Norton Seal group of zip liners walking on bridge

Support For Your Dream

Zip Lining Into Your Future

  1. DYLAN: We were doing so well.

    ZIP LINING MAN: How we gonna get down there? I was that guy…

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Did you get that? I landed!

    ZIP LINING MAN: Shut up. Shut up, Andy!

    DYLAN: That’s better than coffee.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: I’m Mitch Matthews. And in 2006 one of my big dreams was on the ropes. I was ready to give up. I wanted to walk away. But instead, my wife and I decided to host something we called “The Big Dream Gathering.”

    MITCH MATTHEWS: The idea was simple. Invite some friends to our house and have everyone write down some dreams and goals on sheets of paper that we could put up on the walls. Then we went and looked at each other's dreams to see if we could help — if it was through an idea, a suggestion or a connection.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Now my dream team and I get to go all over the country, hosting Big Dream Gatherings and meeting with people who have gone after dreams big and small. I want to invite you to be a part of this. I mean, think about it: What if you gave yourself permission to join us? What if you gave yourself permission to dream big?


    MITCH MATTHEWS: All right so we're getting ready for our Big Dream Gathering at Southern Illinois University tonight. We cannot wait! But before we do that we're gonna spend a little time with a big dreamer. Somebody who had a dream of creating this: Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours Zip Line. Yeah, we're gonna do that. Do that together. Have I mentioned? I'm little uncomfortable with heights. Let's get to this.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: So I think you guys are gonna have an awesome time. I'm gonna set up right here just do email. It's gonna be great.


    MITCH MATTHEWS: I’m sure it’s fine. It’s gonna be great. Does this look natural? Feels good.

    MARC MILES: You know I usually have a full beard.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Feels totally natural.

    MARC MILES: Zip number one is 180 feet long. Some people call it the rocky bottom.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: You got this idea like at 60? That's usually a time where some people are saying, “I'm gonna start taking it easy,” and you come and build this?

    On screen: Marc Miles, Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour

    MARC MILES: Well, you know it's time to have some fun. And what could I do that could involve a broad range of people, something that not a lot of people are doing,


    MARC MILES: And I ran across ziplining. And they've already done these but, I thought I could do better. From the feedback we get from people who have zipped all over the world they think it's one the best they've been on. So, I know we've done well. I spent three and a half years researching builders to find the right person to come in and do this.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: That’s awesome.


    MITCH MATTHEWS: Just don’t look down, it’s deep. Does anybody else feel just a little bit nauseous?

    DYLAN: Little bit.


    MARC MILES: Just put tension on first.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Oh, yeah! Don’t slip! Woah!

    MARC MILES: We’re clear.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: I lived!


    MITCH MATTHEWS: As I hear mark talk about this on the phone — we're not there yet — I go oh my gosh what an amazing dream! What an amazing story. I love it I should send my video crew out there, but there's no way in heck I'm getting on that zipline. I can tell you right now right now.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: And he said hey, listen come on out ‘cuz he gets it — he knows what it's like to go after a dream. When he started he got clear on his dream. He didn't just — the next night — have a zip line company. Didn't have a zip line, of course. He had to build it over time. He had to make a plan.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Would you say doing this — was there any fears or doubts that you had or maybe even people around you that thought the idea was crazy? You had to kind of push through personal fear?

    MARC MILES: If you don't have the knowledge to do every single phase, you surround yourself with knowledgeable people that are experts in that particular field. I went through thirteen banks none, of them would loan me any money. I needed money to do this. Number one, they don't like a startup business.


    MARC MILES: And number two, they didn't like a business they really didn't know anything about.



    MITCH MATTHEWS: He said you know I built it up over time. I didn't have to have all the answers right away. And he said it when you come out to do that zip line don't worry. Not the thousand footer —that's not the one we're gonna start with. We're gonna start with one that's like two feet off the ground. We'll get you comfortable. We'll go to the next one, it's about 200 feet.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: This is still crazy not doing it, right? He said we'll do the next one's 350, then we'll go to the next one it's 500 feet. He said you got a build up to it, you don't have to do it right away. take small steps. I'm like, Mark you're speaking my language —but I don't wanna do it, right?

    MARC MILES: All kinds of little hoops and things to jump truth, but you just keep persisting and you work through it. And you go to the next one. And then you conquer the next one.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Tonight it's gonna feel a little bit like a risk for some of you to write own a dream. Partly because you don't know how it's gonna go. You don't know if it's gonna be a success. You're not sure if you're gonna be able to walk it out. You're not sure if you've got everything it takes to make it happen. But I encourage you to give yourself permission, like Mark kept telling me.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Give yourself permission to build up to it. Give yourself that permission to write a few dreams down and just for you. Take that next step.


    MITCH MATTHEWS: So we've had an incredible day here in Carbondale. Started off zipping through trees and now we've been able to spend some time talking about dreaming. But now we're doing it. And it's always amazing to get see these dreams go up and actually see people encourage each other to after it. I hope — as you maybe heard some of the stories but also just seeing some of the day play out — and maybe some of your own dreams have been sparked. Maybe even really remember some of your own dreams.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: And I hope that you're willing to take a step maybe give yourself permission to take a step forward and go after it. And make some of those dreams happen.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Alright let's do it. Right on, love you man! Okay!



Pursuing a dream? It’s important to remember that no matter what your goal, nothing great can happen overnight. Take it from Marc Miles, a life-long dreamer who knows a thing or two about pursuing a passion.

At age 60, Marc began the journey of starting his now successful zip lining business, Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours in Union County, Illinois. Although this wasn’t his first rodeo, he recognizes this dream came with its unique challenges and that it was really by taking small steps and remaining persistent that it all became possible. With every roadblock he faced, he maintained the same mentality.

“There are all kinds of hoops to jump through, but you just keep persisting and you work through it, and then you move on to the next one,” says Marc. “Setbacks and temporary roadblocks are not failures to your dream. Use them to better define your dream and take different paths in its pursuit.”

From being afraid to take the leap, to worrying about what others might say or not having the resources or know-how to fully achieve your dream, there are a thousand excuses not to go for it. But you’ve got what it takes! And here’s some advice to help you overcome these oh-so-common roadblocks.

Give yourself permission. The very first step is completely in your hands — just tell yourself it’s time to go for it! “You’re never going to accomplish your dreams if you just sit on the sidelines and stay with the herd,” says Marc. “And if you don’t have the knowledge to do every single phase, surround yourself with knowledgeable people to help along the way.” You don’t have to have all the answers, but you do have to dive in!

Look past the skeptics. Starting his zip lining company in his second season of life, Marc had a lot of skeptics – why now? Why this? – but he’s always had the best attitude when it comes to overcoming the naysayers. “Too often we get hung up on what others may think of our dreams or our pursuits in life. I always had this thought, until they start paying my salary and guaranteeing my future or my family's future, what they think does not drive me,” shares Marc. It’s with this mindset he’s accomplished so much. What if you allowed yourself to think this way?

Build on momentum. The worst thing you can do in a dream pursuit is slow down after each milestone. Persist through the good times and build off of that momentum! After all, a dream is a living, breathing, ever-changing thing and it’s important to embrace and act on yours. “Living your dream is an incredible feeling, but I am continually planning and building on those dreams. If you get complacent and sit down, someone is going to pass you.”

All-in-all, it takes grit and persistence to really succeed in any life endeavor, and it’s up to you to take the necessary steps. But, by following advice like this, you can get there. Now, take those dreams off paper and zip line into your new reality!

How would you rate this article?

Related Topics: Personal Development