Dreaming Big Starts With Knowing What You Want

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Dreaming Big Starts With Knowing What You Want: Her Reflection in Mirror by Pete McBride 1802170390A at Art.com


My Reflection

This morning I looked in the mirror and saw age spots. I totally freaked out until I realized the mirror was just dirty.  According to my New Year’s Resolution, I was supposed to have lost thirty pounds by now and have buff arms. Instead, I’m pretty sure my muffin top just had twins.

I draw on my eyebrows.

Yes, I’ll admit it.

And that’s not as easy as you might think. If it’s early in the morning and you are sleepy, be careful, because you will draw them on crooked. Last week I drew one a good inch higher than the other. I walked around all day looking suspicious.

Sometimes if I stare at myself in the mirror for a really really long time, it starts to feel like I’m staring at a stranger – like I don’t really know that face in the mirror. That’s usually when I decide I’ve had enough wine.

Mirror Mirror-on-the-Wall

One day, when I was little, I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw.  And then I looked around and saw you, and decided you were better.  And when I looked back into the mirror, I didn’t like me.

I wished I saw you.

So I put everything aside that made me me.

And I tried to find things that made me more like you. Look like you, act like you, have what you have, be like you.

Some things were easy, some were hard.  And then even the easy things got hard. Because every time I tried to be you, I felt worse.

And when I got the things I wanted, it felt empty. Because they were really the things you wanted. And it was hard trying to get the talents you had, when the talents I had would have been so easy – the ones I was born with.

The more I tried to be you, the more I lost me, and the knowledge of how great that me really was all along. I just didn’t know that I was already good enough.

Just the way I was.

And now my gifts were buried and hidden. A light extinguished. A story untold. A song unsung. A whispered message that nobody got to hear. Sometimes we forget what it was we wanted.  Or maybe we never even asked.  Because it never occurred to us,  that we could create the life we want.

Or we had this idea of how our life was supposed to go – of how we were supposed to be – supposed to turn out.

And didn’t.

And we find ourselves in that place between the life we envisioned and the life we got – the pothole in the yellow brick road.

Stuck – knowing only that where we are, is not where we want to be. And we wonder – where do we want to be?

And sometimes we’re stuck and we don’t realize it. We’re too busy saying “I’m fine”.

Or we think the problem is out there instead of in here.

And then we look in the mirror  and see that we have the power –  that our choices brought us here,  and our choices will bring us out.

That moment when we see with great clarity that the problem – or rather the solution – is in us – the only thing we can control. And so we look in the mirror and see – really see where we are stuck.

Not the part out there that we can’t control, but the part in here that we can.

We realize that when it comes right down to it, the problem isn’t that circumstance. Or that person. The problem is in us, and how we choose to react to it. And it is here that we gain our truest power –  the power to change our life –  the power to be accountable.

We face that moment where we decide whether to let this problem own us or that it’s time to stop and own this problem.

Will we let this break us, or make us? Knowing the choice is in here.  The answer is here – right here – in the mirror.

And so today I ask you  to take a look in the mirror –  a good long hard look,  and ask yourself  what kind of life do you want?

And why aren’t you getting it?

And then one day….

And I began to see MY reflection  and the power there  to change my life,  to rewrite my fairy tale,  to choose a new ending.

I began to see the life I want – the life I deserve.

I began to see – ME

I began to see my talents and my strengths and my dreams – who I was meant to be. And I stopped looking around at you. And I stopped looking behind me at the mistakes I made, or the path I left.

I kept my focus on my dream and my vision, my  yellow brick road. And sometimes it is hard, and I will take a peek at you.

I will want what you have. I will wish for the gifts you have been given. I will look in the mirror and look for you. And sometimes I will fall and get stuck, and think that it was a mistake to dream.

And I will stop. Look up. And find myself again – in my reflection.

So look in that mirror and tell me: Who do you see? Who do you want to be?

Dreaming big starts with knowing what you want.

I’m going to give you an assignment. No, you don’t have to do it – this is the internet, I will never know. But if you were in my program (motivational speakers like me love this stuff) I would ask you to create this fictitious woman based on the ideal woman you want to be. Money is no object.

There are no obstacles to this ideal woman. So what does she look like? Who is she? Is she married? Dating? Kids? No kids? A dog? A killer job? A killer pair of jeans?

Now get up and describe yourself to the group (okay, so you may not have a group – just pretend – or have another glass of wine and you might start seeing a group). Describe yourself as if you are truly this woman.

Tell us all about yourself. Tell us what you do, what you look like, where you live, the things you have, the things you do, the life you live.

In fact – we would love it if you want to share right here in the comment section. Why do this? Because it just might show you the life you really want if there was nothing standing in your way.

Who knows – maybe you are the one standing in your way! And if you get to a point where you think I can help, connect with me on my funny motivational speaker Facebook Page .

Kelly Swanson
You. Your story. Make an Impact

  • I see myself as a smartly dressed woman in my office as head of a publishing industry. My look is simple because I am always traveling, in meetings and on the go. I do manage to get tot he gym 4 times a week and hike on the weekends wherever I am. My son and I chat every other day while he tells me what life is like at the college of his dreams and where he plans to travel to before settling down… or maybe he’s telling me what pro football team he’s hoping to sign with after college (this part is his dream)… I smile a lot and I love the online publishing industry.

    How’s that?


  • Awesome Heather!!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • OK girl… got my cup of coffee so here it goes… I am living am amazing life traveling, writing and speaking about fitness and my own health and fitness programs that encourages women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to find the enjoyment that being fit can bring to their lives. I spend about 6 months a year in Europe with my husband (I’ll keep him!) and base ourselves out of our home in Sienna, Italy. When I’m back in the US I am visiting my son (I’l keep him too :) in LA to see how his booming fashion business it going. I really enjoy driving my orange Lamborghini Aventador that I have to keep in Italy since driving faster is easier over there.

    I love that my answer to similar assignments have changed over the years… not a lot but with subtle changes in focus on my dream. Tons of details I can elaborate on, but I appreciate the exercise (pun intended).

    Thanks for the reminder Kelly!