You read and hear a lot about vision. Some people say you need to see it before you can achieve it. Indeed, visualization can be extremely helpful. Athletes and performers can attest to that. In fact, science backs mental reps being almost as good for you as real reps when it comes to certain activities.
A College Dream
When I was at Miami University I was president of the weightlifting club for three years. During those years I competed in powerlifting and for three years after school I competed in bodybuilding. I loved the gym; the comradery of training partners, the smell of chalk, head banging music, the clanging of weights and the screaming as someone attempted a PR (personal record).
My major at Miami was general business and I supplemented that with classes on physiology, kinesiology and entrepreneurship. I did this because I had a dream, to own a gym one day. Makes sense because, as noted above, I loved the gym.
The Dream Diverted
After school I got a job in insurance with The Travelers. I wouldn’t call it a career, at least back then, because my passion was still in the gym. I remember the underwriter in charge of our training asking me during my first year, “How’s the training going?” In my mind training was what I did in the gym so I started telling her about my workouts and diet. I was hyper focused at the time because I was getting ready for a bodybuilding contest. She had a blank look on her face and then replied, “I’m talking about work.” With a cavalier attitude I said, “Oh, that’s going well too.”
It was during my time at The Travelers that I met Jane. In fact, we met on our first day of work in the HR training room. We were married within a few years and a couple of years after that we bought our home and we both left The Travelers for different insurance companies. Somewhere along the line I lost track of my dream of owning a gym. I jokingly tell people I got a job, met a girl, bought a house and my dream went away.
The Dream Realized
A few years after buying our home I was no longer competing but still went to the gym. Jane suggested we get some weights for the house. “Some weights” turned into a gym in the basement that consists of barbells, dumbbells, a lat machine, squat rack, heavy duty bench, various accessories, a treadmill and a heavy bag among other things. There’s almost nothing I can’t do in my gym that I could do in a regular gym.
I use my gym every day. I start my morning with a run on the treadmill followed by stretching. I usually go back downstairs around 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon to lift weights for 45 minutes. I still love working out but the goals are vastly different now.
Many years ago, it finally hit me; I realized my dream that started way back in college. But, because it didn’t look like I had envisioned I’d missed it for a long time. There was no separate building, no paying members or other characteristics of regular gyms but on the bright side there’s no drive time, no dues, open 24 hours and everyone puts away their weights!
What I Learned
My story reminds me of the plot for many movies. You know, someone is looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, that perfect partner. As the movie progresses the lead character confides their dream to a cloase friend only to realize their ideal mate has been in front of them the whole time…it’s the friend they’ve been confiding in. Duh, how could they miss it?
When something doesn’t look like you expected it’s very easy to overlook the obvious. What’s your dream? I encourage you to take stock of what’s in your life; career, family, home, friends and other things. Maybe you’ll discover you’ve been living your dream, just not exactly as you dreamed it. For me it was a sweet revelation to realize I’d fulfilled my dream and I hope it will be for you as well.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet on the science of ethical influence.
Brian’s book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was name one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by Book Authority. His LinkedIn Learning courses on sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 100,000 people around the world.