By Sunny Simon
Ever try changing your sister into a zebra? I came across a video on Facebook depicting a creative child, perhaps about four years old, who artfully inked zebra stripes on her little sister’s body. Why? Well, as she explained to her mother, she loves zebras. Her mother softly admonished her explaining that turning the little tyke into an animal was silly. Quite frankly, I don’t think our little artist was buying it.
There is a good deal of logic in the child’s thinking. If you love zebras, why not hang out with them? Makes sense to me. And by the way, the toddler turned zebra seemed to be enjoying her new persona.
In a child’s world, all things are possible if you use your imagination. I once visited my three year old niece on one of Michigan’s blustery cold days. Amid a beach blanket in the cozy living room sat Aisalynn wearing a bathing suit adorned with bright coral starfish. The little darling was busy building an imaginary sand castle. As I waved hello, she smiled and told me she felt like a day at the beach.
In my career coaching practice, I sometimes meet clients who have temporarily misplaced their imagination. Bored with their jobs these individuals cannot fathom making a career reinvention. When I bring up the possibility, I often encountered at least 27 reasons why they cannot make a move from a job that makes them dread Monday mornings and long for Friday evening happy hours.
Of all the 27 reasons, the most common refrain stems from fear and confusion. At first blush they have no idea what the reinvention would look like. What would they do? Well, if we fast-forward our zebra loving little friend by twenty years she will probably be working in a zoo as an animal trainer or veterinarian. Most of the time clients have to think backward and remember their cast aside childhood dreams. Perhaps a female engineer really wanted to be a gourmet chef but got sidetracked by parental pressure.
When you stay open to possibilities, it becomes clear that most things really are possible. Just fend off fear and anxiety. Add a dose of childlike imagination and the belief that if you work hard enough your cast aside dream can resurface.
So, how about it? Are you a zebra lover who can stand up to the challenge of someone telling you your idea is silly? If the answer is yes, move forward and follow your dream! I applaud you.
Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog, www.lifeonthesunnyside.net