“You have to stop long enough to hear the whisper you might have drowned out, that small voice compelling you toward the kind of work you’d be willing to do even if you weren’t paid. Once you tune out the noise of your life and hear that call, you face the biggest challenge of all: to find the courage to seek out your big dream, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks.”—Oprah
Yesterday, I wrote about following your dreams. So naturally, stories about tagging along with your dreams began flooding in.
My favorite is from Sting who said in a TED talk that when he was given an old, out-of-tune guitar with rusty strings, he felt as if he’d been given a friend for life, an accomplice to help him get out of Wallsend, England, where he grew up.
He was eight at the time and he’d already decided that he didn’t want to build ships like the thousands of men who walked by his house on their way to the shipyard every morning. It was a hard life, he noticed, noisy, dangerous, with toxic work conditions.
Although his dad was a milkman, his grandfather had been a shipwright and, as a child, he wondered with anxiety whether that was to be his destiny. There weren’t many other jobs in this little town on the northeast coast of England.
“But once I was bequeathed that battered old guitar, I quickly realized I’d found a co-conspirator to help me escape from this industrial landscape,” he said.
“My dream was to leave this town just like those ships that never came back once they were launched. I wanted to be a writer of songs, to sing those songs to vast numbers of people all over the world and to be paid extravagant amounts of money.”
The dream started one day when the Queen Mother came to his town to break a bottle of champagne on the bow of one of the ships. His mother forced him and his brother and sisters to dress up in their Sunday finest as the motorcade passed in front of their tiny home in the shadow of the shipyard.
“It wasn’t that long ago that the Royal Family were thought to have magical powers. People held up their sick children, hoping to touch the hem of the king, hoping for a cure,” Sting said. “It wasn’t like that in my day, but it was still really exciting when Queen Ann or one of the Royals came to give a speech.
‘I was standing there waving my little Union Jack and there in a big, black Rolls Royce was the Queen Mother. She seemed to acknowledge me. She looked me in the eye. I smiled. She smiled. We had a moment.
“I wasn’t cured of anything. It was the opposite actually. I was infected with an idea. I realized I didn’t belong in the street. I didn’t want to work in the shipyard. I wanted to be in that car. I wanted a bigger life. A life out of the ordinary.”
And that’s how it begins. When we take the time to listen.
Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the soon-to-be-released sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.