What is it? Is it making the national team? Is it coming back to play from an ACL injury? Is it being a doctor who saves lives? Is it being a mom? A servant to others?
My answer is it is none of the above...to me,
Striving for something and finding yourself in a better place today then you were yesterday. Realizing your dream(s) and going for it. Even when the world tells you you are crazy. Even when you try to talk yourself out of it because you know how hard it is going to be, you keep moving forward.
I think having a dream is one of the most important keys to life and progression. Read that carefully...a DREAM. Not a goal! The more I think about goals the more I want to forget they ever exhisted (thanks in large part to "Burn Your Goals" ...amazing book that I would recommend to anyone).
One of my dreams is to be a professional soccer player. The apex of my dream includes playing for the US Women's National team and contributing to winning a Gold Medal at the Women's World Cup and Olympic Games. I can still see the very details of this journey: the white lines on the field, the smell of freshly trimmed grass, the feeling in my stomach as I hear the high pitch whistle blowing to start the Final game, scoring the winning goal with a left foot half volley, and tears running down my cheeks on the podium as the American flag goes up to the sound of the Star-Spangled Banner.
However, somewhere along the way my dream turned into my goal.
Over the past few weeks of post-season, I have had the time to reflect upon what I am doing with my life. (Literally, I ask myself almost daily, Jordan, what are you doing with your life?) During some of these quiet times, I have moments where I get this sense of failure. Like I haven't accomplished what I worked so hard for so many years to do. Even typing it sounds weird to me because in no way have I failed. I am living out my dream! I am playing soccer for my "job"!! But, the moment I turned my dream into a goal, I gave my mind to the opportunity to determine if I would "succeed" or "fail". What bothers me the most about this is it is so far from reality... I have neither succeeded or failed at this dream, I have only been on a unique journey of working towards being closer to it.
Although this is still a dream of mine, I have many other dreams...
My dream is to stay involved with soccer as long as possible: from anazlyzing games on ESPN/Fox Sports, sharing my insight with soccer fans all over the country (tapping into my first dream as a child to be an actress), to continuing to serve the youngsters at my childhood club, Colorado Rush.
I dream of being a business woman who helps run a company leading a group of people to create an environment that breads creativity and cohesion.
I dream of being a mom, raising a family and loving them more then I know possible.
And my latest dream involves sharing my knowledge and creating a community where others going through or who have gone through ACL injuries can come to find strength, help, and inspiration. Literally creating "The ACL Club."
Who knows if I will be able to live out all my dreams, or what new ones will evolve, but I will work daily to see progress towards them.
In the book Burn Your Goals, the writers challenge the reader to:
Put first things first,
Let go of outcome based thinking, and
Believe that everything that is happening to you is for the best.
I am taking that challenge and relieving myself of being my own worst critic. The only reason I can't do something is because I tell myself I can't. The only reason I have "failed" or "suceeded" is because I tell myself I have. I believe in my dreams and will focus on what I can do today to help me be a better PERSON tomorrow. I challenge you to do the same (and to read their book!).
So... as I ask myself what am I doing? I know the answer is I am getting better. I am learning more about myself, God, the game, relating to different people, and taking steps towards what is next. I believe this to be God's perfect combination of everything above.
Success isn't a place to say "Hey look at me I've made it!" and be content in your accomplishments. Success is an ever evolving space around you where you feel YOU are MOST YOU. Dreams are precious and should be something we strive for. Progress is what we should seek daily.
Keep chasing your success. Keep chasing your dream(s). I will keep chasing mine.