Growing up, my mom frequently used this phrase with my brothers and sister and me.  There were two contexts where we heard it most.  Of course, one was around junk food and caring for our bodies. And seriously, a good day for us was when we got to go to my Grandma’s house and eat Cheerios with a teaspoon of sugar on them!  But whatever!

The other context was around our thinking or more specifically, if we were engaging in stinkin’ thinking, as it was referred to in my family!  Whenever one of us made a declaration about why we couldn’t do something, my mom usually piped in with her two cents about the trash in = trash out!  In other words, if you fill your mind with reasons why you can’t do something, you’ve sealed your fate!  My, how I’ve grown to appreciate those gentle reminders!

So, you say you are ready to live your dream, but are you?  Are you really ready for the beach house, new car, soulmate, coffee shop on the corner?  It’s haphazard to make a declaration for your dream without empowering yourself for your dream.  Orville and Wilbur weren’t “The Wright Brothers”.  Steve Jobs wasn’t “The Face of Apple”, and Cesar Millan wasn’t “The Dog Whisperer” to start.  Each of them had to empower themselves in order to live out their dream.

So, there are two ways that I’ve identified that trash goes in that we can flip on its’ head and use to empower ourselves, grow ourselves, and ready ourselves for our dream.

 The first is with our stories.

At the foundational level, we must write a new story, one that is built on possibilities.  So many times our stories are stockpiled with all the reasons, ‘facts’, and excuses why we can’t have our dreams, why it is virtually impossible.  We spend our time running around collecting evidence and validation from our family and friends about why we can’t open our art studio, adopt the child, or buy the motor home. Yet, writing a new story requires a willingness to see things differently, to see things through the eyes of our future Self.  The Self that believes in you, that knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that you truly can have your dream.

The Self that is already living the dream of owning that beach house.  The one that knows what it feels like to sink your feet into the sand, hear the jeers of the kids playing on the beach, taste the salt in the air, and feel the warmth of the sun on your face. That Self!  But in order to write this story, we must lose our fascination with all the reasons and excuses. A new story must be written with all the reasons why it can and is happening. Evelyn Waugh said, “When you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them.” So, no more arguing for your limitations, okay?

The second area to consider are our inputs.

What are those things with which we feed our minds?  If CNN is running 24-7 in the background of your home, chances are it is also running 24-7 in the background of your mind.  Not exactly dream building material! What are you reading? Magazines about Divorce Court among the stars or books about ideas and forward thinkers?

Who are the people that you surround yourself with?  Like it or not and whether we realize it or not, all of these inputs influence our beliefs about who we are and what we think we are capable of. I love how Ralph Waldo Emerson’s heeds us to “stand guard” at the portal of our minds.

I want to invite you to reflect on your own life.  How are you feeding your mind and growing yourself for your dream?  Are your inputs building and empowering you for your dream?

This week spend some time writing all those reasons and excuses why you can’t have your dream.  Then destroy them once and for all. Watch how your life changes when you take the TRASH OUT, and instead empower yourself for your dream!

Until next time, be BOLD!