I’m Diana Swillinger, and you’re listening to the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 65. What’s Your Dream?
DIANA: Hey. Hey, everybody. How’s it going? How you doing? Today is going to be fun because I do not have any notes. I am winging it. I don’t know. Sometimes I decide to talk about something just because I’ve been thinking about it, or a lot of times I’ve been coaching somebody on it recently. But this is just something I’ve been thinking about in my own life. Uh, just a little bit of reflection, I guess. Well, actually, this spring, I was going through a book with some friends, um, Bob Goff’s book, Dream Big.
We didn’t quite make it through our study of the book because we all had a bunch of personal things happening. So those of you listening, hi, friends. I miss you. We’ll get back together on Zoom someday soon. But anyway, it just had me thinking a lot about how I got into my job as a life coach, because I didn’t read that book back when I became a life coach. That book hadn’t been written yet, but I do recommend it. It’s a nice, fast, fun, and inspiring read. But back when I decided to become a life coach, I picked up at a resale shop a book called The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. In fact, I bought a copy of this book for a friend of mine who wanted to start a nonprofit, and now she started her nonprofit. So this book inspires this book helps us find our courage, be centered, turn towards God. So let me just tell you a little story about how I became a life coach. And then I earmarked pages, and I’m going to share some things in the book that were particularly meaningful to me and how they helped me on my journey.
So, several years ago, I had a not so graceful exit from a job. I loved the job, but there was a situation at work that, um, I also didn’t like. So I thought about leaving. I was interviewing, but I thought, no, I’m going to stay because I really like the community as a nonprofit group, and just so many good things. Well, without going into all the details, which aren’t really relevant, god took me right out of that job. And suddenly I was like, what am I going to do now? So I had several months where I was doing a mix of job hunting, finishing my college degree. I was a full time student, and as I got to the end of these, uh, several months, I’m thinking, what am I going to do now? I was a little hesitant to go back into a workplace and have another situation like the one I just came out of, because it was unhealthy. So a little gun shy on, um, going and having a boss somewhere. So I thought maybe I’ll go into business for myself. I could do that. I don’t know how to do it, but I’m a capable person. I could figure this out. At the same time, it was like, Godlined, all this stuff up.
At the same time, I had three people tell me that I would be a great life coach. I had never even thought of being a life coach. I actually kind of thought it was a joke job. Like, how do you make money doing that? This is just for people who want to feel nice and help other people feel nice, but you can’t really make money at it, and it’s just fluffy. It’s kind of what I thought. Well, actually, one of the people didn’t say life coach. The first person that said something to me, all of them unsolicited, was Dr. Rick Marks. He’s been on this podcast before. He is a well respected, highly educated psychologist, counselor, whatever. I don’t know all his titles. He has lots and lots of letters behind his name. And he said to me when my husband and I were having a, uh, tune up counseling session with him, he said, I think I should tell you something. And he said, well, no, maybe I shouldn’t. Uh, well, I said it already, so I guess I will. You have incredible insight and wisdom. Have you ever thought about becoming a counselor? And my instant reaction was like, no way. I am a very sensitive person, and if I listen to people’s problems hour after hour, I probably just it’d be so heavy on me because I’m empathetic and compassionate and I would just be upset all the time is what I thought. So I’m like, no, I don’t think so.
But I took that in, what he said. He said, you have insight and wisdom, and you would be an effective counselor. So maybe I wasn’t going to go be a, uh, psychologist or counselor in that way, but that insight was very valuable. And then I went to lunch with a friend of mine and her husband, and I actually work with him today. His name’s pat. Oh, he’s been on the podcast. Pat Quinn. Uh, he talked about parenting. I had just met Pat. I’d known his wife for many, many years. And we’re having lunch, and he said, have you ever thought about becoming a life coach? It’s. Like what? No. He’s like, well, would you want to talk with people about what’s going on? And, uh, I’m, uh, like, no, I don’t think so. And then I went for a massage. Now my massage therapist knows me well, because I talk for the first 15 to 30 minutes until I finally chill out and stop talking for the rest of it and relax. So we’ve become friends and we have a lot of great conversations. And I said, I think I might go into business for myself. And she said, you would make an incredible author and life coach. It’s Like what? Okay, so all of this is happening and I go to a resale shop and I find the book, The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson.
Okay, there’s even more details to the story. Um, somebody, my, ah, mentor at church said, I pray God will give you a verse to affirm this path you might take. Um, there’s another way where I kind of found my way into the verse and job, uh, interviewing that was happening. And a personality test. I took a personality test and it totally lined up with being in a profession like a life coach. And I’m like, what? So I’ve got the book. The dream giver. I recommend it. And if you like stories and allegories and visuals, I love that stuff. So this book drew me right in. The first half is an allegory about a person named Ordinary who decides to go after his big dream. And then the second half of the book, uh, there’s just some taking apart of the allegory and learnings from it. So if you hear me shuffling pages, I have the book right here. I marked my pages and so I just thought I’d share some stuff with you. So me deciding I, uh, would be a life coach was terrifying. Being a business owner and being responsible to create my own income and being responsible with what I say to people, which, by the way, as a life coach, I never tell anybody what to do. I explore things with them and I really help you with your thoughts and your emotions, but you’re the leader of what you do.
But still, I was like, people are trusting, going to trust me with details of their life. They’re going to be vulnerable, okay? And so it was very vulnerable for me because I’m like, I’ve got to support myself and my family and so there’s responsibility all around. So I was terrified and it was all new. So here’s one of the things, and I’m just going to go through the different pages. It says about, uh, the character Ordinary. If he’s going to go after his big dream, he’s going to need to leave his comfort zone. It says, it was hard to leave my comfort zone, but it would have been even harder to leave behind my dream. And I’m glad I didn’t. That was huge when I heard that because I thought, honestly, being a life coach is right up my alley. It totally fits where I have strengths and where I’m gifted and where people appreciate me. It would have been very hard to leave that behind. It was like God opened a path and showed me how everything could fall together. But it was out of my comfort zone. So I could either stay in my comfort zone, but that would have been hard as well because I would have had to leave my dream. So both ways are hard. Some of you have heard me say that before, right? If you stay where you are, you’re going to be uncomfortable. If you go on a new path, you’re going to be uncomfortable. But that I didn’t want to leave behind my dream. The other thing, well, I’ll just read this quote and then I’ll give my thoughts. This from the book. I still don’t feel worthy or able to do my dream, but the dream giver has promised to help me. Well, guess who that dream giver is, everybody. God is that dream giver.
When he knit us together, when he created every cell in every fiber of our being, he knit within their abilities, passions, capabilities, dreams, hopes, desires. He put that all in there on purpose and he promises to help. And I have found that to be so true. He has shown up to help over and over and over. So that was towards the beginning of the story. And that sounds kind of like the beginning of my journey too. So I decided I was going to become a life coach. And I started telling some people slowly, sheepishly sometimes, because I was afraid of what people would say. And I had somebody tell me it was a terrible idea, I should not do that. She said she wanted to protect me from how hard it was going to be and the disappointments and the frustrations and failure. So I definitely should not do it. I had somebody else tell me it wasn’t a real job, right? So in the book, as ordinary is on the path to go towards this big dream, bullies come along. So the book says bullies have concerns, but these concerns can help you clarify your plans. That’s how a dreamer turns opposition into opportunity. And so I did that. I thought there’s some valid concerns. I will have failure. It will be hard. I will have frustration.
My friend that wants to protect me, all of that stuff is real. Now what? It’s opportunity for me to grow. I wrote a note in the sideline next to that in my book. It says, use concerns of friends and family to clarify plans and create opportunity. Just because someone says something against your dream doesn’t mean don’t do it. It means, what truth are they offering? What obstacles are they alerting you to? I mean, I was also being alerted to other people that may oppose me along the way or think I’m not doing it right. And so fortifying me in my belief that I really wanted to do this. Opportunities from people who don’t agree. Interesting, right? All of this stuff helped me I referred back to this book over and over because going after something or taking a new path or moving out of your comfort zone in life, there’s going to be many, many times that you just want to turn around and run back to your comfort zone. But if you have tools and mantras and thoughts in place that keep you feeling courageous, it makes all the difference. Okay, then you’re not going on this journey towards your big dream alone. You’re not. I wrote, uh oh. Actually, this is a quote from the book. It says, I am surrendering my dream to the dream giver. I’ve decided that it’s you that I can’t go on without. Wow. Suddenly, all the pressure was off me. Like, if I had this idea of my dream and I was holding it in my hand in front of me, and I clutched it like, this is my dream. I’m holding tight, and I’m going to follow this path towards my dream. I hold it tight. Now it’s all about achieving that, uh, dream. But I didn’t want that. I didn’t want it to be all about my dream. I didn’t want it to be all about me. I want to serve God.
So I’m going to say it again. I’m surrendering my dream to you, dream giver to you, God. I’ve decided that it’s you that I can’t go on without. At that point, I was moving forward out of my comfort zone towards my dream because I was following where God was taking me. He gave me so many. I just told you, like, three people told me to do this. There was so many more signs. It was so obvious. If I wasn’t going to do this, I was going to be saying no to God. And I wanted to honor and follow God. I say yes to him. All right, let’s see what else we got here. Oh, here another quote from the book. If the dream giver is for me, this is what ordinary shouted. If the dream giver is for me, ordinary shouted, what giant can stand against me? Because, again, this is a story. So imagine turning someone following their dream into an allegory story. Well, they face bullies, they face giants, but we don’t need to be afraid of the giants when God is for us. So here’s kind of what I turned this into for me. I knew I was going to have fear. If I see a giant, if I see an obstacle, I might be afraid, but that’s okay because the giant’s not going to win. I can continue, and I can defeat that obstacle. I can pass that obstacle and figure out that obstacle and can defeat that giant because God is on my side. So I had fear. You guys have heard me say this before, but I had courage, too.
Courage is what you have when you have fear, but you move forward anyway. I’m like, I’m going to be afraid. It’s going to be hard. There’s going to be bullies. There’s going to be giants. It’s going to be obstacles. But I will take courage because God’s on my side, and I want to be with Him, and I want to follow the passions that he’s put in my heart. Oh, here’s another quote that kind of fits that well, unbelief is dangerous. So far, I have chosen to believe, but it feels risky every time. And I would just add to that, and that’s okay. That’s okay. We can go forward anyway. All right, flipping forward, what do we have next? Okay. This is truths that can set a dreamer free. There’s four things. This is after the Allegory, and now we’re into Bruce Wilkinson teaching about following your dream and referencing the Allegory. So here’s four truths that can set a dreamer free. Number one, you do have a dream. It’s part of what it means to be human, created in the image of God. Okay, we all have a dream. You have a dream. Now, there’s more in here about finding that dream. And for sure, if you want to find your dream, you can get somebody to help you do that. You can get this book. There’s questions in there. I can help you.
Maybe I’ll do another podcast about questions to ask yourself to find your dream. I think I also did one. Um, I don’t remember what it’s called, but about finding your passion. I do have a podcast that helps with that. So we’re not going to do that. But the point is, I mean, we’re not going to do it today in this podcast. The point is, you have a dream. You have a passion. You have skills. You have capabilities. Okay, number two, truth that can set a dreamer free. You don’t have to invent your dream like the color of your eyes or your one of a kind smile. Your big dream was planted in you before you were born. I kind of already talked about that one. All right, number three, your dream is unique and important. You have been handcrafted by God to accomplish a part of his big dream for the world. Your big dream is meant to fulfill a need that he cares deeply about. And number four, your dream is yours to act upon. God is waiting for you to value his gift of your dream enough to live it, but he’s not going to force you to choose. He’s not going to make it happen for you. You must choose. You must act. And it’s never too late. I guess this is a fifth one, but it was kind of below it’s never too late to act upon your dream. I was in my mid 40s when I decided to become a life coach and finish my college degree. So never too late.
I know somebody who got a degree and started a new profession in her 60s, loves it. Never too late. This is interesting to know, because if these dreams have been in us all our life, if God made these in us, and if you take inventory of your passions and stuff, you’ll discover this. But it might look different. Like when I was in high school. Well, yeah, still when I was in high school. But even and younger, I wanted to be a Christian recording artist. I was going to be like Amy Grant. I also thought if I didn’t do that, maybe I could be a teacher. And then in, uh, my 20s, when I was a worship leader, I had an additional passion to be a speaker. Now, if you put all that stuff together, being a life coach doesn’t sound like any of that. But wanting to be a worship leader and recording artist was because I wanted to bring people to the feet of Jesus. I wanted to point to the Christian faith. I wanted to point to the hope, peace, and joy that our God gives. I wanted to bring people into his presence. I do that as a life coach, as a teacher.
I wanted to be an English teacher. I wanted to teach people things that they didn’t know, concepts. And, uh, in English, you know, you teach how to use the English language. That’s the logical, practical stuff. And you also get to teach about literature, uh, and stories and understanding the human experience through that. I do that as a life coach. And then I have that burden on me to be a speaker, get up on stage and encourage and lead and help give people, uh, insight or nuggets that they need for a better life. I do that. All of it. It totally looks different. Never heard of a life coach back then, and it all came together, so it can look totally different. Oh, I didn’t even read the quote yet. Here it is. Your dream may not look quite the same as it did years ago, but the essence of the dream, the tug of longing you feel to do what God made you to do, is still there. M still there. This is the last one. Let’s see what it says. Oh, he’s referring back to the character ordinary. It says ordinary face to choice. He could either feel comfort but give up his dream, or feel fear and pursue it. You might think that if only you were braver or stronger, you wouldn’t have to struggle so much with that choice. But every dreamer does, no matter how talented or brave. That is the truth. That is completely the truth. And I work with lots of entrepreneurs.
I’m a life coach for women, but I also coach entrepreneurs in their businesses, and I’m a speaking coach and stuff like that. So any given year, I talk to hundreds of entrepreneurs. And this is so true. Every single one of them questions themselves and has doubt and has some fear and has some hesitation, every single one. No one jumps into this and they’re fully confident, like, I got this. Everyone feels some fear and discomfort, and that is okay. Fear is okay. Doubt is okay. They don’t have to stop us. I still feel doubt. I still feel doubt with my business. I don’t feel doubt so much when I coach people, but I feel doubt about getting more clients, um, figuring out how my business might grow. When do I start my membership? Is my timing right? Am I doing marketing. Right. Is my podcast okay? Am I a good enough podcaster? Did I speak well enough there? It just doubt creeps in all the time, and it’s fine. It never bothers me. I’m just like, oh. This is the part where I doubt myself. This is the part where I feel some fear, and then I also get some courage and do it anyway. This is the part where I just keep going. This is the part where I stay linked into God and let him lead me. This is the part where I feel everything. This is the part where I’m excited and terrified at the same time. It’s all of it, you guys. All of it.
So I don’t know where you’re at with your stuff, but I don’t know that it really matters. I mean, we all have things we want to try in life or move forward in, or we’ve been, uh, procrastinating or thinking we shouldn’t do. I don’t know what it is for you, um, but I just want to remind you it’s okay if you have fear and doubt and whatever else, you can do it anyway. God’s on your side, and you can get other people that are on your side, too. I’m on your side. I’m here to support you and encourage you and get some friends on your side who believe in you. Do what you need to do and be you. Be you. Be who God made you to be and honor what he put inside you. All right, I hope that was fun. I really enjoyed, um, going back through this book, and it’s given me a little inspiration. I have ups and downs all the time. I’m just that human. Sometimes I feel great and I can do anything, and other times, I, uh, just back off and feel a little timid. So this was a great little shot in the arm for me, and I hope it was for you as well. So that’s all I have for this week, you guys. I’ll talk to you next week. Until then, take care of you.
As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. Um, I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.