Dream │ Aspire │ Do

I am admittedly not great (read: terrible) at keeping new year’s resolutions; however, last year I made myself a promise that 2017 would be the year I do things that scare me. The year that I push myself outside my comfort zone. The year that I begin to rise – rise by leaning hard into my goals, following my dreams, and being true to my authentic self. For an introvert, this is a pretty bold resolution!

Let me tell you, it was hard. But so worth it and so rewarding, and there’s no going back now.

When I asked myself how I will press for progress this year, it immediately felt daunting again. Who am I to make an impact, to make actual change happen? One thing I’ve learned from a friend and colleague over the last year is that taking small steps leads to big change. So this year I am pledging to press for progress and continue my resolution by dreaming big, aspiring for more, and doing what I can with what I have.

Dream Big

One of my daughter’s favorite books is Disney’s “Dream Big, Princess.” This book inspired me to do daily affirmations with both her and my son. We stand together in front of the mirror and they repeat after me:

“I am smart. I am kind. I am brave. I am confident. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am fierce.”

I started doing this because I wanted both of my kids to dream big and know that they are capable of anything, but what I’ve learned is that I needed this for myself as well. I’ve discovered that the things that I want for my children are things that I can still want and achieve for myself. And I think that by dreaming big for myself, I’m leading by example and showing them what’s possible.

Aspire for More

To aspire is to direct your hopes or ambitions toward achieving something. So to me, this is framing up the strategy for your goals and dreams. Make a plan to accomplish those things! I dream of being a marketing leader at Caterpillar someday, so I made the decision to go back to school for a Masters in Digital Marketing. I dream of taking my kids to experience different countries and cultures worldwide, so we make plans to save for vacations and make lists of the places we want to visit. We’ve all heard the study results that say that those who write down their goals accomplish significantly more than those who don’t. I am a list maker. There is such a great sense of accomplishment in checking things off. Not only that, but having that plan documented and in front of you every day helps you have something visually to aspire to.

Do What You Can

As a type A person and an introvert, this is the hardest step for me. I can dream big and write down my aspirations, no problem. I think sometimes we get in our own way by giving ourselves excuses about why we can’t or shouldn’t do something. It’s not good enough, it’s not ready, I’m not good enough, I’m not ready. My turning point last year was just shoving myself out into the open and forcing myself to DO. My former boss used to tell me to be the master of my own destiny – and that has kind of become my mantra. Take what you can control and do what you can with what you have. The important thing is that you dream, plan, and do. Progress requires action.

This morning when I woke my daughter up for daycare, I wished her a happy International Women’s Day and told her that today was a day that we celebrate fierce females and we dream big. I said, “Casey, are you a fierce female?” And my two year old looked at me and said, “Yep! I’m fierce like mommy!”

Keep dreaming big, princess.

Caitlin Maddock-Bahr

Social Media Manager