The Inspiration of Dreamers
Do you know why we–especially kids–love superheroes and movie stars and professional athletes?
We’re inspired by them, because they are the living examples of people who achieved their dreams. Regardless of the odds, the obstacles or optics of it, they never gave up on that dream. They persisted and they prevailed.
But dreams can change, and that doesn’t make them any less inspiring or worthwhile.
I once knew a little girl who dreamed of being a prima ballerina when she grew up. To her, there was nothing more beautiful and graceful than the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker that she saw every holiday with her grandparents. Unfortunately, by the time she was 8 years old, she realized she did not have a gift for ballet–or for gracefulness. So her dream changed.
Next she wanted to be a cashier at the grocery store, because to her there was nothing more fun than getting to scan produce and products across the “beep boop” machine, and entering things into the cash register.
But, the little girl’s dream changed again after visiting her aunt, who worked as a hairdresser. She loved doing the hair of her dolls and friends and family, so that is what she decided she wanted to do. But by high school she realized that she didn’t really want that as her career–although she continued to do her friends' hair for high school dances and proms.
It wasn’t until high school that she realized what she really wanted to be when she grew up–a business woman. More specifically, she wanted to work at Goldman Sachs, just like the young woman that spoke to her junior class at the career fair. For starters, this woman arrived at the school in a town car, was dressed in a very nice pants suit with high black heels and a Chanel bag. She was well spoken, self-confident and everything that this high schooler wanted to be when she grew up. So her dream changed again.
It was at exactly that moment, she decided that she would only apply to colleges that had business programs–specifically finance as that is what the Goldman Sachs woman majored in in college. She made her list of schools to visit and potentially apply to, took note of their enrollment requirements and scores, and ultimately set her sights on Georgetown University. This was her new dream.
She worked hard to make sure her GPA and SAT scores were where they needed to be for Georgetown. She took on leadership positions in all of the clubs and extracurricular activities that she had joined earlier in her high school career. She even went so far as to buy a Georgetown sweatshirt and apply Early Action to the university. And then, she was waitlisted.
She was crushed, but refused to give up on her dream of going to business school and one day working at Goldman Sachs.
That not-so-little girl ended up going to a different university–not Georgetown–where she studied Finance and learned that she absolutely hated finance after her first semester. Then after two more semesters of taking different core business classes, she realized she really loved marketing. So changed her major, and a few years later graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business and Marketing.
She never worked at Goldman Sachs, but did have an opportunity to work with them while managing the marketing and communications around an IPO for a startup.
That little girl was me. I am still dreaming of new goals and living my dream, even though it has changed and evolved over the years.
It’s ok to change your dream. Even the people we are inspired by and aspire to be, change their dreams.
Just look at J.R. Smith, former LA Lakers guard turned college student and North Carolina A&T’s Academic Athlete of the Year. Or Serena Williams, 23x women’s tennis grand slam winner turned venture capitalist. Or Ryan Reynolds, famous actor turned entrepreneur with a business empire. Or Natalie Portman, famous actress and owner of Angel City FC, a professional women’s soccer team. The list goes on.
Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams, even if that dream changes. It’s expected that our dreams will evolve just as we do.