When I watch young athletes compete, I imagine they dreamed of that moment their whole lives. Most likely, they have been working towards competition for as long as they can remember. I know a very strong competitive athlete. I once asked her "Can you remember when you got into your sport? Do you remember why you chose this sport?" She couldn't remember choosing. Playing had been part of her life for so long...it was always there. Whether she chose or it was chosen for her didn't seem to matter...she obviously took to it, fell in love, and dreamed big.
Did I ever dream of playing a sport? I can't remember.
When I notice someone passionate about their job, I often ask how they chose their field. Most (passionate) people (I've met) knew what they wanted to do since they were young kids. (Side note...anecdotally...this seems to be especially true for very technical fields...which I guess makes sense because the schooling required is overwhelming...it's hard for adults to transition into those fields as a 2nd career later on.)
What did I want to be when I was a kid? I honestly can't remember.
I like to ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up. Their answers offer an interesting perspective on the world. And they usually have great ideas. Maybe one will strike me with some sort of "aha" moment and I'll remember...
I'm inspired by people that follow their dreams. But I'm also a teeny tiny bit jealous. I can't remember my dreams...maybe I never had them?! Maybe I was too practical. Maybe I was too scared to dream. Maybe my imagination wasn't quite so active? Maybe there were just too many possibilities in the world for me to choose one. Or two or three. ("too many choices" is my nemesis. It's overwhelming and exhausting.)
My kiddo self did think about the future. I knew I would be independent. (Independence equals freedom.) I just never defined how I would become independent.
I'm inspired by people that are great at what they do. After I appreciate the showcase of talent, I think "I wish I were that great at something." I silently acknowledge all the hard work it takes to become great...and then I think "I'm not sure I'm interested enough in any one thing to work as long and hard as it would take to become great."
But then I remember people like J.K. Rowling, Julia Child, Vera Wang, Sylvester Stallone, and Colonel Sanders...people who became successful later in life. Time and opportunity exists. I just have to start dreaming.