Every year I start a new file. I use one of those Pendaflex-type big brown folders. Inside, I put all sorts of things of importance as they occur during the year. Some are pictures of me with important people I meet during my speaking engagements. Some are vacation pictures. Some are articles that I write that make their way into national magazines, newspapers, etc.
I also put inside my big brown folder my Journal Binder. During the year I write in that Journal Binder. I write down everything I am experiencing during the year – my deepest thoughts. Most of the time it’s very depressing, page after page filled with the obstacles, problems, and the doubts, fears and anxieties I’m feeling at the moment. But sometimes it’s very uplifting, on those rare days when things go right, and all of my doubts, fears and anxieties are replaced by expressions of unbridled optimism.
Every January 1st, I then summarize that Journal Binder and put the summary as the lead page in the binder. Then I close it and put it away, inside my big brown folder, which makes its way into a file cabinet I keep in my basement. I’ve been doing this since 2000.
I noticed this year, when I was putting my big brown folder away in the file cabinet in my basement, that my 2016 big brown folder was larger than my 2015 big brown folder. I then noticed that 2014 was larger than 2013 and that 2013 was larger than 2012. Each year, since I started following my dream of becoming a successful author and speaker, my big brown folder has been getting bigger. I thought about that for some time.
As I was staring at my big brown folders, it dawned on me that they were a reflection of the progression of my success each year. The more success, the bigger the folder.
Then I thought about 2017. I wondered what that big brown folder would look like. Will it be bigger or smaller than 2016? If it turns out to be bigger, that’s a good thing. It means I’m growing. It means I’m accomplishing more than the year before. It means I’m succeeding.
We all need something by which we measure our success. That something becomes a muse that motivates and inspires us to push ourselves forward and carry on in the face of all of the obstacles, fears and doubts that every dreamer pursuing their dream faces.
If you’re pursuing a dream, you need that something, that muse, that big brown folder. Find your big brown folder and then ask yourself every year “how big will next year’s folder be?” It will help give you that extra edge you need. It will keep you from quitting on your dreams.