Are YOU a Dreamer?

This morning I watched a news article about a young woman who had just set a world record for sailing across the English Channel. What was special about this Channel crossing? The sailor, Hilary Lister, is a quadriplegic who steered the boat by blowing through two straws. She completed her crossing in 6 hours.

In her own words, speaking to BBC Breakfast: "If you want to have your dream badly enough you can do it." According to the BBC, she took up sailing two years ago as a way to boost her self-confidence.

And what a way to boost your self-confidence!

How is it that there are some people who seem to have exceptional determination and who drive them selves to succeed against all the odds, and at the other extreme there are people who don't even think about the what if's?

It's all about attitude. If you believe that something is possible, you can almost always find a way to do it. If you believe that something is impossible, you'll almost always find a way NOT to do it.

As we grow up and experience set backs in life, we start to form beliefs about what we are 'allowed' to do and what we aren't. And these beliefs can stop us from dreaming, from doing the things that could make us happy, from taking a leap into the unknown.

For a number of years I held the belief that my husband and I would never travel the world. We had a mortgage, steady jobs and a comfortable life. And we told ourselves that we didn't really want to do it anyway - traveling was either for students or wealthy retirees. It was only when I bumped into an old school friend who simply said ,"just rent your place out and go" that I realised we'd both been finding reasons not to do it.

Once I'd made the shift in my mind that it might be possible, I soon discovered how easy it was to arrange! We decided to go away for a year and to make it a honeymoon. In February we set the date for a June wedding (we'd been engaged for 12 years!) and organised the wedding and reception in my spare time within 3 months. But, as the wedding magazines argue, THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE! You need at least a year to organize a wedding... don't you?

If you really want to do something, you can find a way to do it.

But the first step is opening your mind to the possibilities. What would make you really happy right now? What would give you a sense of achievement? To have a better relationship with your loved ones? To learn to dance? To have more responsibility at work? To go to a concert? To laugh?

Spend some time this weekend thinking about what would make you feel happy and alive. Dream, play and give your mind the chance to wander. Every time you hear yourself saying 'but' or 'I can't do that because..', ask yourself HOW you could do it. Those obstacles aren't so big and scary when you start to think about how you can overcome them.

And it's never too late. Colonel Sanders was 65 and living off social security checks. But his unwavering belief in his recipe for fried chicken drove him to start the franchise business that became the KFC we know today. Whether or not you like KFC, you've got admire his courage!

Hannah McNamara is the Managing Director of UK-based coaching company HRM Coaching Ltd. She can be contacted by calling +44 20 8544 8024 or e-mailing

With the sheer numbers of people operating as coaches, HRM Coaching offers an invaluable service matching clients with the coach who they are most likely to get along with.

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