There’s a question that gets asked of just about every successful person, which is: did you ever imagine you’d be here; singing to hundreds of thousands of screaming fans/ being elected to a position of prominence/ selling your company for billions of dollars/ competing in a global competition?
Could you ever have imagined that uploading one video to youtube seven years ago would have landed you in the same room as the president? Did you ever imagine rising to this height of fame, back when you were a starving artist? Could you ever have imagined your local passion project spawning a cultural sensation?
And in almost every case I’ve seen, the interviewee responds, “Absolutely not. I could never have imagined this.”
You almost wait for these words, as if observing a customary exchange.
This, I think, is the gracious, humble response. It is the only way, really, to field such a question without being perceived as greedy, fame-hungry, or egotistical.
And to a certain extent, the response must also be true. After all, we can’t know what the future will look like. Even when we have a desire or dream for ourselves, that picture is often fuzzy. The specifics are filled in as they unfold.
In fact, it seems to me that everyone who has ever achieved greatness has certainly imagined doing so. And it is for that reason that their successes come to fruition. At least, that’s how it appears to be going in my life.
If you had asked me back when I started this blog three centuries and ten months ago if I could have imagined the amount of people who would one day read it, well, yes, I would say. I certainly did. I wrote my first post for the eight people to whom I emailed out the link. Don’t mistake me: I wrote my first post for the hundreds of thousands of people who I imagined would ultimately be reading; who I imagined would need the message I’m here on this planet to share. I was writing to you all before you ever showed up because I imagined you were on your way.
If you had asked me back when I first conceptualized helping others to Live Simply in their spaces if I could have imagined being booked solid with clients who truly need what I have to give well, again, yes, I would say I absolutely imagined that. That, in fact, was all I imagined.
In my life, whatever successes I’ve been fortunate enough to create have been the stuff of my imaginings, my dreams, my obsessive thoughts.
Perhaps this changes when you rise to a level of global fame and glory. Maybe when you find yourself among the select few people who are influencing this planet you do feel stunned.
But I have this sneaking suspicion that on their trajectory to success or fame or both, a person imagines what might be possible. They imagine the results of their decisions. They imagine how it will all play out. And as the stakes rise and the world starts paying more and more attention, they shift their vision accordingly.
When they say they never imagined it, what they’re really expressing is gratitude that their desires have become reality.
It is not that they have merely been swept along by fate and woken up one day to find themselves in a position where their purpose is being put to its highest use. A person helps to engineer that.
You engineer the circumstances in which your purpose is put to use and you live with joy and ease. Life does not happen to you, remember?
Devote yourself to the fulfillment of your desires. Strive valiantly. Work tirelessly. Give of your particular brilliance unfailingly. And along the way, imagine your wildest dreams coming true. Whether those dreams are for a life in the public eye or for a quiet life on the countryside. Picture yourself sitting across from the interviewer, the microphone clipped inside your shirt, the camera rolling.
…”Could you ever have imagined–”
You grin, looking down as you do as if to bow in humble gratitude.