I am obsessed with the movie Inception.
The whole idea of living your life inside a dream (yours or someone else’s) has fascinating implications.
One of my favorite scenes is when the gang finds itself under attack in the first dream level. Arthur is doing his best to keep the bad guys at bay with his machine gun. But here comes Eames.
“You musn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling,” he says sweetly, as he pulls out a grenade launcher and blasts the baddies into oblivion.
In your dreams, you can do anything.
Whatever you need materializes in your hand just when you need it. Even if you don’t know you need it yet. Even if it’s a really big gun.
What if we all dreamed a little bigger in our businesses? What could we be, have or do if we didn’t let fear get in the way?
Succeed, Fail, or None of the Above
When you dream big, there’s a chance you will succeed and there’s a chance you will fail. Often, whether you succeed or fail is largely out of your control, but either is better than the alternative.
The alternative, of course, is not taking a chance at all.
So many of us work hard to keep things manageable. We want to earn more money than last year, but not significantly more. We want to attract more clients, but not significantly more. To do so would stretch us beyond what we believe are our limits.
So what do we do? We dream small dreams.
Small dreams call for small actions, which are decidedly un-scary. You succeed a little here, you fail a little there, and on balance you stay in pretty much the same place.
If You’re Going to Fail, Fail Big
In everything we do, we must be willing to risk spectacular, humiliating failure. If we are unwilling to risk this kind of failure, we cannot hope to achieve its opposite – glorious, public success.
So how do we know what sort of dream to dream?
Start by asking yourself a familiar question: What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Once you have the answer, remember that you can fail. Don’t assume it will happen. Don’t let it stop you. Just recognize it as a possibility.
Life’s biggest lessons come from failure. I’ve had a few catastrophes in my day, but I’m still here, and I’m stronger, smarter and more courageous than I could have hoped way back in my early days in business.
Bonus tip: no matter how badly you implode, you can almost always recover. I’m living proof.
That Other Thing Yoda Said
As Yoda famously said, “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”
If you want to make your mark, you have to have the courage to dream big, and then act big. Are you telling yourself this is easier said than done? Here’s a lesser known Yoda-ism:
“Always with you what cannot be done…. You must unlearn what you have learned.”
You go, girl.
More from Women Grow Business:
- Ebere Okoye tells you how a small business owner survived in tough times
- Lori Saitz suggests you form a gratitude council
- Liz Scherer discusses the incredible disappearing woman: lessons on dealing with ageism from Mollie Katzen
Image: Jake Bellucci via Flickr, Creative Commons
Ann Bevans is a writer, graphic designer and web developer. As principal of Ann Bevans Collective, she helps clients articulate messages that matter and create print and online marketing programs that communicate those messages with impact. Ann asks tough questions and doesn’t accept flimsy answers. She makes music and writes fiction. She does all her own stunts. Connect with Ann at www.annbevans.com, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.