Overcoming your greatest challenge is essential to dream building. But what is the greatest challenge? To build your vision is to engage in a process of many steps. Are there steps that are harder than others? Absolutely. It’s a long one today but can you expect less after spending two weeks in the deep jungle of Thailand?
Dream building can feel ominous like an approaching storm. (shot with SONY a7r)
Dream building is a process filled with unending challenges. At times, it can feel ominous like an approaching storm.
The process begins like new life in a mother’s womb and once the baby is born a whole new season of challenges begin. There is great reward weaved throughout the whole experience, but most new parents look at you with sheer exhaustion in their eyes and freely admit to having never been so overwhelmed. With dream building (or dream birthing), Brian and I have come face to face with possibly the greatest challenge so far.
To stick with the parent/child analogy, the greatest challenge is not what you would think. It’s not becoming pregnant with a dream. It isn’t the hard work of bringing that dream into the world. It’s the moment a parent listens to the dark voice that says someone else is more qualified to raise their child. At first glance, you may read that sentence and think you’ve never thought something so horrible. But I encourage you to take some time to reflect on this because it will make ALL the difference in your own dream building.
Here are some of the ways that dark voice creeps in. How many times have you watched another mother on a playground interact magically with their kids and then put yourself down because y0u don’t have her same kind of energy or charisma with your own child? How many times have you compared the home, car, or vacations of your family with a family that seems to have so much more? Have you ever felt like their children were better off than yours? How many hours have you spent on Pinterest looking at bedroom designs, kitchen remodels, beautiful meals to cook, and walked away feeling like you were less significant, less organized, less talented than all the people who created those beautiful worlds? How many nights have you spent surfing the web, looking at dozens of photography websites, only to go to bed with a sinking feeling that your photography dream is better executed by someone more qualified.
Do any of those scenarios ring a bell with your spirit?
You may not have realized that you were coming face to face with the overcoming your greatest challenge in dream building. It is the single moment that the dream parent believes that someone else is more qualified to raise their dream child, and thus, they abandon their dream. They may not abandon it physically, but emotionally or spiritually they have left.
Abandoning your dream is the greatest challenge for a number of reasons. We can do it in such a way that makes ourselves look good to others (i.e. by being a distorted martyr who confesses that our own desires and vision for the dream must die for the dream to live). We can also abandon our dream without anyone really noticing? (i.e. Our friend says “Are you still doing photography?” You answer “No, it was just a fun hobby that I was playing with.” When inside you carried ocean sized visions of what you dreamed could happen with your passion for photography. But since you never proclaimed it, chose to risk, kept at it, no one thinks twice about you abandoning it.) Or we carry the dream all the way through the pregnancy season, even birth it, but then feel as if we are being childish or selfish to not hand it off to someone with more years of experience and qualifications (because if we really cared for the dream wouldn’t we find more qualified hands to shape it?)
Is any of this resonating with anyone?
We were filming in the Thailand jungle, and Brian was feeling a growing sense of angst. On the outside, everything with our filming was going smooth. But his spirit didn’t feel right. He kept it to himself for as long as he could, and then one day he had to let it all out. With his permission, I want share what he went through because we both feel like it will show you that you are not alone.
Brian felt like our dream was a ship that had set sail, but for some reason he was left standing at the pier. He was beginning to feel insignificant to the process. And he felt super vulnerable for even expressing that much because he wasn’t looking to be stroked or built up, he just knew his dream was slipping away from him.
We talked about how our creative process had evolved since we started building Adventure Family. While still in the America, Brian had spent almost a year overseeing pre production for us to leave. He worked endlessly on film permits, visas, filming schedules, and budgets while I continued to pitch the show’s concept. Brian loves the background work, but he is also one of the most creative people I know. He sees the world in a light that makes my spirit exhale.
Captured by the clouds ahead, Brian inspires Pascaline to get her NEX6 out too!
This is what he saw. Doesn’t it make you want to exhale? Shot with SONY a99 DSLR and 16-35mm lens.
What makes his spirit come alive most is filming and directing. But when we left for New Zealand, we had two cameraman with us, and our family was super overwhelmed with having left everything familiar. We needed Brian, as husband and dad, more than anything else. The filming was covered by the two cameraman, and when I was hosting someone had to keep an eye on the kids. Without us knowing it, we created a rhythm of Brian being in the background with the kids, while mom talked on camera.
When we got to Thailand, we went down to one cameraman. But we also had key friends come alongside us to help with the kids and logistics. There was room for Brian to do more directing and filming, but from the outside it looked as if it wasn’t needed. He wasn’t sure if his desire to do more filming and directing was disruptive to our existing flow, even selfish. This was the decisive moment where he had to believe he was worth listening too and worth disrupting the flow. This is overcoming your greatest challenge.
I took what Brian shared and sat on it for the rest of the night. One of my pain places can be a fear that I’m not doing a good enough job. I had to sort through all those voices because Brian wasn’t criticizing the job I was doing. It actually had nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with the one who had birthed the dream.
The next morning I got up and started writing. Brian has been the visionary for Adventure Family from day one. For almost twenty years, I have often been the one who had a vision, and then Brian helped me birth it. But Adventure Family, this was and is all Brian. Adventure Family is much bolder than anything I have allowed myself to dream. But two years ago, I could feel God beginning to gently and slowly cut my securities with the familiar so I could step into the unknown with Brian in a way we had never done. As I wrote, I realized that if anyone knows what this dream needs, it’s Brian. He “gets it” on an unintuitive level that a parent knows what their child needs. If something is off in his spirit, we need to pause. Otherwise what is the dream building unto? If the dream finds success but the family doesn’t feel in sync, is there really success in the end?
Brian and I sat down with our cameraman and told him that we were going to try shifting things. This creative process was an experiment. He would film in partnership with Brian, and they would take advantage of their different filming strengths. We were nervous to bring this up because our cameraman had been doing incredible work. But to our relief, he was welcome to sharing the load and soon became inspired by the content Brian was capturing.
We also shared our process with the kids. To our surprise again, they spoke up in wanting to play more of an active role in hosting. I distinctly remember Pascaline saying “When did we decide only mom would host? Isn’t this Adventure FAMILY?” (big smile) Brian and I had just assumed not to put pressure on the kids to talk into the camera. Little did we know they were wanting to try it and had a lot to say! That is why this photo means so much to me. It took a lot of courage for Brian to risk disrupting our family’s rhythm with filming, but his risk opened up voice for the kids!
This gave way for Brian saying that he wanted to get better at being in front of the camera. He and our cameraman went to work on creative ways to show him as dad filming but then jumping into the action too.
No one brings out our energy for the camera like dad! Brian in his element! To capture rich tones around us, there are times he purposely films with SONY a7r for Adventure Family!
Instead of everyone feeling disheartened, we ALL felt invigorated! We had renewed creativity! We started collaborating with our cameraman and the kids like never before. Without being conscious of it, we could see how it had been easy to default to me being on camera and everyone else in b-roll. That is what we had always done before. And yet, that wasn’t Brian’s vision for Adventure Family. What is easiest or makes the most sense isn’t always the healthiest diet for building a strong dream.
The day Brian came to me with all his angst was over two weeks ago. Since then we have created, collaborated, and produced content as a family that is more magical than I could have ever imagined. The New Zealand footage is still awesome and fun, but as a family, we are growing with every risk we take. Overcoming your greatest challenge has a lot to do with you believing you are worth the dreams you carry. You are worthy of those dreams. And you are worthy of not only birthing but parenting them. The key is often speaking up when something feels off.
We may not even have words for it, but if we don’t speak up for our dream, push the pause button, reassess what doesn’t feel right, who will?
If we don’t champion our dream, how can we expect others too?
If we abandon our dream, how can we expect others to see it’s value?
p.s. This post is in the Amazing Mom category on the home page, because it’s the closest thing to the category it deserves “Amazing Dad”.
We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!
(posts in chronological order)
See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!