A few days ago Shaun posted something about dream stealers and like a lot of Shaun’s recent activity it really got me thinking. Chad already wrote a great follow up that in many way said everything I’d want to. This is my second attempt to put my thoughts to words because I’m not entirely sure... oh hell, Jimbo, just start typing:
I worry about the Guthries. They’ve joined the cult of Amway and Shaun’s blog is occasionally incomprehensible without a glossary. In childhood my mom went in for a lot of make money at home schemes and I vividly recall the financial outcomes of all of it. She still goes in for questionable business schemes now and again and the outcomes, to the best of my knowledge, have never been financially rewarding. I worry so much about Shaun and Lindsay. Are they’re headed down a rather thorny path built to look attractive but perhaps less prosperous than the motivational seminars claim? I believe in the dictionary of terms, I’m part of Camp Comfortable, in league with the Dream Stealers. I will most certainly not be making Double Eagle unless I make my own costume.
Expeditions of Truth also contains some occasionally brilliant stuff. His blog is one that has friends saying to one another in meat-space “OMG, did you *see* Shaun’s latest post?” The man can generate buzz. Exactly such a conversation occurred last Sunday. I hadn’t read about the dream stealers so I whipped out my phone to read it, preparing to shake my head in bewilderment, when a funny thing happened. I totally got every word Shaun was saying. I empathized with his plight because I vividly recalled dreams that I allowed to be stolen away by other people’s negativity. Feelings of White represents a dream of mine that I have had to fight to keep alive. Tammy, in another reaction to Shaun’s post (see what I mean about buzz?), described my current dream as “cooking better food and contributing to his families health” which is spot on. Many days I want to give it all up and then I think of my son and I realize I must keep trying. Plenty of haters hatin’ on that dream but I’m still plunging away.
Chad already touched on a flaw in in the everyone’s a dream stealer approach. If by definition anyone who suggests you are on the wrong path is a dream stealer to be ignored, then you have closed yourself to rational discourse. If the only people you associate with are other people “in” the business then that is what will seem normal, whether it’s deeply unhealthy or the best thing in the world. Shaun: I worry you won’t be my friend any more because I don’t fit your definition of a successful person or because I don’t want to buy XS Energy Drink. This is the fear in my heart when I think about direct selling.
But also Shaun: I want you to pursue your goals to the fullest. Drink all the Kool-Aid and make some of your own. Two years ago I was so crazy focused on my website I began viewing every email and every conversation as an opportunity to get people to check out my blog. I spent every bit of spare time working on content, including the outline of a novel and the first two chapters. I don’t regret it; I’m proud of the focus I had and everything I learned and created. Anyone who told me I shouldn’t’ve let my dreams absorb so much time would be politely ignored. It’s not the only time in my life I’ve been so focused, I have similar feelings today. Looking back I never remember the hard work or sacrifices, I observe the results in bewilderment and wonder who did this? who was the person I became that accomplished all of this? Maybe the person I became was Shaun. Shaun’s blog is a little crazy and more than a little interesting because it’s represents a tiny fraction of the overall man Shaun is. It’s the fraction that’s getting shit done. It’s passion. I can’t stop reading because I want to know what the hell he’s going to say next (even if I disagree). His writing has a naked honesty that I very much respect as he shows you how he thinks about his goals.
A few months (Janine’s birthday) I was talking about my lack of writing progress and Shaun quietly interjected “Have you made it part of your daily routine?” or something along those lines. It stopped me cold because I knew he was right. Shaun’s all up in the motivational stuff and the building your dreams and then actually making that airy fairy shit a concrete reality. He’s making his dreams happen. When I accepted this summer blog challenge look what happened: I’m writing. Every day. Trying my damndest to reorder my life so it’s part of my routine. Ahhh… the power of routine. I was bitching about dreams and The Guth quietly showed me the errors of my way by just living his life and being an example of a better way.
I think Shaun will keep being my friend which is a good thing. He is an example of awesomeness. The path he’s chosen will likely continue to give me trepidation but life isn’t about everyone being the same. He plans to move to B.C. and then maybe I’ll never see him again. I worried the same about Vlad when he moved to Mississauga, or my brother when he moved to Calgary, or the Andersons when they moved to Chicago. I still see all of them. Following your dreams means leaving some things behind. I don’t ever see Sam anymore (the best man from my wedding) despite the fact that he’s in the same city and that makes me sad. What makes it more palatable is knowing that he is pursuing his dream to the fullest (he’s a drug addictions counsellor). Love those you can, while you can.
Ideas and dreams can be fragile little things that require privacy or protection from the outside world until they’re strong enough to survive on their own. Turning dreams into reality inevitably pushes other parts of your life to the side as you make room for the new thing. Is that change good or bad? You’ll never know unless to make a go at it.
I once wanted to quit everything and go work with growing green things and I let that dream be stolen from me. My life continued on as usual. It makes me a little sad that I didn’t even pursue it.
I once wanted to quit everything and go be a truck driver and I did that. I thought I was going crazy and so did many other people, parents included, but I did it anyway. Six days a week I was not in the city and I ate hamburgers out of convenience stores. It was a fucking awesome once in a lifetime experience and it gives me inner strength to this day.
Shaun: Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Even me.