I rarely use taxis, but recently my friend ordered an Uber for me and it ended up being one of those serendipitous experiences. The driver was very chatty and well, those who know me know I love to find out about people, so I asked him a few questions and away he went.
I discovered he emigrated from Croatia for a woman, he started driving about 6 months ago after experiencing bullying at his last workplace, has used this time just to recover from that trauma, and is now looking for work but finding it difficult to find what he wants to do. Of course, I discovered much more, but it’s not relevant to this story.
I began to sense a sense of sadness and regret, so I went there. I asked him if he could do anything, what would it be.
He skirted around that initially. He told me that I had lots of energy so that put me in a better position to be able to do what I wanted to do.
He didn’t feel that he had that energy and he also used age as an excuse. I pulled him up on both, he’s two years younger than me and the energy he sees in me is passion.
So I asked him again What are you passionate about?
Permission to Dream
His response didn’t take long to formulate. It was right there under the surface, waiting to be released.
I want to cook. I want to open a Gourmet Pizza restaurant and make people feel good with good food.
Even in the dim light, I could sense him cringing, bracing himself as those first words were released. But when he was met with genuine interest instead of derision, there was a strong shift in his energy, and he shared his vision with me. There was his passion.
What he’s wanted to do since he emigrated to Australia 12 years ago. By the time he delivered me safely to my driveway 45 minutes later, he’d made the decision to further pursue his idea.
I didn’t do that, I just gave him permission to dream and he got there himself. I gave him contact information of a government-funded business coach who could help him. He left feeling excited and hopeful.
I was left feeling thoughtful.
What had stopped him up until now? His wife didn’t think it was a good idea.
Honestly, I’m not judging her. Maybe she’s come out of hardship and values financial security more than job satisfaction. But this story isn’t a unique one.
Encourage Your Spouse
I’m reminded of the time we had friends come to visit and after a while hubby brought out his guitar and keyboard and the two men started jamming together. I thought it was wonderful.
About 30 minutes in, the wife started complaining to me. Don’t you just hate this? I was gobsmacked! Her hubby was a musician before they were married, she knew that, so why would she want to stop him from creating?
Not surprisingly, they’re no longer married.
I think of other women and men I know who have been on the cusp of amazing opportunities in business, the arts, music, or sport, which their spouses put a stop to. I see it too often.
And this is where I get frustrated. Does real love stifle a dream? Of course not! Real love encourages and builds up the other, it doesn’t tear them down.
But what if your partner hadn’t discovered their gift or passion at the time you got together? What if this idea has just popped up out of the blue? Does this give you the right to stop them?
I guess that depends on what you believe is the purpose of marriage.
What if the purpose of marriage was for each person to encourage the other to reach their potential, to live their best life?
What difference would it make if each person in the couple was equally invested in the other? What could happen if, instead of rejecting a newfound interest or passion in our spouse, we made a conscious decision to affirm them and explore it together?
Here’s the thing – We don’t stop growing at some magical age. Growth is a lifelong process and with that comes change. Of course, change brings fear, but what if most of what we see as ‘change’ is not change at all?
What if it’s Courage?
The Courage to Dream
Think about it. How many dreams did you have as a child? And how many of those dreams are you pursuing now? If you’ve buried your dreams, now’s as good a time as any to dig deep and bring them out.
They’re not stupid and they’re not childish. They can’t always be taken literally but in them lays the key to what drives you, to who you really are. Pure and untainted, before the world told you otherwise.
At some point in our lives, we stop worrying so much about what the world thinks and start to focus our thoughts inward as we explore the questions of Purpose and Identity.
This isn’t a change. This isn’t to be feared. Quite the opposite, this is a cause for celebration. This is the birthing of Courage.
For some of us, it happens sooner rather than later. But it will happen. And when it does happen, wouldn’t you like to have someone by your side who’s known you the longest, knows you the best and sees in you what you don’t see in yourself?
Someone who’s your biggest fan and cheerleader? Of course, you would! Which is why you need to be that person.
Don’t be afraid of your spouse’s awakening. Delight in it. Encourage it. Explore together.
You may even find yourself along the way.