I had a dream the other night. In my dream, I was in a busy atmosphere, in a creative location. I don’t know what place it was, but I remember feeling confident, and guiding others in a group project. I had a clear sense of what I needed to do.
At one point in the dream, my task led me to a winding staircase. I began climbing the stairs, without thinking twice—I just knew it was what I was supposed to do. Still feeling that sense of quiet confidence, I continued upward, higher and higher.
The higher I went, the narrower the stairwell became; until suddenly, I rounded a curve and found myself facing a wall. To my horror, the wall began closing in on me. In my dream, I realized that this was due to the machinations of the place—like the gears in a clock tower, the area was supposed to move and change. But now it was going to crush me, and because I was up so high and the stairwell was so narrow, I couldn’t move to escape! Panicked thoughts raced through my brain. I had felt so sure I was on the right path—was I wrong? Had I made a mistake? Would it be the end of me?
Just when I was certain it was all over for me, the wall stopped moving. It took me a moment to realize that I was safe. When I looked at the wall, I realized that it wasn’t as close as I had thought it was. Yes, I was in a tight spot—I could barely move. But something told me the wall was supposed to move, and it wasn’t going to crush me.
I awoke and went about my day. The image of the tight staircase and moving wall was so vivid that it clung to my thoughts, and bothered me. But soon the image clicked, and I realized something.
The Face of Success
There are times when we know what we are doing, feel confident in our abilities, and are certain we’re on the right path. Things go smoothly—for a time. Then suddenly we find ourselves higher than we’ve ever dared to go before, in a place that moves and changes unexpectedly. And the walls begin to close in on us.
The name of the place, I think, is Success.
Fear of failure is a well-known obstacle… but fear of success is equally debilitating. We can spend a great deal of time climbing toward success, preparing for it, dreaming of what it will be like; but when the reality actually arrives, it overwhelms us. We feel as if we have reached a stopping place where the world is closing in, and there is no way either to escape or keep moving upward.
At this point, we need to take a good look at where we are, and recognize the place for what it really is. It’s bigger and stranger than we had ever imagined it could be…and it demands more of our talents, strengths, and abilities than we feel we possess.
But that’s not a reason to give up.
Staring at the massive wall of Success, realizing it will not destroy us, we have two choices: Continue forward, or slide back down the way we came. After working so long and hard to get where we are, is giving up even an option?
Face the fearsomeness of Success, and realize that it will challenge you. But you can conquer it and move forward.
Don’t ask me. I’m still at the top of the stairs facing a wall. But I know it’s not going to crush me…and I’ve started to look around to see what I can do next.
Because I’m not backing down.
Dreams are sweetest when they come true.