Wendy's Blog

Mark Victor Hansen, me, Robert Allen – 2001 Book Expo

What is the price tag on your dreams?

by Wendy Keller

An article in More magazine  is haunting me.  A would-be author wrote about how her blue collar parents responded to her desire to go to college to study writing.

Short answer: not good.  They wanted her to get a “real” job.

Her Dad was a steel worker, mom stayed home.  They understand this life equation:  Work for X hours, get paid X dollars. Repeat daily.  She went to college anyway, the first one in her family. Me, too.  I come from generations of union electricians. I value blue collar workers, I just didn’t want to be one.

I went to college at sixteen, burning with my desire to be a journalist.  I worked four jobs and sometimes starved myself to pay for it. Maybe it sounds like a glorious accomplishment to work so hard to achieve a goal. It isn’t. I had my nose against the grindstone so hard, I never looked around to strategize or network into better opportunities. I learned that I could fight for what I want and get it, but it left me believing that achieving anything has to be a struggle.  That’s not always true.  I know there are people out there who view work and life differently than I do and who therefore create different results. They think at a whole other level.

I reflect on my friend Mark Victor Hansen, author of many books including the Chicken Soup for the Soul books (written with my client, his co-author Jack Canfield).  Mark’s father was a baker, up at 4 AM to toil. Mark has overcome his blue collar childhood and created a vast fortune. We’ve talked about it, and sometimes I can catch a glimpse of how he’s trained his mind to think, but it always dissipates when we hang up the phone.

Of course, it’s not all about money. I am grateful for every blue collar person who makes the world around me work so beautifully. 

But how do any of us throw off the limiting mindsets of our childhood?

How does anyone move past the mentality of struggle? 

How do we stop excusing the fact that we are not living our dreams?

The article writer eventually gave up her job as a college writing professor to work in a grocery store, because it gives her more time to do her own writing. Did she finally get a “real” job?  Does the answer depend on whether she ever gets her book published?  Or perhaps, is it all about having and pursuing a dream – the journey, and not the destination? What do YOU think?

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