This is a guest post from Genevieve V. Georget of gengeorget.com
“You’re dreams aren’t big enough.”
Those were the words.
Those were the words that came at me from across the couch and shattered my heart.
I was in another country at the time. In another time zone. In what felt like another Universe. I had stepped outside the comfort zone of my quaint little neighborhood in suburban Ottawa and bought a last minute ticket to attend a creativity conference 4,500 kilometers away. Upon landing, I somehow found myself sitting in a room full of people who were building orphanages in Africa and saving homeless women from inner-city streets. People who were creating clothing lines and human rights policies. People who were dream chasers and game changers.
People who were brilliant and driven. People who were changing the world.
And then there was me.
I was sitting in the midst of a very vulnerable time in my life. I had just had two children in less than two years and motherhood was tugging at my deepest insecurities. While trying to be a good parent, wife, and friend…I was also just beginning to understand where the world left off and I finally began. On top of this, I was trying to build a photography business from my dining room table with a kit lens and a bare-bones website.
I wasn’t helping the needy. I wasn’t rescuing the lost. I wasn’t changing the world.
I was just trying to build something. To create something. To learn something.
Through my family. Through my work. Through art.
And that had always been enough for me.
Enough to light my soul with fire. Enough to fill my heart with inspiration. Enough to stir my spirit with purpose.
Until twenty-four hours later, I found myself sitting on a couch in the middle of a hotel courtyard. Completely surrounded by people again.
People ordering drinks from the bar. People sharing stories from their home town. People making plans.
And yet again, there was me.
WHAT IF MY DREAMS AREN’T BIG ENOUGH?
I felt lost. I felt discouraged. I felt very much in the wrong place.
As an anxiety started to tighten in my chest, one of the organizers sat down next to me and gently asked, “so, how are you finding the conference so far?”
To be completely honest, I wasn’t really sure how to respond.
“Ummm, well…” I cautiously responded “I don’t really feel like there’s room for me here. My calling just feels so…different. My dreams just feel so much closer to home.”
“The problem” she replied “is that your dreams just aren’t big enough. You don’t want enough greatness for yourself. You should stop being so small.”
And with that, she simply stood up and walked away.
I let her words wash over me and then I slowly felt them enter through my pores.
I hardly said a word for the remainder of the conference and two days later, I went home. Devastated.
And I stayed devastated for nearly a year. Broken. Confused. Shattered by the impact of her words.
In her defense, it wasn’t her job to become my defining moment moving forward. It wasn’t her job to set my course or to move my mountains. It wasn’t her job to make me or break me.
But the thing about our inner voice – especially in seasons of great vulnerability…in seasons of great transition – is that it tends to ask a very specific question in response to uncertainty…
“What if they’re right?”
And that’s what happened to me in that moment and for the year that followed.
All I could ask was “What if my dreams AREN’T big enough? What if I DON’T want enough greatness for myself? What if I AM being small?”
“What if she’s right?”
And I let these doubts and these fears battle it out inside of me like demons wrestling in the night. They scratched and they clawed and they ripped me to pieces until one day I learned the most valuable thing I’ve ever learned about the road to self-acceptance…
Ask your own important questions.
WHAT IF MY SMALL DREAMS ARE MY GREATNESS?
And that’s where it happened. That’s where the beauty began to rise. Not in someone else’s questions. But in my own.
What if those dreams of mine ARE my greatness?
What if the small things are the big things?
What if my pursuit of raising strong children and being a great wife and documenting tiny moments CAN change the world? By the simple nature that doing so changes me?
And does that make my dreams any smaller than someone else’s? Does it make my greatness any less?
The truth is that the world benefits from our happiness. It benefits from our wholeness. It benefits from us digging deep to become the best version of ourselves.
For some, that may be in the monumental acts that are defined as significant. For others though, it may be in the tiny details that may never seem like they are big enough.
But what I learned sitting on that couch so many years ago and throughout the many days that followed is this…
A life filled with runny noses and carpools and supportive phone calls to friends and piles of dishes…
THAT TOO, IS HOLY GROUND.
That path you’re walking – regardless of how insignificant it may seem…is sacred. Because it’s yours. And your life and your actions and your steps forward touch everyone else’s.
Our greatness isn’t in the size of what we do. Our greatness is in HOW we do it. It’s in how we treat others when we do it. It’s in how we see ourselves when we’re doing it.
It’s in the breaths we take and the grace we give and the love we create.
My dreams are big enough. And your dreams are big enough.
Not because a stranger says they are. Not because the world says they are.
But because YOU say they are.
And that, my friends, is pure greatness.
Genevieve V. Georget is a full-time writer and professional photographer based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is currently writing her second book, and you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram or visit her website.
*photo credit: Genevieve V. Georget