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Following Big Dreams with a Little Help from Chip Gaines

Following Big Dreams with a Little Help from Chip Gaines
"There is nothing like a dream to create the future." - Victor Hugo

Got dreams?

Opening Clean Slate Goods was a big dream of mine, yet just a couple years ago it seemed very out of reach.

That is until I got a message from Chip Gaines.

Yeah, the Chip Gaines from Fixer Upper, Magnolia Market, the Silos; author, HGTV personality, contractor, business owner extraordinaire.  Pretty much if anyone could make this crazy dream of mine come to life, he was the guy to do it.

To be completely honest, his message wasn't just for me.  It was more accurately an Instagram post for a few million of his followers, but we won't focus on the minutiae.  Chip was announcing his inaugural "Chipstarter" contest and he was providing an opportunity to make dreams come true.

More specifically, my dream come true.

The strategy was simple - pitch your dream in under 2 minutes via a YouTube video, including specific details about your dream and what you needed from Chip and his team to make it happen.  Your submission would then be in the running to become a finalist where you'd be flown out to their annual Silobration in Waco, TX, interviewed on stage in front of thousands and then, fingers crossed, announced the winner.  The deadline was the morning of Oct. 10th, 2017, finalists would be announced that same day, and the Silobration was to be held just days later.

Clearly, this was my big chance to turn this "far off" dream of mine into reality.

Under the wire, as usual, I spent an entire day crafting my dream and filming my pitch.  It was amateur, at best, and it was with much trepidation that I finally hit "submit," just a day before the deadline.  Pitching my heartfelt dream to strangers was a huge step out of my comfort zone and brought so many emotions to the surface:

A boat-load of insecurities, but strangely, lots of excitement too.

I'm usually a realist (i.e. my odds of winning were slim to none), but in this case, I could barely contain myself; expectantly waiting for my acceptance call, planning how I was to head to Waco for the weekend, and feeling nervous about being on stage in front of all those Silobrationers. 

Except that acceptance call never came.  And it wasn't until a couple days later that I found an email hidden away in my spam folder.  An email straight from the Chipstarter campaign with a confirmation button - that button I was supposed to push to confirm my email address and make my contest submission complete.

And in that moment it hit me: I did indeed confirm my email when I submitted my video, but it wasn't for the contest, it was for Magnolia's newsletter (somehow that email had been sent to my regular inbox at the same time this other email went to my spam folder).

Which meant my contest submission had never been submitted.

And with that realization, my heart sank.

No one  had seen my pitch,

... and now it was too late.  

My dreams dashed & smashed.

Melodramatic?  Most likely.  

But how I felt?  Exactly.

All that planning, and filming, and emotional upheaval... all for nothing, nada, zilch.

But slowly it dawned on me that is wasn't all for nothing.  Chip's invitation to share my dream had caused me to clearly think through my vision for my future shop and it had stirred in me a passion to see that dream through.  I realized that as nice as it would have been, I didn't need Chip or someone handing it to me on a silver platter.  If God had planted this passion in my heart, He would fit the pieces together to make it happen.

In the days and weeks and months that followed, Jason and I talked more and more about this dream, we even considered downsizing our home to make it financially feasible, and we also more openly shared this dream with friends (one such instance led to finding our first shop space, less than four months after that failed contest submission).

As I stepped out on a limb and shared my crazy distant dream, it eventually gave me the courage to consider that dream as a tangible goal and caused me to be more aware of God's working in the details.

Last October, the Chipstarter campaign rolled around once again.  But this time I made no attempt at submitting a dream (at that point my shop was up and running and I was in the thick of business ownership).  Shortly after the submission deadline however, this email showed up in my inbox:
Apparently I had been rejected for that year's Chipstarter (the one I had never even entered!).  I'm not sure how that mix-up happened, but it certainly made me smile.  The rejection had come a year too late, but by that time, my lil' dream was no longer a dream - it was a reality.

Do you have dreams you're dreaming, friend?  They don't have to be big, sometimes the most meaningful dreams are the small ones.  The point is to give yourself the freedom to dream and to put words to those dreams so they aren't these far-off, someday wishes that you keep tucked down deep inside.  I encourage you to share your dreams, no matter how silly or crazy they seem.  I believe we're given certain passions for a reason and that when we have the courage to pursue those passions, big things can happen.

Or maybe you're currently in a stage where life is too jam-packed with distractions to even allow space for dreaming.  Give yourself a 30 minute timeout; go for a walk, grab a coffee (and actually take time to slowly sip it), plant yourself on your back deck, or even in the car during your kid's sports practice.  Take a moment to dream about what's ahead, write down what's on your heart, and then share it.

I'm not saying it's easy, often sharing our dreams can make us feel vulnerable or even like we're 5 years old all over again (remember those times in kindergarten when we were actually encouraged to dream?), but actually, is that such a bad thing? 

As Amber Runyon, founder of Eleventh Candle Co., puts it:

"I believe that if we can teach little girls to dream that they'll be the force that changes the world.  But I believe more than that; if we can teach broken women to dream like little girls again it will be a force the world has yet to see." 

Do you have a dream you're bursting to share?  I'd love to hear it!  Not that I can make that dream happen for you (I'm no Chip Gaines), but I'd love to cheer you on.  This past spring, I was part of a workshop where woman shared their business dreams with one another, and in the months that have followed, it has been a blast to see them taking steps toward those dreams.  Life is so much more fun when we share in it together.  Feel free to comment or share with me the next time you stop by the shop.
(I did eventually make it to the Silos, not as a finalist, but
for a girls' weekend last November to celebrate this sweet friend's 40th.)


Friend, I wish you space to dream & the courage to step out in making those dreams reality.

Dream big.

Dream small.

Dream on.

- Kari