Aspirations…hopes…dreams…passions we want to pursue….

We all have them, or at least we all have had them at some point in time. There is not a child that enters the world who does not have an imagination. Children can easily play in the world of make believe. We have all dreamed of hitting the game winning home run, being the catcher to throw out a key runner trying to steal a base in the 9th inning (sealing the World Series for the Yankees), scoring a touchdown, or sinking a putt to win the Masters. I did not have sisters, but I watched our daughters have imaginary tea parties, call imaginary friends to set up parties, and generally play around the house.

We still have the ability to dream. Unfortunately, some grew up with people around that discouraged dreams, but we all still have dreams for a better future. This year has been tough on dreams. The coronavirus resulted in executive orders that closed businesses. The US financial markets began a STEEP decline in February, and the 401(k) balances do not look as hopeful as they once did. Some wonder if their business will survive. Some wonder if they will need to search for another job.

Since this is the “Pursuing Your Passions” blog, today I want to encourage everyone to embrace your dreams. They may be a bit further away due to current events, but they are still there. There may be significant obstacles in the path before us, but the dreams are still there. We may have physical limitations that inform us that our dreams should be adjusted, but the dreams for a better future are still there.

Consider these principles that may help clear the fog and overcome the hurdle on the way to pursuing your passions.

  • Begin with being grateful for what you have. As trite as this may sound when problems are at hand, changing the course of the future never occurs when we dwell on what we do not have. Thinking of the advantages that others have engenders jealousy which robs us of our hope and our energy. Jealousy locks us in the prison of “if only.” Books and speeches are filled with the advice to make a list of our blessings, because creating such a list sets our feet on the path of freedom and hope.
  • Do not be afraid of saying, “Yes.” Be willing to attempt something you know nothing about. Too often, we limit our ability to change the future or pursue our passions, because we place limitations on our abilities. We have heard others say we lack a necessary talent, and we worry about what they will think. Armand Duplantis set the world pole vaulting record of 20 feet 2 ¾ inches in February of this year. At one time, Duplantis knew absolutely nothing about pole vaulting! Do not be afraid of trying something you know nothing about!
  • Raise your sights about your goals! As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.” This spiritual truth applies in every facet of life. If we compare ourselves with where we are, any improvement may cause us to become complacent. When we compare ourselves with others, we often fail to consider where that person is along their journey. Our measurements should be, what is the BEST that we can do with the gifts, talents, and personality that God has given us. Raise your sights. Stretch for something greater.
  • If we do not reach the ultimate point for which we are striving, it does not mean we have failed. There will always be critics eager to give an itemized list of our shortcomings. Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….”
  • Don’t be afraid of saying, “NO.” Be aware of the limitations of time and energy. There are many good things one can do. Never allow the pursuit of a good thing to prevent you from achieving the greatest. As someone who has fallen prey to saying yes to too many things, allow me to encourage you to weigh the options that come your way. Say yes to those about which you are passionate. Allow others to pursue the others, for those are the challenges that fuel their passions!

Here is to living financially and emotionally free and pursuing your passions!