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  • Writer's pictureAnat Ishai

Who am I without my dreams?

Looking back, I had these grandiose dreams of what my life would be like. I would be a high powered executive, I would have lots of children and "lots of help", I would find a man who smiled every time someone mentioned my name. I also dreamt that I would be a prima ballerina and star as the lead principle of Swan lake and the Nutcracker. Amazing how some dreams are so far fetched but some actually come true.

There is a point where life really hits you upside the head. I remember when I entered that corporate world and was running the rat race that I had evaluate was this dream worth living? I remember thinking, what is all the hype? I was getting paid fairly well, I was working really hard and I was making a name for myself. But at what cost? That dream disintegrated pretty fast and then I was lost. Who am I without my dreams? How do I know what the next step is if I don't have direction? I was so busy being busy, I forgot to dream the next dream.

The prisoner cannot release himself from prison. I couldn't escape my limited perception of who I was to the world because I so busy defining myself by what the outside was expecting of me. This meant having to justify my actions and explain myself to my parents, my former colleagues, friends and everyone else I thought was watching. It's so unbearable to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, that you have to have it all figured out, when you feel you have little understanding of why it went so wrong. I was fortunate to have the distraction of my beautiful growing family. I leaned into my role as wife, mother and homemaker for a period of time. Truth be told, time passed and I still hadn't figured out my next move, but I knew that I also had this unique opportunity to grow our family once more. We welcomed our second son, and my husband's career took off. We continued to live modestly on one income, upgraded our home slightly and there I was still uncertain about my future. I hired a coach! Best decision ever! I realized I was stuck and what I was trying to achieve in solitude made me even more close minded! I needed someone to hold a mirror up to all my crazy talk.

I realized I was giving up on dreaming big because of the following reasons:

  1. Talking is easy, walking the walk is scary

  2. Fear of being judged for not fitting into other people's box.

  3. Failure! What if I fail again? Could I handle the rejection?

  4. What if I succeed? Could I handle the pressure of being on top?

  5. Hard work! You have to grind your way to success...was I ready?

I examined these hard truths and frankly, I can't say that I was proud with my answers. In some cases, I just wasn't ready to fulfill certain dreams, but I did start dreaming again! I did start to imagine a life that was shaped and designed by a vision that lit me up and set me on fire. So quietly I made a vision board, I remember finding a magazine clipping of a mom cradling her daughter (at that point I only had boys), I cut out images of fit women, a couple swinging on a porch, an ocean view and black patent high heels. Whatever image resonated with me I added to my board, even if I couldn't quite explain it...I knew my soul was talking.

Hindsight became the best insight into foresight. So much of hiring a coach, creating a vision board and taking steps forward, informed me that dreams do manifest. They can change, you can alter them, you can switch one for the other. I realized that what I was looking for all along was not OUT THERE but IN ME! I expanded my family, and we are now raising 2 boys and 2 girls! I'm the co-founder of our successful family business. I joined a board of a not for profit that I'm passionate about. I began my health journey, visited a couple of oceans and started writing again and sharing my content, I began to DREAM bigger DREAMS. I started to firmly talk back to the critic inside me who is fiercely determined to get my attention. I learned that I'm a visual person, and I learned I needed to preserve my dreams in a private place and manifest them away from public scrutiny. I learned that once I tamed my inner critic I would be more successful at ignoring the outside critics. I was a palm tree growing in the dark, but I know that once I reach my full potential, I will be strong enough to blow in a storm and still have my roots deeply embedded in the ground. I can't say I'm fully there...but I'm growing.

I think about those around me who dared to step outside the box, who dared to take a risk, who had the audacity to reinvent themselves and who stood ferociously for their dreams. I'm proud that I'm now a member of this elite squad. You don't have to be a millionaire to join this club, you just need to keep practicing courage, keep dreaming, gain resilience even when your crying and covered in dirt. Theodore Roosevelt said it best, " the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

I'm still on my journey of a thousand miles, I hope to meet you on one of my pit stops.


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