Copyright 2006 Mary Foley
“Rescue your dreams.” “Never let the odds keep you from pursuing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.” These two pages from “Life’s Little Instruction Calendar Volume III (and More)” came into my life in the fall of 1997 when I was ready to really hear their truths and take them for my own. Now posted on my refrigerator they still remind and challenge me to live believing in my dreams, believing in myself.
The decade I worked at AOL enabled me to live an often dream-like existence in my work world. Dream-like because we had an inspiring vision and mission within which I was given opportunities to create and contribute at levels not often offered to people my age. Yet my personal life was far from dream-like. In the fall of 1997, I finally had the courage to reclaim my life from a debilitating marriage, to rescue it, and recreate it as something that fulfilled and inspired me.
I didn’t know for sure what shape my dream would take, though I knew it would have some of the same characteristics I’d experienced at AOL: purposeful, positive, fun, authentic, satisfying. I also believed that for me to be truly alive and be truly myself my path was going to look different than my past, different than I originally thought it would take.
The only thing that could have prevented me from finding my new path was the “odds” that I might not be able to muster the courage to pursue it. Whether it’s being different from others or simply being different from who I’d been, what would hold me back, if I let it, was not having the guts to take the risk to venture into unknown territory. “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” said French novelist Andre Gide. I couldn’t grab hold of the next version of Mary until I let go of the last. And circumstances were helping me to move on. For all the hard effort I’d put into my marriage, it still wasn’t working. For all the success I’d had at AOL I was being blocked to grow my career as I wanted.
At first I took these realizations very hard. Then I recognized how these circumstances were giving me the chance to get closer to the person I was meant to be and to the next set of things I was meant to do. So, I consented to lose sight of the shore.
Years ago I had a faint inkling to write a book about my lessons learned at AOL. Now Ive written two books! When I started writing my first manuscript, I had no idea that I would start my own company to spread the bodacious message or speak in front of hundreds of women or conduct teleseminars or any of the activities I do today. All I knew is that I had to rescue my dreams and courageously walk forward.
In our tumultuous world, it’s easy to forget to dream and believe anything is possible, but, it truly is. And, it starts with allowing yourself to dream of what’s possible for your career, business, and life. Will you join me in rescuing our dreams?