Why not dream big?

Why not dream big?

“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.â€�- Henry Ford

As children, we dream of being an astronaut, firefighter, or even President of the United States, and then we get older and realize that these are just…dreams.  You may have been asked the questions “What do you want to be?� or “What career do you want?� with greater frequency the older you became. The weight of these questions is obvious, and the repetition of this inquiry can cause a lot of anxiety and rushed decisions. At the ripe age of 18, you are forced to make a decision – go to college or start working (or both).

This is a situation a lot of people find themselves in. The reality is, in this world, this economy, in your life, with your different responsibilities and obligations, your career is going to change a lot over time. Your best bet in making decisions about your degree or major, and more importantly about your career, is to first think about your interests and second remember your dreams from childhood.

Interests and motivation
Your interests will drive your motivation and dedication to a job or career. You cannot ignore what sparks a fire in your heart, what keeps you motivated, and what kind of organizations make you love coming to work. If you are not interested in the subject matter of your work, doing it day-in and day-out is going to be a burden. Over time, this burden will impact your career and will often impact your life outside of work. Your motivation – what keeps you going, what keeps you interested – can change a typical “job� into a career you love.

Childhood dreams
I have come to realize something very important about those childhood dreams, which seem to dissipate as we get older and experience life; it is that as a child, you believe in infinite POSSIBILITIES. When you are five years old, telling people that you want to be the President of the United States, you aren’t thinking of all the reasons why it could not happen. You are simply reaching for a lofty accomplishment with an idealistic trust that you have what it takes to get there. The possibilities for your future accomplishments are exciting and unlimited.

What I have seen in myself, and many of the college students I have advised over the years, is that the trust in ourselves to accomplish these goals begins to be overshadowed – overshadowed by all of the reasons why it can’t be done, or the time it will take to get there, or the distractions of life, family, or work. We lose the idealism of our five-year-old selves because life has taught us that lofty goals are unrealistic.  But what is really wrong with dreaming in this way?

I’d like to remind you that this five-year-old idealist is still inside, waiting to dream big, not adding any restrictions to what you can do. My advice: let that five-year-old out once in a while and see where they lead you.

Megan describes her current work in Outreach & Recruitment:

About the Author

Megan is currently an Admissions Counselor in the Center for Outreach & Recruitment. Prior to coming to CCA, Megan worked with student leaders at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Texas at Arlington. Megan holds a B.A. in Sociology and Ethnic Studies from CU Boulder and is currently working on a Master of Science in Organization Leadership at Regis University.  


  1. Jean Habeck

    March 22, 2012

    Love, love this article…and the responses! I just got laid off from my “dream job”…and trying to reconnect w/what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have gone back to my roots of graphic design when I first started art school and now I’m updating my skills and hopefully I can find another “dream job” that balances my life! Great job on the article…

  2. Marlene Banuelos

    February 12, 2012

    Love how Megan reminds us of our dreams we had when we were kids. Yet as grown ups, some of us keep dreaming big which for some reason the majority of the people think it’s just a dream and that’s it. But Megan has given those big dreamers a big thumbs up and a reminder that nothing is impossible. Even if you just want to start working right after college, if that is the job that makes you happy, then go for it, but Megan has also reminded us that here at CCA the administrators really support the students, and not only that but can help us financially. So live those big dreams and don’t let anyone step on them because you can do it.
    Thanks Megan for this nice reminder!

  3. Laura

    February 10, 2012

    I love this! At 18 most high school graduates don’t quite know what they want to be. I think it takes being an adult and having responsibilities, to decide what you want to do with your life. I am not doing now what i thought I was going to be doing. My life has taken a different path – one that probably wouldn’t have showed itself if I didn’t take a year off from school. I decided to go to a technical college and now that i want to further my education i have to start over. Life is a learning experience and the good thing about it is we are never too old to go back to school. The truth is, when we are young we think we have to choose before we are 20 because at 20 our life is half over lol, but then you learn it’s only beginning!

  4. Marcie BrownWendorff

    January 31, 2012

    I think this is a wonderful topic. As a child I loved going into my father’s wood shop and helping him build things. Mostly i just got in the way but I never forgot the pleasure of it. When I first entered the work force I went into construction. As I got older and after several injuries I ended up in an office job that brought me little pleasure. Eventually I remembered another childhood dream to become a healer. It was that of the “instant faith healer variety” which I understood as an adult was not a feasible concept. However I remembered that everyone always came to me for massage so when the planets aligned for it I went to massage school and became a very good therapist. I discovered that though my passion is massage I was not satisfied with the fru fru massage I still needed that healer aspect. I started doing more rehabilitative type massage work which is far more satisfying but is harder to maintain the bills because once you “fix” them they stop coming. So now I am working on my nursing degree with the intent of working in injury and rehabilitation with the added benefit of the nursing knowledge.
    Though I am no longer in construction many of the fundamentals are still with me. I look at the body as the ultimate building always under construction or remodel. When one is beset by injury mild or severe, without a good team to help with the remodelling work the” walls” may not stand strong long. This is my dream to be a member of that team that helps people rebuild and get back to what they love. So just because you did not stick with one of your childhood dreams does not mean it cannot be the foundation of another one. Never grow up!

    • Megan

      February 1, 2012

      Wow, Marcie! I like how you relate your passions to your current work – which is something that a lot of people have a hard time doing. What a wonderful way to look at pursuing your passions as well. Many people discover their passions from childhood are still with them, just in a different form, as you described in your example. Other people discover their passions later in life too, and often want to find a career which will connect them as you did. I hope your story inspires others. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Daniel Sandoval

    January 30, 2012

    Educational institutions exist to provide a road map to reach dreams. Good reminder Megan!

    • Megan

      February 1, 2012

      Isn’t it great to see people achieve their goals? I know I couldn’t have achieved the things I have without the people around me, especially in college.

  6. Alyssa Skow

    January 30, 2012

    I really liked this blog for its view on as adults we don’t allow ourselves to dream big. I do think this does need to be done in moderation, because we don’t want to be stuck in a daydreaming mode.

    • Megan

      February 1, 2012

      You are definitely on the right track – a balance is needed. It can be easy to get caught up in daydreaming and not actually making things happen, but that’s when a person should seek advice, mentoring, etc from their support group. Sometimes the people around you can help you see something you might be missing, or don’t know about. They might be able to help you go from daydreaming to actually doing what you feel passionate about.

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