At the end of every class at my dance studio, I have the kids yell as loudly as they can, “Dream Big! Work Hard!” I don’t remember when that started. Or how. Or why those words were chosen. I suppose it wasn’t started to purposely become a tradition, and I’m pretty sure the words didn’t hold any groundbreaking significance at the time. But as I reflected on the sentiment, it was clear that those four words are central to who I am - my motto, if you will.
Do you have a motto?
To be clear, a motto says something about or encompasses what you believe. There are so many great mottos that already exist in the world; a quick Google search will tell you that. For example, in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “Faith…is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” Maya Angelou posted in 2015, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style.” You know who teaches a lot of mottos? Disney. Two examples come immediately to mind. The first is The Lion King.
Timon and Pumba teach Simba all about Hakuna Matata. Say it (or sing it) with me…It means no worries for the rest of your dayyyyyyyys. (You know you sang it. Don’t lie.). And what about Lilo and Stitch? Ohana means family — nobody gets left behind or forgotten. I really hope you took a moment to pause when these animated geniuses dropped these truth bombs on you as a kid.
Side note, guys - We are only in my first post, and I’m already talking about Disney. Do not be surprised. It’s gonna keep happening. So much good stuff from Mr. Walt Disney and company.
We’ve all seen the sweet signs in the shops with a quip or phrase, in all sizes, styles, and colors. There is certainly no shortage of them, and there seems to be a line of them for every type of person in the world. In Edgewood, we’ve got Edgy Meg’s and The Markket to keep us stocked. We fall in love with these things and hang them all over our homes and offices because they make us feel seen. Someone else needed to have the exact same thought as you in order to write that down. Someone believes what you believe. You are not alone. And that makes us feel GOOD, guys! Back to the Lion King - it’s in the song “Hakuna Matata” that Simba becomes PART of Timon and Pumba’s tribe, because now they share a world-view, a motto. Now, they’re family. It’s a big deal, y’all.
It is so important to have a personal motto. I want you to have one, okay?
You need to know what matters to you and what you believe in. You can source it from a lot of different places, but it has to be real and honest. My parents modeled those halves of Dream Big and Work Hard my entire life. My mom encouraged me to dream big.
I never seemed to have an idea that she thought was too crazy - and if she did, she let me keep right on with it anyway. When I was little and told her I wanted to be a dance teacher, that was just the most normal thing she had ever heard, and there was no reason that it couldn’t happen. So, the dream continued. (I’ll go deeper on this story in a future blog post. Stay tuned.) My dad, on the other hand, has always been a little scared of my dreams, I think.
Let me be honest - I get it. We live in a town of 800 people, and when your daughter tells you she wants to be a starving artist, I think you’re right to be a little concerned. But what my dad modeled to me was the most intense work ethic I’ve ever seen. He ran a successful business for 25 years, did the books for that business every night for each of those years, renovated and maintained a stunning home and yard himself (with the help of my mom), and did the dishes every night because it made his hands feel better after a hard day.
Okay, you’ve gotta give me a minute. My eyes are leaking as I type this. I have really awesome parents. You’ll hear LOTS more about them, guaranteed.
....Okay, I’m back.
So, to recap: My mom taught me that the sky’s the limit, and my dad showed me that if you are willing to put in the work, you can make anything happen.
Dream Big. Work Hard. It just fits.
That might not click with you. You might not think that’s true for your life. That’s okay. That just means this motto’s not for you. (Although, I’d argue that this works for anybody’s life, but I don’t want to start a fight on our first date.). What is for you, though, is that you FIND. YOUR. MOTTO. Because it matters. It can become the measuring stick by which you calculate your actions. If I get an idea, but the scope of work it’s going to take to make it happen isn’t in my wheel-house or something I’m willing to learn about or really pursue, then I know that dream isn’t something that’s going to take off…because both sides of the coin are required. To flip that, if I’m spinning my wheels on a new project, but it’s just not clicking, or my work just doesn’t seem to be paying off, maybe I haven’t fleshed out that dream enough. Maybe my dream isn’t big enough yet. Maybe I don’t want it bad enough. But that phrase gives me enough to measure it by.
A motto can certainly change as your life changes. For crying out loud, Stitch was created to destroy everything in his path and SPOILER ALERT ended the movie by finding a family. Something you REALLY believe when you’re 17 (YOLO) may seem ridiculous when you’re 42. Or maybe you’re steady and feel just as strongly about Keep Calm and Carry On today as you did twenty years ago. It’s fine. But be clear, real, and honest, no matter where you land.
What’s your motto? Please share it with me! I’d love to know what inspires you.
My name is Miranda and I'm a mom, spouse, dance teacher, and entrepreneur. I’m going to share my life with you. The good, the bad, the weird. I hope to inspire you, encourage you, make you laugh. I’ll be honest. And I can’t wait to learn more about you through it all.