Friday, June 15, 2007

The Perfect Gift

Here's a column I wrote in January 2006 for the National Association of Baby Boomer Women:
The Perfect Gift

Have you ever sabotaged a dream?

Most of us at some point have dismissed a great idea without taking a single step toward pursuing it. We might glance back from time to time, but we convince ourselves that the concept is neither realistic nor achievable.

Let me give you an example:

Like many young mothers in the mid-1970’s, my friend Carol made her own baby food from natural ingredients. She puréed batches of fresh fruits and vegetables and froze them in ice cube trays to thaw at some later point.

One day a light bulb went off in her head. She said to herself, Why don’t I mass market these?

The prospect invigorated her, but she had no capital and knew nothing about running a business. So along with the banana peels and avocado pits, Carol discarded the thought.

That said, for the past thirty years she’s speculated about what would have happened had she acted on her inspiration.

Last week Carol went into a natural grocery store to pick up some ice cream. There in the freezer were frozen baby food cubes!

Thankfully, Carol has no regrets. “If I'd become a successful entrepreneur at age 30,” she says, “I might never have gone back to school and become a teacher. I enjoy my work. Still, in hindsight, I have to say that my frozen baby food idea was worth exploring--not only because it satisfied a need the marketplace hadn’t yet addressed, but because I’m organized, have a good head for figures, and love natural foods. I might even have been able to attract investors.”

The moral of the story?

There are neither enough hours in the day nor years in a life to pursue every great idea. But dreams are not the same as whims. They are magical, wondrous gifts that are often ideally suited to our unique personalities and tailor-made to develop our talents.

So before dismissing a dream out of hand, why not honor the gift by opening it up and trying it on for size? It might turn out to be exactly what you’ve always wanted.

Note: The picture at the top of this posting comes directly from the website. I'd love to give a photo credit, but don't know who took the image.

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