Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams

Imagine helping trim the trees at the White House. Did you know that you can? The White House boasts 62 trees and enlists about 100 volunteers – florists, interior designers and regular folks – to put on the lights and ornaments. The First Lady decides the theme and then the team of volunteers goes to work.

Don't Give Up On Your DreamsOne of this year’s volunteers hails from a suburb near our little city. Mary Mazzeffi, a long-time floral arranger, applied to be a volunteer for multiple years before finally being selected. The experience marked a bucket list achievement for her! She even had the opportunity to trim a special three-foot tree to adorn the President’s elevator. Talk about once-in-a-lifetime opportunities!

What I want you to notice about Mary’s story though, is this: it didn’t just happen to her. She made it happen by her persistence and determination. She estimates it took six or seven tries before she made the cut to volunteer. But she kept at it and lived her dream of decorating the White House.

I talk a lot about the bucket list goals we live out as a family. But there are also a lot of disappointments behind the scenes here. My kids audition and don’t make the cut. They apply for special programs and recognitions, only to be turned down. We make plans to attend special events or visit our hoped-for destinations, only to have the plans fall through. And me? I’m a writer who often submits essays and articles to publications, which means I also receive rejections.

Expect the disappointments, but don’t dwell on them. Look for what you can learn from them and then move on. Keep the goal on your bucket list and vow to continue trying. Because ultimately, I think the missed tries make the final achievement more meaningful. Just last week I heard this affirmed by the director of a popular local high school music show.  About those who don’t make the cast on their first attempt, he remarked, “many students who audition in subsequent years grow to be superb members of the cast – often making much more growth in the long run than students who do get in on their first try.”

Think of Mary Mazzeffi the next time your efforts at reaching a goal fall short. Remember: don’t give up on your dreams. After all, you could end up decorating a tree for the President’s elevator.


My Udemy course, Build Stronger Bonds Writing Family Bucket Lists, helps you work with your kids to write the bucket lists that help them push past Build Stronger Bonds Writing Family Bucket Listsdisappointment to reach their goals. You’ll also bring your family closer, create more camaraderie & make quality memories, using your bucket lists as a springboard. Plus, take 50% off the registration price through 12/31/15 using the code BUCKETLISTNOW.

  • Sue LeBreton

    I try to look at rejection as confirmation I am putting myself out there- better than not trying!