I was recently having a great conversation with a young man who has some huge and awesome ideas. The problem was his ideas were bringing conflict in his family. There’s nothing wrong with his family, at least in this regard, they are simply trying to look out for him and want what’s best for him. His ideas are big and powerful but they’re early in process and look to the rest of the world to be very impractical. I get this from both sides. The creative in me wants to tear down all limitations and make every single one of my huge dreams come true. On the other side I am a parent and I know the temptation to protect your kids and make sure they have everything they need. I’ve gone too far in both directions in my life. As you can probably guess, I had a lot of empathy for this young man and his family. I’ve been there.
But there was something he said that bothered me quite a bit and those of you who read this blog a lot, will be surprised that it did. He said, “I refuse to settle…” Now to some extent that is commendable. If we don’t want the very best for ourselves, no one else will. Likewise if we don’t strive and struggle to make our dreams come true, no one else will and yes often those two things are precisely why we MUST settle. Let me explain.
I have several friends who want to be on Broadway. They moved to New York and audition day after day. You know what they do while they wait for success? They wait tables. This is settling in the truest form. They have not put their dreams on hold, they pursue them daily. In the mean time, they do what it takes to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. In my own life, I’ve had two dreams, to be a husband and father and to be a working artist/speaker. I am living both those dreams and do you know what both of them required. Working 9-5 jobs, often jobs I didn’t like but you know what, the dream was worth it. I have a great wife, great sons, a great daughter in law and even a grandson. I pastor a great church and travel the country painting and preaching and speaking and I couldn’t be happier. I never gave up on the dream but while I was waiting, I did what it takes to make ends meet. You can call that settling. I call it working the dream.
Keep your eye on the prize and do what it takes.