“Everybody Has A Big But."

Let's talk about YOUR big but.

I need you to know something. It’s really important. It might change the way you think about the whole world – or at least, how you think about me.

I am a huge PeeWee Herman fan.

There. Now you know.

I feel better, getting that out there. It was a little hard to admit it to the universe like that, but I realize now, I have no shame. I never have. PeeWee Herman is in my blood.

It will not surprise you, then, to hear that one of the most important life lessons that has guided me throughout my childhood and up until this very day, comes directly from PeeWee’s Big Adventure. Well. A lot of life lessons come from that movie, actually, but this is the most important one.

In case you are not up to date on your PeeWee trivia (what is up with that? Please, go watch PeeWee’s Big Adventure right this minute. This blog will be here when you finish, I promise – did you know this was Tim Burton’s first feature film as a director and it was written by Paul Reubens AND Phil Hartmann? Seriously? It is HI-larious)…

Anyway, in case you’re not able to access this fine film just now, here’s the premise for this all-important life lesson:

PeeWee is in search of his beloved bike. He embarks on an epic journey to track it down, and eventually ends up at The Wheel Inn, a now (tragically!) defunct (as of 2013 – HOW DID I NEVER GO THERE???) truck stop surrounded by huge dinosaurs, in the tradition of 1960’s roadside attractions. He meets Simone, a beautiful French-ish waitress with big dreams, and an even bigger heart. And an EVEN BIGGER boyfriend, Andy.

Wow. I told you I love this movie. I could re-enact it for you sometime, so just let me know if you’re interested.

Now, on this fateful night, PeeWee eats a bunch of stuff in this diner, after getting ditched by his criminal accomplice, Mickey – (Mickey, see, he’s a loner, a rebel) – and PeeWee realizes his wallet is gone! Given her aforementioned big heart, Simone allows PeeWee to work off his tuna melt and a milkshake by washing dishes until the break of dawn (aw!).

She invites him to watch the sunrise with her from inside the head of a giant dinosaur.

While they’re in there, Simone asks PeeWee a question (and please, other PeeWee aficionados or people with access to Google right now – I’m internetless and I am HIGHLY unlikely to go back through this blog just to fact check my exact PeeWee quotes no matter how devoted I am to his awesomeness – bear with me, I’m paraphrasing).

So, Simone asks PeeWee, “Do you have any dreams?”

PeeWee begins to describe what sounds like a totally awesome dream, involving a snake wearing a vest, when Simone interrupts – “No, I mean a dream – something you want to do?”

He wants to find his bike, of course!

Simone wants to go to France. But she’s afraid of her huge, terrifying boyfriend, Andy.

PeeWee tells her she should just DO it!

PeeWee In A Dinosaur

Simone interrupts, “but…”

And here is the life lesson, from none other than PeeWee Herman:

“Everybody’s got a big but. Let’s talk about your big but Simone.”

What’s Your Big But?

You have a dream, right? Something that you know has been planted in your soul and maybe you’ve known it was there for a long, long, long time? Maybe you’ve had this dream as long as you can remember.

It’s something much deeper and more meaningful than wanting to have some specific job or some kind of status. It’s more than just external stuff. It’s something that you might have heard and listened to and moved on and achieved.

But more likely, you have a big but.

My big but was made up of at least these items, in no particular order, and certainly, this is not an all-inclusive list:

-          But, I need to get a REAL job…

-          But, I should be more responsible…

-          But, grown-ups don’t do that kind of thing…

-          But, that dream isn’t for me – it works for that person, or those people, but I’m not like them…

-          But, what about this obligation or that obligation?

-          But, I have a mortgage!

-          But, I have two kids…

-          But, people are counting on me at my job – they need me (this one is TOXIC – if you find yourself saying this, you need to call me right now because this will eat your soul, just a friendly warning)…

-          But, this just isn’t realistic…

-          But, nobody else I know is doing something that crazy…

It doesn’t matter what your dream is, what your story is – it’s likely that you are probably living a bit short of your potential, don’t you think? I mean, seriously – do you think you’ve reached your pinnacle? Is this what your life is meant to be – as awesome as it (hopefully) is – is this all?

Why do YOU have such a big but?

Sit for a second and imagine your dream. Remember it. Go back in time – be yourself as a kid – and really dig deep. What was your dream? Not the dream of being a movie star or a nurse – but what was underneath those external things? WHY do you think you wanted to be a movie star or a nurse?

I wanted to be a rockstar.

Here are some reasons why:

-          I have a message and I want to share it with anybody who will listen!

-          I love to create and inspire people with beautiful and meaningful creations!

-          I want to live in my strength and do something with my life that resonates with my natural talents and interests and loves!

-          I want to be everything I have potential to be – and I want to help other people do the same!

You might have noticed, I am not a rockstar at this moment. I probably don’t plan to be any time soon. We’ll see, though. Maybe I’ll pull a late in life career change for the easy-listening set. But at this point, I’m pretty excited about what I’m doing now.

Because, you see, my darling friend – I’m living my dream.

I have a message and I get to share it with anybody who will listen!

I get to create and inspire people with beautiful and meaningful creations!

I get to live in my strength and do something with my life that resonates with my natural talents and interests and loves.

I get to be everything I have the potential to be – and help other people do the same.


Those are the roots of my dream. I just had to start to peel away my BIG BUT(s).

One by one, they all fell away. Each one stood up to nothing – they were flimsy, meaningless, limiting for no reason, stymying.


So, ask yourself – what is your big but? What’s holding you back right now, today?

What are the roots of your dreams? What makes you tick, as a person – what drives you to contribute your special YOU-ness to the world? In whatever way you do?

And if you are living your dream – if you are being fully and completely true to yourself and all you were meant to be – I want to know about it. Because you probably used to have a big but.

Everybody loves an inspiring success story.


And if you’re not living that dream just yet? That’s OK. There’s still time.

But there’s not forever.

If you had one more year to make your mark on the world, what would you do? Who would you be? Where would you be? How would you spend your time?

Checking emails?

Going to meetings?

Me neither.

This week, I'm attending an incredible training event called Heroic Public Speaking. It's hosted by one of my business mentors, Michael Port, and some of his illustrious friends and colleagues. One of them, Dan Cordle, an NYU acting professor, rather rocked my world. Over and over again. 

And that's saying a LOT if you know me. I'm no actor. I played two villains in a couple of college plays, but the one might describe my performances was "hammy at best." In my defense, one of the plays was a melodrama, so hammy was probably OK.  

Acting, for me, has always been a mix between pathos and pretend, and a mask - an escape. It is the latter that doesn't become my performances...

Among the many gems he offered as he taught us how to perform - with HONESTY and transparency, and complete nakedness (yikes!) - was this: 

"It is when your desire outweighs your fear that you can achieve your biggest dreams."

And I was like, cool! I'm putting that in my PeeWee blog post. But seriously, it's true (OK, both the quote and my excitement that this fit so perfectly into something I had already been thinking about so intensely are true!).

The truth is, fear will always win. It will always trap you and hold you, and keep you from your potential. Until one day, you will look that fear, straight in the eye, and you'll realize you WANT your dream MORE than you are held by this fear. And at that moment, you will be ready to act. To move. To pursue. To become your BEST SELF. To invest in your own future, and live your own life. To hell with the fear. 

Because you are not owned by fear. And you are not defeated by fear. You are powerful, strong, capable. You are alive! You have this "one wild life" and you can choose exactly how you want to live it. No matter where you come from. No matter what you think is making it impossible for you. No matter how far away it seems. 

You can make that step, take that leap, be that person. 

So, let’s dream a little bit together. Let’s tap into your deepest and truest why and let’s unlock that dream in your heart. Let’s peel away the “buts” and let’s get you on the right path – the path you KNOW is your path. You’ll know it when you see it.

And you’ll know it when you don’t choose to walk down it – because you’ll feel like a big but. 

Don't be a big but, please.

Be a big YES! 

Sarai JohnsonComment