February 11, 2013

Here’s to the Crazy Ones

This past week Justin & I traveled to The Netherlands to speak at the first ever Dutch Wedding Congress, where we got to meet some incredible people and were blown away by the hospitality we were shown there (more on our trip to come). While we were there over for those 9 days, we really got the chance to sit & get to know some of the Dutch attendees who introduced us to a saying that is common to the culture there. It goes a little something like this: “Just be normal & then you’re crazy enough.”

In other words, just reaching a small or average amount of success in this life is already pretty crazy to think about…so who are we to think about the really BIG dreams? Or in other other words, just be happy where you are… because who are you to ask for more?

Having just given a talk that was all about not settling, dreaming BIGGER dreams & actually doing something about them, not giving in to Fear, and even showing the Apple commercial “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”….this idea rocked me. The idea that playing small could be so expected in a place that it could be put into slogan form, was something I just couldn’t wrap my head around.

But then I started thinking.

Even if we don’t have an official slogan for it, isn’t this sort of “who am I to chase a dream” (or something we see even more commonly in the wedding photography industry, the “who are YOU to chase a dream”) kind of thinking, something that’s really more of a human problem than a Dutch problem? Isn’t it something that we all struggle with from time to time? This idea that maybe we aren’t really worthy of the dreams that have been put in our hearts. That there is a certain level that we are capable of reaching and nothing higher. That this is the way it always has been and therefore the way it always will be in our lives.

Even if we don’t have an official slogan for it, don’t we all know what it is to be tempted to give in to the pressure to play small?

But something that we talked about both in our talk & one on one with attendees, to counteract this pressure to play small is to not make it about you. That when that temptation comes to stand on the sidelines or stay in the shadows and watch someone else chase your dreams, instead ask yourself one of the following two questions:

1. Who sacrificed for you? Who gave up something in their own lives so that you could one day have more? And when you settle, when you play small, what does that do to honor that sacrifice? And…

2. Who are you setting an example for? Who is looking to you to pave the way and show by your actions what they are capable of doing in their own lives? (I’m talking to you moms & dads out there!)

Because when we think about it that, we see that chasing these dreams is not really an option but an obligation. Not something that we owe ourselves, but something that we owe the world.

The greatest thing about these conversations we had while we were over in Holland, was that they were not with people who are in fact buying into the party line to play small but instead the people who are challenging the status quo. People who are daring to dream bigger dreams and then going out and actually doing something about them. Because they’re not fond of rules, and they’re not much for being told what they can or cannot do. So to each and every one of the incredible hearts we met over this past week, what I say to you is this….

Stay crazy. Because you push this industry (and this world) forward.

Here’s to the crazy ones!

Go get it,

So tell me because I want to know: Who sacrificed for you to make this life of yours possible? Who are YOU setting an example for? List them out & then make a promise to yourself to honor that obligation. And…GO!

  1. Abby Grace

    I remember you talking about this at both The Big Next and What’s Next, and yet I still need the reminder! Love this, and love your heart, Mary.

  2. Leentje

    Hi Mary! Leentje from the WTAW workshop in Holland here!
    I have to admit: you are such a good writer. From now on, since I got to know you last week, I think I’m gonna be one of your followtheblogaddicts!

    I find myself so much in what you’ve just written here!

    Lots of love,
    Leentje (loves light)

  3. Melissa Rieke

    Thank you for this blog post. I was in your KC WHAT’S NEXT TOUR…and I am reaching out farther than I ever have…and putting my self out there like I never have before. What if I fail…I will be where I am now…but what if I don’t! Thanks for your words.

  4. Katie Jane

    The timing of this post is incredible, because I just got back from What If Conference, and this was one of the themes of my week. I truly want to always be one of those crazy ones.

  5. Rachel McCloud

    Wonderful blog post :) My Savior, my parents and my husband have definitely made this life possible :)

  6. Liesbeth

    Hi Mary (waves hand)! I already miss you since last week’s workshop! I love how that silly dutch saying got you thinking – and you are so right! Here’s to BIG dreams! {{{BIG HUG}}} Liesbeth

  7. Stephanie Stewart

    Ah, another one of my favorite parts of your talk at What’s Next! My hubby and my parents have sacrificed for me, so that I can chase this dream of mine, and I will be eternally grateful for this amazing opportunity. I want to make them proud, to show them that their sacrifice was not in vain, to prove to myself that I can do whatever I set my mind and heart to do. And being a new mom, I want to show my baby boy that his mom chases dreams, that loved ones believe in her, and that he will one day be able to do the same thing. I used to work a "regular" 8-5 job, I despised it, it made me miserable, and I knew I could do something more with my life. Long story short, God closed one door and opened a window…a big, beautiful window.

  8. Sandra Fazzino

    Firstly, I can’t believe how much traveling you guys are doing! Secondly, this hit home. For a couple reasons. One, my hometown has the same mentality as the Netherlands. I’m a strange one, because I moved 3,000 miles away to chase adventure. On the other hand, the truth is whenever I hear about "chase your dreams," "dare to dream," or when I spend time with my type A overachieving circle of friends or read a J&M post about "what’s next" – I will admit – I think to myself – what’s next for me is a nice cup of hot tea. I don’t care what’s in my bank account. I don’t care who I know or if you’re wearing Channel. For me, I work and strive to keep my life simple, because I do wonder what is so wrong with "being" being enough, and because for me peace and serenity have been a major goal that I have accomplished through a lot of hard work and commitment. At the same time, I have this nagging tug at my heart strings pulling me to reach my fullest potential. And then once I establish that notion, the other truth is that mediocre is never good enough. So, by the time my train of thought reaches this point, I stumble into the abyss of striving to reach my "big" goals. "Big" enough for me, anyway. And I do it, because of the sacrifices my grandparents made for my family – for my sicilian grandfather who survived being POW and MIA for over seven years who came home to his wife who raised their only daughter and worked on the farm not knowing if he was dead or alive whose only daughter died six months after his return – for their separate voyages to America to build a better life – for every penny that they saved as laborers in the states – for the one outfit they bought my father for school – for all the money they saved and gave to their children and grandchildren to allow them to have a good education. And the same for my mother’s parents who grew up in large families living on farms (grandfather with 11 siblings, and a grandmother with 13) who were both raised poor and worked their way up to upper middle class. And I do it for my brother whom I am raising. I’m 27 years his senior. He just moved in with us this summer, and it’s really remarkable when I stop and think that I have an opportunity to set an example for him…. that I have been setting an example for him already. Ironically, it’s a tight rope walking the balance of sacrificing for another and chasing one’s dream. It’s a juggling act… and I hope I keep these balls circling in the air. I really really hope I can keep pushing forward and serve people with a gift I feel called to embrace, called to perfect and pursue. I always think of the line from A Bronx Tale, one of my all time favorite movies (because it reminds me so much of my dad) when Lorenzo, the father, says to Calogero, his son – "the saddest thing in life is wasted talent." That sits with me always. I don’t want to leave this life with wasted talent. xx

  9. angel

    Love it. Thank you.
    And… my parents of course. Daughter of a car salesman and a waitress who always gave us everything – really I feel like I was spoiled if that makes any sense. And my kids… I’m always reminded the importance of them witnessing hard work tempered with the boundaries to stop and spend time where it counts most. I hope as parents, both entrepreneurs, we can give them vision and courage to chase their dreams one day also. Whether our success is big or small.

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