A few years back, I sat down with a woman (we’ll call her Mary) who wanted to talk about finding the courage to quit her 9 to 5 job as a hair stylist, and open her own salon.
She kept talking about the money – I tried to steer her towards a long term vision of Why, but she couldn’t get past the cash flow. She made $40,000 / year, and knew she could do much better.
“Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.”
– Tupak Shakur
Unable to guide Mary away from the money, I gave in.
Keeping with the long term theme, I asked her to visualize a gross income total for her first year in her new salon. Any amount – green light, fearless yearly revenue flow.
She went quiet. For minutes. And minutes. And even more minutes.
She just sat there, thinking about a number, unable to give me an answer. After literally 15 minutes of silence, she finally spoke.
“$50,000!” She announced proudly. “I’m good with making $50,000 my first year.”
I almost fell out of my chair. “Whaaat?!” I asked, as I cleaned the wax from my ears.
I gave her a green light to go big, mentally – create a vision of success and freedom, yet she could only bump her current yearly income by $10,000.
She believed that by declaring something small, it would take off the pressure, and ultimately keep her from looking like a failure if she didn’t succeed immediately.
Our brain does this as a protective mechanism – it doesn’t want us to feel the pain of failure, so it won’t allow us to raise the bar past “realistic.”
We have to consciously break this pattern, doing the opposite of what it’s telling us – dream huge, risk big, fearlessly act.
Finding increased success is often a counterintuitive process. If left alone, our minds will stay in a safe, comfortable mode. Not much pain resides here, so it positively reinforces the brain, making it believe this is the correct spot to live.
Unfortunately, what’s coupled with a painless, struggle-free existence is stagnation. You can’t grow in safety land, so a continuous disruption becomes necessary to move forward – force yourself to risk, take chances, and visualize living a life that’s currently “unrealistic.”
Breaking free of the fear to dream huge is a daily practice.
That’s what I was attempting to do with Mary – mentally step beyond what her conscious mind believed, and help her dive into a world of untapped possibilities.
After she named $50,000 as her future number, I pushed her to go bigger. I wanted her to stretch beyond $200,000, but after 20 more minutes of “bargaining,” we agreed to a first year gross income of $125,000.
Verbally declaring this long term success wasn’t enough, however – multiple times, daily, she visualized every last detail that would go into making that number a reality, and the lifestyle change that would eventually manifest.
She also took massive action, setting up her future transition from employee to employer. The more doing she committed to, the stronger her confidence grew.
She quickly began to internalize a new belief system.
A few months later, she quit her 9 to 5, and opened up that new salon. After her first year in business, she grossed $122,000 ($3,000 short of her goal).
What would’ve happened if she allowed herself to dream even bigger on that first day?