Stop editing. Start dreaming.


My Super Man-Pirate.

Several months ago, during our evening ride home, I asked my four-year-old son what career he wanted when he grew up.

As soon as I was home, I had to capture what he told me. Here’s his list (and I may have missed a few!):

-Discovering new dinosaur bones

-Teaching kids how to read and do math

-Playing on the 49ers

-Playing on the Golden State Warriors

-Driving an ambulance

-Being a (toe) doctor

-Being a nurse

-Driving a race car

-Coaching a soccer team

I love this list for so many reasons – the breadth, how aspirational it is, how action-focused it is (it’s not necessarily about being a profession, it’s about doing stuff.) I’m inspired by the possibility, the variety, the lack of editing….this kid believes he can and will do all these things.

And though I think my son is unique, I’m certain he’s not unique in this way. I’m sure if you polled any preschooler you would get an equally ambitious and creative list.

How can we tap into our four-year-old selves?  How can we reconnect with that sense of possibility, that ability to wonder, to dream big?

I spent last weekend at a coaching training, so I’ve been chewing on these ideas, unlearning a lot of things, learning to identifying the inner critic that tends to grow stronger as we grow up.   We opened the coaching training with an ice breaker: milling around the room and introducing ourselves to our fellow classmates, posing the question, “What’s your dream?”  It’s a powerful way to connect with a group of strangers.

At the beginning of the exercise, it felt a little high pressure — what is my dream? What if it’s not the dream? What if it sounds silly? What if I have spinach stuck in my teeth? And on and on.  But circling through the room, hearing the beautiful, creative, brave dreams of all these strangers and soon-to-be friends, I saw that I needed to stop editing and stop worrying.  I needed to start listening and keep dreaming.

So dream.  Dream big.  Dream a lot.  Dream like a bad ass. Dream like your four-year-old self.



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2 Comments on “Stop editing. Start dreaming.”

  1. Candy Puterbaugh
    May 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Heather: That’s a tuck-away-and-keep-forever list. I really enjoyed the blog. You always make me think…which I don’t always do without prompting! It took me back about 30 years to when my son’s New Year’s resolution for a few years was to dig an underground passageway. He never did it. He also wanted to play professional baseball and never did that. But he grew out of those dreams and into new ones. Thanks for taking the time to keep us posted.

    Aunt Candy

  2. hlspain
    May 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    How wonderful that you have all those memories of his (fantastic!) childhood dreams. And I love that idea — that we’re just growing into new dreams. Lovely.

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