"Dream no small dreams." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I remember when I first found this quote and instantly fell in love with it. I just knew it had to go on a shirt. Because after all, who wants to live a life of small dreams?
I began working with my graphic designer, going through our usual collaborative process to bring my vision to life. Next steps, decide which shirt(s) it would go on, colors, placement, etc. I knew it was going to be a popular quote, but to be honest, I don't know if I really sat and pondered what this really meant, to "dream no small dreams". I usually do this for each quote. I know, it might sound crazy, but I put so much time into the true meaning behind the words we put on our products and what it means to live these words out. This quote did seem some sort of a "cliche" saying, however, I believe things are often cliche because they are so true. Thus, I moved forward with the design and production process.
Now, flash forward to today, September 18th, 2017. I started my usual Monday, answering emails we got over the weekend. I opened an email from a precious girl, I will leave her nameless for the sake of this post, but she stated how much she loved the brand and how she had followed us for some time. As I continued to read the email, I realized she is a photographer that was reaching out to possibly create brand content for us. Now, to be honest, I get these emails often. I wish I could work with anyone and everyone, but that would be virtually impossible. I ventured onto her instagram and actually fell in love. Like really in love! Her photos beautifully captured the spirit of the people she photographed, they were beautifully edited and not to mention she is adorable!
Now, you are probably thinking what is the point of you telling us this? Well, the first paragraph in the email I received from her stated this,
"I work with a lot of brands to take pictures for their social media platforms, but what stands out to me are the brands I truly believe in what they stand for. You guys are one I've always had my eye on, but I've been too scared to ask since I don't have very many followers."
I don't know why the last sentence struck me so much, but it did. Moments before reading this email, I was looking at photos that Mary Kate Robertson posted on her blog (thelittleduckwife.com) in our shirt that had the exact words I talked about above, "dream no small dreams." While reading the email, I instantly thought of these words. How they are simple and easy to agree with, yet can be SO much harder to actually do.
Now, in no way am I saying a photographer emailing me and asking to work together is her dreaming big, but rather that every little step along the way for her to pursue her dreams can either help her or hinder her in accomplishing it.
It made me reflect on the first time I reached out to work with the Robertsons and how scared I was. I was so nervous when I sent that first DM to Bella, would she respond or not? Would she like my product? Looking back, how silly was that thinking? I was so worried about the potential rejection that I almost missed out on what later came to be me going to Louisiana and shooting my Fall '16 line with them. I can most certainly say, before I sent that DM, the idea of shooting my Fall line with the Robertsons would have been me dreaming big (maybe too big!). Yet the small steps came together to lead to the big dream and it has been one of the best things for the company. Thinking I could have totally missed that opportunity because I was fearful of rejection makes me just shake my head. Sitting here today, I have been turned down by some and been incredibly surprised by others who responded and wanted to work together. You'll never know if you don't ask!
All this to say, these words that once seemed somewhat cliche to me, now have such a deeper meaning. To reach the big dream, you have to go through the sometimes scary little things. Success is never overnight and will come about when all the small steps add up. So send the email you have been wanting to send, ask for help from someone who is more experienced than you, and dedicate yourself every day to accomplish that dream.
If anything, face fear in the face, don't just dream it, take the actions to achieve it.