After visiting with a friend, I’ll frequently ask, “What are your action items?” Most friends are quite lovely, and humor me, actually taking on an assignment. We both usually tend to be the happier for it.
I no doubt give assignments, partly because I am an oldest, and therefore alpha, child. But one day, when I'd given yet another assignment, I had an epiphany: in doling out action items, I was helping my friends to dream. Let me explain:
Once, after several grueling weeks, one of my dear friends challenged me to write down,anything good that happened during the day — at that moment. Good idea! And, I don't want to do it. At the root of my reluctance was fear. If I write down everything good that has happened, I thought, something bad will happen. Umm — correction: I’ll feel like I’m being bad. Enumerating the good would implicate me as a stakeholder in my life, and feminine girls, don’t take, we give…
However, by giving me an assignment, my friend had tapped into my impulse to be dutiful or diligent, which, in effect, gave me permission to write good things down because I was doing it for her, not me.
It's a bit of hack — surround yourself with people who oblige you to do what you dream of doing — but it works.
Does this ring true for you?
Have there been dreams you wanted to pursue, but didn't until you promised someone you would?