I was a first-grade teacher for a dozen years, and I loved asking my students what they dreamed of being or doing when they grew up. I delighted in their answers, and I was especially thrilled by their hopeful abandon in reaching for the stars.
In first grade, they believed they could be and do anything they could imagine. They also changed their minds about every ten minutes.
I remember one of my first graders, Trent, would often change his mind several times throughout a single day. In the morning, he might want to be a college football coach like his dad, but by lunchtime, he’d want to be a cowboy, just like the one in the book we read aloud.
By the time he was leaving for the day, he would have his heart set on being a fireman, a farmer, or a teacher. Trent knew how to dream big, and he truly believed he could be any of those things.
One day he announced he planned to be all of the things. “I’ll be a coach because I’m good at football. But if too many people get sick, I could be a doctor to help out. And then I could be a teacher like Mrs. Shelton because I like to read books to little kids.” It sounded like a perfect plan to a six-year-old.
I kind of feel like I’m living Trent’s dream life right now as a freelance writer. The past two weeks have been richly diverse in terms of how I’ve spent my time. About as diverse as if Trent worked as a coach in the morning and a doctor in the afternoon.
Last week was all about grants and grant writing. I wrote a grant early in the week. It wasn’t a huge one, but one that, if awarded, will make an impact in my community.
And I spent three days attending the annual Grant Professionals Association conference, learning so much about grant writing, grant management, the Grant Professionals Code of Ethics, and all things related to working in the grants field.
It was so inspiring and left me feeling fired up and motivated to try to fund the world!
This week has been all about ghostwriting articles and blog posts. It’s common for businesses, particularly retailers, to hire ghostwriters to write articles and blog posts under their banner. They have these published and posted in various places to draw attention and drive business to their brand. I’ve learned more about search engine optimization and keywords in the past few months than I could have ever imagined.
Because of the wide variety of clients and topics, it’s kind of like I’m skipping around, footloose and fancy free, through Trent’s dream life. With such a vast assortment of work assignments supporting a diverse and eclectic group of clients, I have become aware of how this footloose and fancy freelance life of mine allows me to dream big, to reach for the stars with hopeful abandon. To do and be all the things.
As a grant writer, I really can change the world. As a freelance ghostwriter, I can dabble in different industries, experiment with varying writing styles, write in contrasting voices, and craft unique articles and blogs based on each specific client’s needs. It’s almost like being a football coach in the morning and a doctor in the afternoon.
Let me ask you what I often asked my first graders. “What do you want to do? What do you want to be?” If you haven’t mulled this over for a while, now might be a good time to consider it.
Did you know that you can dream big no matter your circumstances or age bracket? You can reach for the stars with hopeful abandon. You can do and be more.
I’m not proposing something radical like walking away from a good job or signing up for medical school if the sight of blood makes you queasy. I’m merely encouraging you to evaluate where you are and ask yourself if you would like to be or do more. Small changes, like learning and doing something new, might be an excellent place to start.
Give of yourself. Volunteer doing something you enjoy, get plugged in with a new organization or group, try an activity you’ve been curious about but never attempted. Be like Trent.
Don’t get stuck in the mindset that you can only be or do one thing. Life is short. Make it as rich and meaningful as it can be by dreaming, learning, growing, and trying new things. Mix it up. Add variety to your weekly activities.
Add a little footloose and fancy-free to your week and see what happens.