gonna convince myself that I don't even want it. I'm fine with what I have. Like that's it. This is good for me. I'm grateful. And then we wonder why so many of us are like restless and frustrated and feel like you have a deep knowing within you that there's something more that you want more. I mean, I can't tell you how many people I hear that from where it's like, I don't know what it is, but like this can't be it.
Like this is not the way my life is supposed to be. And I just know that like, this is job is great, it's fine, it pays the bills, but there's something more for me. Like you have that inkling and the reason that you can't get there is because you're not letting yourself even dream of it because you're so scared of the disappointment, whether you get it or not. And the way I've started looking at my life and the way I see people now when I, when I talk to them is like, there's two types of people. There are people who will shoot for the moon so that they can land among the stars, right? Getting to the moon is not the goal. It's like, how big can I dream and how much can I go after it to see where it's gonna take me? Like that's just the guiding light that's my north star, and I'm gonna go for this huge big audacious goal.
And whether I get there or not means nothing about my self-worth. I don't need to attach a story to it. I don't have to think that failure means there's something wrong with me. I can just decide that this is a goal that's gonna help me grow, it's gonna help mold me, it's gonna teach me a ton and we'll see where I land, right? So you either are like that or you're like, I'm gonna shoot for the top of this tree because I know for sure I can get there. 'cause I know how, right? Like I've climbed a tree before, I've watched other people, you can watch it on YouTube. I'm pretty sure I can figure out with enough training and you know, I can put some pads under me if I fall. Like I'm pretty sure I can get to that top, top of the tree.
So I'm just gonna go for that.
And listen, there's no right or wrong way. I just know that when you get to that top of the tree, it's not gonna be enough. You're still gonna feel like, okay, this is a beautiful view, but I'm pretty sure I can get higher. Like I would like to see it from higher than the top of this tree. And so you just have to start deciding what type of person you want to be. In the last couple of years in my time, like in entrepreneurship and seeing people that have created incredible businesses, like multi six figure seven, figure eight figure businesses, what has been the most surprising thing for me is that I don't mean to say this in a mean way and it's gonna sound mean, but there's nothing special about, they're not smarter than most people. They're not more equipped, lots of them don't have any more resources.
I mean, some of them do not, there isn't a thing of privilege, but they're just bold enough to go for it. I remember the first time I had a experience with this and it was actually what led me to entrepreneurship because I'll talk later, uh, in another episode, um, about kind of my mindset before I ever jumped into entrepreneurship. But if you know me, I was like the person who told you that you, I would never go into business. I never cared about money. I hated everything that had to do with business. Like I refused in law school to take any business class, like law classes. I don't know. I was just like, I'm not interested in this. And I had just basically shut off that entire world for myself for whatever reason, whatever stories I had going on. I talk about this when I quit law and I didn't have any idea what I wanted to be doing.
And I started going to meetups and I started going to start up like tech events. It was kind of like shark tank type meetups where people were pitching and it was just really exciting and really fun and it was so fun to watch people have products that they were so excited about. And I just remembered after like going to them for a while, I kept being like so astounded by the people that were pitching because I would talk to them and then I would think to myself like, I'm smarter than that guy. And I'm not trying to say this in a mean way. Uh, if you're in the startup scene, you know that it is heavily dominated by the bro types as I like to call them, young, overly confident men. And that's nothing wrong. I mean, that's why they're starting all these companies because they have the audacity to go after it, right?
And obviously there's a lot of like socialization that goes in that, and there's a lot of like in the patriarchy, um, how they are basically given that confidence from when they are born, but it doesn't matter. It's that they have thoughts that lead them to want to get on that stage and think that they can ask for millions of dollars in funding and think that they have the qualifications to run a company when they have literally done nothing that qualifies them for that. And every other person who, like I knew at the time I went to a law school that I was surrounded by the most brilliant minds. And so I know people that are so qualified and smart and yet they're just in their own heads like I was about what is possible for them are like, oh, I don't have all of the experience for that, or I can't do that.
I don't know what I'm doing. And that's the way I was. And it wasn't until I started being around those people thinking like, what do they have that I don't have? There's nothing that these people have that makes them more qualified to do this than me. At the time I had a law degree, I had proven to myself that I was smart enough to have a pretty good career. That was the first time that I started actually even entertaining the idea of like, maybe I could start a business. Would I ever want to?
When I started thinking that way and I started allowing myself to dream a little bit more and more and more, and that has obviously changed over the last six years. And now I dream super big. And again, what I've learned from going from my photo booth business to online space and now being in masterminds and in groups with tons of online entrepreneurs, yes, there's very brilliant people and then there's also people who are just willing to put in the hard work.
They're just willing to go after that dream. They just know that it's possible. If it's possible for other people, why isn't it possible for them? And so they don't limit themselves. And I'm telling you like I know it's easy to brush off and it sounds cliche where it's like anything is possible and we want to believe that like no other people have some quality. And I promise you that they don't. It's all a thought, it's a decision. It's just a decision to say like, I can figure this out. There's no reason why other people can have these great businesses online. And I can't do it. Like everything is online. I can figure it out if they figured it out. And so even why I mentioned my impossible goal on the last episode of last year where I did a year-end review, I talked about how my impossible goal this year is to have a million dollar business.
Now I actually, I'm almost certain that I'm not gonna hit that this year. And in that episode I talked about the fact that like, it doesn't matter. The point of the goal is not to actually hit the goal, right? The point of the goal is to push me to think about who I have to become in order to have a million dollar business. It's to push me to take actions that, like if I was somebody that was running a million dollar business, what would I be doing? What team would I have in place? What offers would I be putting out there? How much would I be charging people? What value would I be providing, right? I say that goal one to show you that like the point isn't that I'm gonna get there, like I need to get to a million dollar business because then I don't know, somehow I can feel better about myself or I won't have any problems because I know that's untrue.
I'm gonna get there and have the same brain and have the same worries and probably have a lot more stress and have a lot more worries because I have a whole new set of problems. But the point of the goal is to get me to grow in addition to that, the reason I say it is because until I started hearing my mentors and my teachers talk about things like this, I didn't even think it was possible to dream about that. So until I started hearing people say like, I'm gonna have a million dollar business, I'm gonna have a $10 million business, or I'm gonna have a hundred million dollar business, I remember thinking like, are we allowed to say that? Are we allowed to want that? Like, because I was very much of the camp of like, well, if I could just make a hundred thousand dollars, it's fine.
Like that's fine. I can be, you know, balance my time with my kids and I can bring in that income and that is fine. It is fine, right? But I knew deep down, like if I can have a hundred thousand dollars business, why can't I have a million dollar business? Why can't I grow it like that? It's just a series of steps and skills that I have to acquire. And whether it takes me one year or three years, or five years or 10 years, who caress, right? And it doesn't mean my goal won't change in that time, but if I'm committed to seeing like how big of a life can I have, what rooms can I get myself into, what community can I connect with? How much value can I provide? Uh, what impact can I have? What experiences am I gonna wanna have? Like I start dreaming bigger and bigger and bigger.
And it's amazing to me. When I first started on this journey, I remember listening to a Tony Robbins tape and he put like 10 minutes on the timer and said, I want you to write down all of your goals for your life. Like in all areas. I remember after like a minute, I had nothing else to write and I was like, Hey, are are people still writing? What else is there? Like I wrote a goal, you know, for my personal life, maybe for my health. And then I wrote a goal for business and I was like, okay, I'm done. And I think about that now and I think how limited I was thinking how limited I thought the possibilities were. Like I just will take this piece of the pie. And it wasn't until I started expanding and really realizing that there is no limit.
I can experience whatever I want, if I'm willing to put in the work, if I'm willing to take the time, if I'm not in a rush to get there, if I don't delude myself into thinking that getting there is gonna somehow make my life magical and like, you know, I have to get there because that destination is great, rather than I'm getting there. Because in that journey, I'm gonna change who I wanna be and it's gonna make me more into the person that I want. I could now write for an hour about the goals that I have because I have so many in so many aspects.
And here's the thing I know for you too, and the people I talk to and the people I coach, I see it. It's like if you just give yourself permission, if you stop limiting yourself, if you stop thinking that it's ridiculous to want something, if you stop putting that shame on wanting something and you start opening yourself up to like, what is it that I actually would want?
If I could have anything, if there was no limit, if I didn't care about time or resources or anything else, what would I wanna experience? You could start coming up with some pretty amazing things. And that's the first step in figuring out what it is you actually want out of your life.
And here's the thing, when you start doing that, you run into the second reason why we don't set these big goals. Because our brain loves to go to the how. Like I don't know how to do that, right? Let's say I wanna have a million dollar business. I have no idea how I'm gonna do that. And that's usually where we stop. We decide like, well, that's crazy because I, I don't have the first clue, so I'm not gonna pick that goal. Our brain loves to live in confusion and overwhelm. And when you don't know how you're gonna do something right, you instantly feel overwhelmed.
It feels like too big. So we shut down because that keeps you safe. Your brain's only job is to keep you safe and alive. It does not care if you have the most amazing, brilliant life. And so I want you to understand that nobody knows the how. Of course you don't know the how. If you knew the how, you would've already done it by now, right? If I knew how to have a million dollar business, I wouldn't be here talking about having a million dollar business. I would just build it. And when you think about that, like think about the people where like something comes naturally to them. Like somebody, let's say somebody is just like naturally athletic and really into fitness and works out all the time, right? They typically don't have goals. That's like, I wanna work out three times a week, right?
They, I mean, they already know how they're gonna get themselves to do that. They don't have to work past all the mental block. Like they already work out five days a week, right? So you don't end up setting that goal. We set goals for things that we are not good in or that we need growth in that don't maybe come to us naturally that we don't know the how. So I don't want you to stop because you don't know how to get to that big audacious goal when you are stuck in figuring out the how, you don't even let yourself get to the what. And this is what I see as like the biggest problem in finding clarity is that people can't tell me what they wanna do because their brain so quickly goes to like, well that's not possible because you don't know how to do that.
So I'm not even gonna suggest that as something that I want. And if you can just put the how on pause for a little bit, your brain's still gonna go there. And that's fine. Still gonna freak out. It's what brains do. But if you decide like I don't need to know the how, if I didn't care about the how, if the how would reveal itself later, if I would learn the how, if I could guarantee that I would learn the how, what would I wanna do? Go to that place. Because from there you will start uncovering the dreams that you have within you.
They're there, they've just been buried for a number of years, right? They've been buried under all the cynicism and doubt and fear and social programming and everything else where people told you it's not possible and that you've hit it. Every one of you has an interest or a curiosity or things that you think would be so amazing to experience, but you haven't let yourself dream.
And until you're really ready to allow yourself to open up to all the possibilities and allow yourself to dream bigger, you're not gonna uncover the thing that you want because you're going from like, oh, I'll, I'll go from this little slice of my pie to just a little bit more. Like, I'll just go to the next step. But the next step is not gonna make you happy. 'cause it's not that much different. Like I see this all the time where people are like, well, I'll just get a job doing this other thing that is only slightly different than what I'm doing now. And hopefully that'll magically change and I'll all of a sudden be happy. And then they get to that new job and it's like, oh, seems like it's more of the same. And so before you start jumping around, I want you to start deciding what you wanna experience in your life and what you wanna go after.
There's a term called lifestyle design, right? And it's about figuring out what you want for your life and your lifestyle and then exciting about and purposefully designing it. Um, if you don't know of the Happy Lawyer project, you should follow a coma on Instagram because she is one of the best examples of people living into their lifestyle design. She is all about lifestyle design and I've learned so much from following her. But she is a lawyer and like I said, I mean, she runs the Happy Lawyer Project and she really started out on this mission to show people that like you can be happy in your job. And she was in a big law firm in New York and her and her husband just started sitting down and deciding what they wanted for their long-term vision, where they wanted to live, what they wanted their kids to grow up in, what experiences they wanted to have.
And I'm, I'm gonna try to get her on the podcast this year because I think her story is so amazing. But she went from having debt living in New York, working at a big law firm to taking steps towards the life that she wanted and the life that they wanted was to live abroad, live in a tropical area with their kids. Um, and she has tons of other dreams of like opening up a hotel and doing all these other things and she slowly started working on it. They moved to a to Dallas where the cost of living was less so they could pay off their debt. They have since moved to Costa Rica and she has a job at a startup as a lawyer. She works remotely from Costa Rica, and I mean, she's living the dream life that she wants. Her kids are out in the jungle all the time.
They are out in nature, they're at the beach all the time, and she's still working as a lawyer and she's still working towards her dreams of building the hotel that she wants. And she's just a great example. I think so many people have just decided that like, no, this is it. Like I'm a lawyer and I have debt, so I have to stay in this situation. And I just wanted to tell you that like that's just a decision you've made. Full stop. Even if you have debt, even if you have kids, even if you have a spouse that doesn't want whatever, if you haven't had these conversations, if you don't sit down and decide what you want. Now not everybody's dream is gonna be to move to Costa Rica, right? But sitting down and saying, what is my dream for my life for this one precious life that I have?
What do I want to experience? How do I want to live? How do I want my kids to live instead of living on autopilot of what everybody else has told me I have to do? I want you all to spend some time dreaming bigger. I want you to think about, if I didn't have to think about the how, what would I go after? If I could design my dream life, what would it look like if I could work on things that would excite me? Like what does my dream day look like? And here's a caveat, like I think a lot of times we think it's sitting on the beach and drinking pina coladas all day, and that's not typically it. I just wanna let you know that we all get bored very quickly and I think a lot of us that are maybe burned out off work, that sounds great, and it would be great for two weeks, a month maybe.
And then your brain needs growth and it needs challenges, and it needs to be working and not working in the sense of like working in a job, but I'm just saying like working towards something. And so I would push you to say like, if your dream should be like to have rest and relaxation and vacations, but uh, I wouldn't stop at like, I just wanna lay on a beach all day because I can almost guarantee you that is not what you want to do ultimately after like the second month. But think about like what it is that you wanna be experiencing, what it is that you want to be going after, decide for yourself, decide if you weren't restricted by what your family wanted or what everybody else wanted. What is it that you would want to do? And then start getting to work going after that.
And we'll talk more about how to do that in coming episodes. I hope you guys dream big. I hope you shoot for the moon because you are entitled to the most amazing mind-blowing life. And I promise you, you can have it if you're willing to go for it.
Hey, if you are looking for more in-depth help with your career, whether that's dealing with all of the stress, worry, and anxiety that's leading to burnout in your current career or figuring out what your dream career is and actually going after it, I want you to join me in the Quitter Club. It is where we quit what is no longer working like perfectionism, people pleasing imposter syndrome, and we start working on what does, and we start taking action towards the career and the life that you actually want. We will take the concepts that we talk about on the podcast and apply them to your life and you will get the coaching tools and support that you need to actually make some real change. So go to and get on the waitlist. Doors are closed right now, but they will be open soon.