Dream a bigger dream

To dream a dream is at the heart of the human spirit. From the dream emerges new ideas, innovation, breakthroughs, business opportunities, the arts and prosperity.

Dreaming has taken us to the moon and Mars. It has given us automobiles, movies, books, the iPhone and Facebook. We can tweet from space, and jump from the edge of space to Earth below because of a dream. Humans can live longer, healthier lives thanks to dreaming. Leaders like Martin Luther King have inspired and mobilized the masses because of a dream.

It is the spirit of the dream that propels us forward.

I confess: I am a dreamer. While I had always thought this is a good trait to have, not everyone would agree.

Like my father.

At the age of 21, when I finished my undergrad, I thought it would be a great adventure to work overseas in London, England. So I decided to share my dream with my family. After I enthusiastically expressed my loosely thought-out plans with my father, who listened to my one-sided conversation from behind a wall of newspaper that he was reading, he replied rather coolly with words I will never forget: “Shannon, you are such a dreamer.”

Humph, I’ll prove to you just how much a dreamer I am…watch me!” I mumbled to myself. As if being a dreamer was a bad thing. This made my hackles rise because what my youthful ears heard from underneath the wet blanket tossed onto my dream was this: You can’t do it.

So the next day, I did what any rebellious youngster would do: I booked a flight to London, with no real, solid plans beyond that. I set out to prove to my father wrong; that I was not “just a dreamer,” but had the power within me to make it happen. That incident gave me the kick-in-the-butt I needed to follow my dreams, which has become an ongoing theme in my life ever since.

The second time I was called a dreamer was more recent — and equally powerful. One lovely evening in early 2010, I had dinner with some friends, a married couple who I have known for many years. That night, I shared an idea of creating a radio show, only to get the same cool reply I received years ago: “Shannon, you are such a dreamer.”

Ouch. And so, the challenge was on.

What my friends did not know was that, having grown up in a family of broadcasters, I had deep within me a vision that I would be doing something career-wise in broadcast. It was what I knew. However, being the introvert I am, what I lacked was the courage to do it. My friends probably picked up on that, rightly so.

Eventually, I was able to refine my vision and dig deep inside to drum-up more courage; a bravery I knew I had, but not yet unearthed it. And so I dreamed a bigger dream, and did go on to create, not a radio show, but my web TV talk show, Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner.

But, I didn’t stop there with my dream. This dreamer went bigger…

I am pleased to say that on Monday, January 7, 2013, at 7:30 pm ET, my talk show Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner premieres on Rogers TV Cable 10 & 63 in Toronto/Scarborough.

My special guests for this first episode are Toronto-based singer/songwriter, poet and visual artist, Sarah Slean, a Juno and Gemini award nominee who has made eight albums including the recent critically-acclaimed album, Land & Sea; and actress, Sarena Parmar (who I have blogged about before) who has starred in the Gemini-nominated series, How To Be Indie, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Flashpoint, The Border, and the feature film, Radio Rebel. She is also an ambassador for the “Because I am a Girl” program.

These are two successful artists in their own right who, in these interviews, share their dreams and what inspires their hearts. I suppose I might also call them “dreamers.”

And that is a good thing.

Lastly, I thank my father and my married-couple friends for calling me on my dreams.

“Look, dad, no hands!”