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#2: Dr Tererai Trent (Part 2) – The Power of Dreaming Big


Kristina's amazing conversation continues with Dr Tererai Trent, one of the most internationally-recognised voices for quality education and women’s empowerment – and Oprah Winfrey’s all-time favourite guest!

Dr Tererai Trent is living proof of the power of dreaming, and that no matter where you start in life, your dreams are achievable.

In part two of Tererai's amazing story, we hear so much more wisdom and inspiration from her incredible journey.

If you haven't heard part one yet, listen to it first here> In this episode, Tererai shares some brilliant and practical learnings with us. You will discover:

  • The importance of morning rituals
  • How you can cope with feeling overwhelmed
  • How to build self-belief
  • How visualising can help you achieve your dreams

...and so much more!


If you loved this episode and found it useful, please rate, review and subscribe, and help us spread this inspiring message by sharing our Dream Life podcast with the hashtag #101milliondreamers.

Our dream is to inspire and empower 101 million people around the world, just like you, to write down 3 dreams, and go chase them.


The Power of Dreaming Big with Dr Tererai Trent (part 2) – Your Dream Life Podcast Episode 2



Kristina:     00:04 When was the last time you had a dream written on paper and really believed in that? I’m Kristina Karlsson, founder of global Swedish design and stationery brand kikki.K, and author of the book Your Dream Life Starts Here. I’m on a mission to start a global dream life movement. I’ve set myself a huge goal of inspiring 101 million people to dream big and make it happen. I want to inspire you to be one of those 101 million dreamers. In this podcast series, we’ll be going on a dreaming journey with some of the world’s most inspiring and interesting people. Join us as they share their stories and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. We’ll be talking to incredible people from all walks of life. The one thing they all have in common is they all started with a dream.

Welcome to our Dream Life Podcast, and part two of our inspiring conversation with the incredible Dr. Tererai Trent. In the very moving first part of our conversation, Tererai shared her remarkable story. If you haven’t listened to part one yet, go back now and listen to that one first. It’s truly inspiring. In this episode, you’ll hear more wisdom from this remarkable woman, which will be many practical tips and learnings for you on topics like morning rituals, dealing with feeling overwhelmed, how you can build self-belief, how visualizing will help you achieve your dreams, and much, much more. Let’s continue with her remarkable story.

Kristina:     01:51 Thank you so much for all your amazing stories. I’m going to change tactic a little bit now and talk a little bit about how you’re living your life now. I know you talked about ritual. Have you got any more rituals you can share? Have you got a morning ritual? I love my morning rituals. I’d love to hear if you have any more to share with us and for our listeners to be inspired by.

Tererai:      02:15 So, my morning ritual is every morning when I wake up, usually I wake up very early in the morning. There’s something in me that says, “Early in the morning, when everything else is so quiet, that’s when the angels are also walking around.” So I do what I call fierce writing. I just take my page and I just write, whatever comes to my mind. Somehow it grounds me. So it’s something that I do every morning, and when I don’t do that, somehow I would spend my day feeling like I’m missing something. So it’s one of those rituals that I do. But also there are certain rituals that I do when I feel overwhelmed with stuff in general. I tend also to reflect back on the soul, what I call the soul wounds that I carried.

Tererai:      03:46 I think that we all carry some emotional trauma in our life. It is important to also confront those, and I call those soul wounds. I write down my soul wounds and I can do that maybe after every three months or so. I also work with women and I encourage them to write down their soul wounds. What really hurt them from their past, is it coming back? When we confront those soul wounds and we write them down, I always put those soul wounds in a small pouch and then I bin that pouch, telling the soul wounds that, “I know you come and you go. You come with fear, but for now, I have to bin you.” Then I sit down and I create a different, what I call in my mind a different platform on which to move forward. So I write specific things that I want to see happening in my life. Those things they would kind of ground me. Whenever fear comes, I know the fear is coming as part of the soul wounds, but I know I am in control. Those are the things that really ground me. I do many, many rituals in my life. I also do a lot of meditation, I do visualization. When I have something that I want to see happening, I visualize it.

Kristina:     06:02 Can you please share with us how you used visualization in the past as one of your important rituals to help you chase and achieve your dreams?

Tererai:      06:13 Just to cut a long story short, I found myself at Oklahoma State University, but it had taken me a long time to get to Oklahoma because when I build my dreams, my grandmother and my mother would always say, “Go to the place where you buried your dreams and visualize yourself achieving all those dreams.” So I would go to that place and I’d sit quietly, ground myself, and visualize myself or make a mental image of myself getting into an airplane that I had never seen in my life. The only airplane that I knew of was the helicopters that would pass through during the war, but I would think myself sitting into that helicopter as an airplane, finding the right seat for myself, and flying to a place with tall buildings that I had imagined in my own mind, that there would be tall buildings, and getting to that place where I would see the university with all the buildings and find myself carrying books, walking to those classrooms.

Tererai:      07:41 I would vision myself doing all those things and I would also visualize myself getting that undergraduate, that Master’s, that PhD. So I would spend most of my time doing that because my mother had also instilled in me that whatever is written down, when it’s grounded in your thought, it becomes a strong belief that you can feel and see its edges. You can feel the corners of your dreams, and when you then work hard, you can achieve your dreams.

Tererai:      08:28 Those kinds of processes grounded me and they still do ground me today. It’s not my circumstances. It’s not where I was born. It’s not my poverty that’s going to define who I am, but it’s about how I visualize my life and how I work towards that life, and how I ground in my own belief, in believing that I am here for a purpose. I am here to break this vicious cycle of poverty. I am here never to pass the baton, but I am also here to make this generation and the next generation a better generation to enjoy and thrive in a better world.

Kristina:     09:21 Wow.

Tererai:      09:22 So I guess I’m sharing this just to say rituals are part of our life and they should be part of our life because rituals, they ground us. Rituals, they take that face for us to enable us to build the faith we need. So we need rituals to really ground us and to remind us that there is power in the universe. We just have to believe. I truly believe that. I believe in my dreams, but I also believe there is more power out there wanting us to be successful in life. The universe is always conniving for our success in this world.

Kristina:     10:21 Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing that story. It’s just so inspiring and it’s so similar to what I do. I write every morning and I also burn my pages to kind of get it out of my system.

A lot of people ask me how I didn’t burn out when I was starting my business because I worked so much, and I really do believe that the reason why I didn’t burn out was my writing and my journaling in the morning because it really kept that work-life balance and I kind of got everything out of my head on paper, which I think is so powerful. I’d love to ask you now about how you get that work-life balance because I know you’re an incredibly busy lady now and of course with your book and everything that you’ve done around the world, you are in high demand. So how do you keep that work-life balance, if you’ve managed to have it?

Tererai:      11:21 I get that question all the time about how do you balance your work and the other things in your life, your family. I don’t believe it’s true that we can balance things. We’re human beings. We just have to do the best that we can. But I think the most important thing for me is the self-care. How do I make sure that I remain who I am and I’m taking care of myself so I’ll be able to do the work that I am doing. Sometimes I’m supposed to be calling a kid happy birthday and I forget, it’s part of life, but I will remember and go back and say, “Hey, Thembi, I’m so sorry. I wanted to call you yesterday but I forgot and I’m calling today.” So life is not perfect because if we want to live a perfect life where everything is balanced to the T, then we live in frustration because we can’t maintain that. I always think that if you want to feel whole in your life, accept that some days it’s okay to fail.

Tererai:      13:01 Some days, you can achieve what you want, but sometimes it doesn’t work the way you want it to be, but at the core of it, you just have to believe that the effort that I am putting out into the world, somehow that effort, it will pay off. I believe that. I don’t spend most of my time thinking about how do I balance my work-life and my family. I’m just saying, “It’s what it is. I’ll do the best that I can. I will love fiercely at what I do, I’ll love my family. They understand where I’m coming from and where I am going. I’m a human being, I’m bound to make mistakes.”

Kristina:     14:09 I know in your book you’re talking a lot about finding your great hunger, and for people who don’t know what that is and also how to find that, can you give us a little bit of advice, how to find your hunger?

Tererai:      14:24 I always talk about there are two kinds of hungers in our lives. There is the small hunger, the little hunger, the little hunger is all about immediate gratification, “I want this now.” But the great hunger, which is the other hunger, is hunger for meaning in our life. We all want to live a life with purpose, so how do we find that great hunger in our lives? By asking a simple question, what breaks my heart? Because it is in those moments of my brokenness, I begin to feel a stirring in my heart to right the wrongs of my past, the wrongs of my generations, to right the wrongs of my community, because it is what breaks my heart.

Tererai:      15:28 Without something breaking my heart, it will be difficult for me to find my great hunger, and hence my great hunger, it moves me, it energizes me, it inspires me to see beyond the circumstances in which I was born. To see beyond the circumstances of the ugliness that is in front of me, and to see myself as a giant, as a champion, but also to realize that I am here on earth for a purpose, and I have to fulfill that obligation. So without that which breaks my heart, I don’t think I’ll be doing the work that I am doing. My mother realized that that which breaks my heart is part of my redemption and is part of my healing.

Kristina:     16:27 What would you say to someone who feels they want something better from their life but don’t have the deep hunger for anything in particular? You obviously had a very deep hunger, but not everyone that I meet has that deep hunger. What would be your tip to find that?

Tererai:      16:43 Just to ask themselves, “What breaks my heart?” In this moment, before I close my mind, my eyes, and open them back, and close again, and open my mind, and ask, “What breaks my heart?” Surely, there’s a yearning that takes place within you, because you begin to see the things that break your heart, and you begin to prioritize those things and come up with one. As you nurture those things, as you begin to reflect more deeply on what breaks your heart, you’re also finding your great hunger.

Kristina:     17:29 Beautiful. Thank you. Can you share any quick stories about people you have personally have inspired to dream and to chase their dreams? I’m sure you have inspired so many people, but maybe you can think of one or two.

Tererai:      17:46 I have so many, so many women. Every day I receive these text messages and emails from women who would say, “I heard you talk and you inspired me with the great hunger, and I have decided that in my life I also have dreams. So I am going back to school.” I have a 60-year-old woman who said she didn’t finish school, but she heard about my story and she has been following me and sees the work that I do, and now she’s back in school and she’s doing her PhD, and many, many women. They feel inspired to change their own life, and to change the lives of others.

Tererai:      18:36 For example, right now, I talk about my sixth dream because I have women who are asking me, and even men who are asking me, “What’s your sixth dream?” and they get inspired. I tell them that, “I’m tired of digging the dirty ground and burying my dreams. I want to bury my dreams in the hearts of one million women so that each of these women can buy 10 copies of my Awakened Woman book, one copy for themselves and nine other copies for women in their lives, women who might be silenced, women who might be changing the world.” So I have women who are coming and following this sixth dream and saying, “Yes, we can do this together,” because it’s not about me, but it’s about serving the greater good. We want to create employment for other women who are not in positions as we are so they are able to educate their own children.

Kristina:     19:59 I know that burying your dreams was obviously such a strong symbolic thing for you. I know from your story how symbolically valuable it was for you when things were very tough to think back on those buried dreams. How important is it for people listening now to create similar symbols of their dreams? Like a piece of jewellery or a vision board, or burying their dreams. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Tererai:      20:25 When I talk about the burying deep down in the soil or in the ground, it’s because that’s part of my ritual. There is a connection between my dreams and the umbilical cord, and I always encourage women to find something that they can connect to. It’s not only about digging and burying, but you can also create your own vision boards. I do a vision board in my office. If you come I have all kinds of things that I write down. I think it’s important for women to do that, to be able to create the blueprint of the life that you want to see in the world, that you want to see in yourself. Writing down dreams, let’s not underestimate it. I’ve seen it all the time, but it should also be grounded by rituals. So you have to find your own rituals.

Tererai:      21:34 Early in the morning, if one of your rituals is to sit in a corner and do visualization, it’s up to you, or one of the rituals is for you to go to your vision board and think about your vision board and start making those strong mental images while you’re closing your eyes. You reflect on the vision board, you close your eyes, you walk through that vision board as though you are already there. You feel the place, you create the colors that are around you, the greens, the yellows, whatever it is. You see yourself in that vision board already living that dream. Who else is also part of that dream? Because as women, I always believe women, we are healers by nature. We are the matriarchs. We are the wisdom whisperers. We don’t only dream for ourselves, we dream for a better world.

Kristina:     22:57 Yeah, absolutely. Wow. One of my dreams is to visit your schools and obviously another dream is to sell a million books so I can hand over a million dollars to you for your schools, which I will keep on my vision board until it’s done. So very, very grateful to have a dream that is also for the betterment of other people, and obviously inspiring people to dream and write down their dreams.

Tererai:      23:24 I’m so grateful, thank you very much for that. Thank you very much. I think it’s all because of that fifth dream. It’s exploding in many ways that I never thought and I don’t think if I had not written down that fifth dream, I doubt very much I would have met you or I’d even be talking to you right now.

Kristina:     23:44 Yeah. Thank you for sharing. I really think it make a difference to surround myself with great people, and I wonder who inspires you and who do you surround yourself with?

Tererai:      24:00 My mother would always remain my hero and my ‘shero’. She inspired me in many ways, but I tell you this, when I share my story and people say, “Oh my goodness, Tererai you must be a very lucky woman to have achieved all your dreams.” I am quick to remind my friends and all those who say that to say, “I stand on the shoulders of giants and I stand on the shoulders of champions.” I believe in the collective of women because I have had so many women who looked right into my eyes, who saw something that I wasn’t seeing and I have many women who create a platform for opportunity for me.

Tererai:      25:14 I also want to do the same and I strive to make sure that women, they also stand on my shoulders as well. I think it’s important for women to be there for one another, to show up despite the challenges that we have in our lives, just to be there and to be supportive of one another. Because in many ways women are silenced because of the silos that we create around ourselves. In the book, as you read, I talk about the importance of creating friends for life.

Tererai:      26:00 Surround yourself with people who give you energy and runaway from toxic environments, drama, run away from drama, run away from people who take that energy from you and make sure that you have friends who believe in your dreams and you also believe in their dreams as well. We always have to remember that here on earth, especially as women, we are climbing an invisible ladder with its ranks. There are other women who are the bottom of the rank, trying to climb that ladder, and there are other women who are at the top. But there is this … The invisible laws of this ladder that we have to abide to. For those who are at the top to look deep into themselves and say, can I pull the other women up so they can join me at the top of the ladder?

Tererai:      27:18 It’s important for women because it’s our collective, it’s the energy that we bring as women that will make us more successful. We can’t have other women suffer when we can provide them with the resources and tools for them to excel as well. In every chapter that I write about, in my community and pretty much the whole of southern Africa, when we meet, we sing, “I see you,” even with a stranger. That’s the first thing, “I see you.” And the stranger responds, “I am here”. We need to validate each other, the presence of each other, but beyond that we need also to be there for each other. Because when we think about it, we have about 62 million girls that are being denied the right education. What about if we collectively come together as women and say no more to that.

Tererai:      28:26 We have about 700 million women worldwide who had babies before they turned the age of 18. Married or had babies before they turned the age of 18, and many of those women are silenced up to now, and many of those women you find them as part of the ‘me too’ movement because they are trying to fit in and they go to these corporations where they are sexually abused. As women, we can come together and recognize our sisters, and be the healers to these women. And so that all of us, we can achieve our dreams just like what you are doing yourself in asking women, in asking individuals, men and boys, girls to write down their dreams because you realize their power to their awakening is in their ability to name their dreams and be able to live that dream. Because we are all born with dreams and we need others to help us to tap into those dreams.

Kristina:     29:40 Wow. That is just incredible. I also really believe that regardless of where you are, there is always someone behind that haven’t started the journey that you’ve just been on. So regardless where we are in life, young or old, or educated non-educated, there’s always someone right behind you that might need some support. So that’s really good for everyone to listen to. If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice as your younger self, what advice would you have given yourself?

Tererai:      30:15 You know, I never had a chance when I was young. I never really had a chance. It seems like everything was against me, so when I try to reflect what I could have done better, maybe I could have loved more, I could have listened to my grandmother more, I could have learned all traditions more. Maybe I could have done that. Yeah.

Kristina:     30:53 Is there anything in life that you regret?

Tererai:      30:55 Fortunately, I don’t live a life of regret because if I do that, then I become a victim.

Kristina:     31:09 Yeah.

Tererai:      31:10 I don’t regret anything. That’s what it is. Why give myself pressure in this life? Could I have done other things better? Maybe, but it’s what it is. I can’t go back to it. I have to forge ahead and think about the future and think about how best we can live in a world of … In a world where we educate more children, we empower more women, we create platforms for others to thrive. We educate our men, we empower our men, so they have a moral obligation to make this world a better world as they join women and realize that women also are smart and intelligent, and also can contribute their intelligence to the world, for a better world.

Kristina:     32:23 Well wasn’t that just amazing? What a story and doesn’t it contain so many practical insights into all things related to discovering and chasing your dreams. I just loved that at the very core of Tererai’s story is to say that no matter where you start from in life, you really can achieve what you dream and knowing that her life was so profoundly influenced by a total stranger, inspiring her and giving her the permission to dream of what she wanted from her life is a message so full of hope for me as I set out to achieve my own crazy big dream. To inspire 101 million people, the world over, just like you to write three carefully considered dreams down on paper and start chasing them. Just imagine how taking a different time out to dream big for yourself could profoundly change your future too. I also loved hearing so many practical tips on things like work-life balance, how to use visualization, how to find your great hunger and her experience of how powerful it is to have dreams written down on paper.

Kristina:     33:38 A power I have experienced myself, written about in my book and something I would love you to experience the power of too. Tererai’s story truly makes me feel that anything is possible. I am so inspired and I hope you got as much out of listening to the two parts of her story as I did. The power of dreaming is something I believe so strongly in and have focused on in depth in my book, ‘Your Dream Life Starts Here’. So if you haven’t got a copy yet, I encourage you to do so and also the dream life journal that I have created to go with it as a place to write up all of the exercises. It’s well worth reading and exploring for yourself to help you create your dream life, whatever that means to you. As mentioned during this two part episode with Tererai, her amazing story and work, moved and inspired me so much that I will be donating $1 from each sale of every copy of my book to Tererai’s foundation.

Kristina:     34:37 It is my dream to be able to help Tererai build on the generous support she received from Oprah by selling 1 million copies of my book and donating US $1,000,000 to her foundation. So we can help support her dream of providing greater access to quality education for children.

If you love this episode and find it useful, please help us spread this inspiring message to even more people by posting about it on social media with the Hashtag 101 million dreams. You can also leave us a review to help us inspire even more people and I would really appreciate your support with my big crazy dream to inspire 101 million people to write down three dreams on paper and go and chase them. One way to help with these and create something remarkable for yourself at the same time, is to check out my 101 Dreams Audio Guide at life.

Kristina:     35:31 It’s a really powerful and free, step-by-step exercise to help you tap into your heart and discover and write down a long list of dreams you may not even know you had. I have helped thousands of people around the world with this exercise, and I think you’ll find it really inspiring and a wonderful use of your time. Finally, I’m so excited to announce our upcoming dream life master classes in Melbourne and Sydney in late October. Join me live with Dr. Tererai Trent as well as the remarkable Olympic gold medalist Alisa Camplin Warner in Sydney, and leading nutritional biochemist and seven time number one best selling author, Dr. Libby Weaver in Melbourne. It’s set to be a magical three hour event where we will share much of what we learned about chasing and achieving dreams. Find out how to get your tickets by the show notes as I would love to see you there. Until next time, chase your dreams, and dream big.

Please note: this is a full transcript of Kristina Karlsson’s conversation with Dr Tererai Trent (part 2)


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