“I have a dream…”
Who can forget those words of Martin Luther King Jr. when he declared his vision of equality for America? Though those four words are extremely simple, the weight of the declaration has the power to direct and change lives.
How do we find the personal strength to find our own dreams and follow them with the same sincerity? It’s not a simple question to answer, but I have a few thoughts to help you on your way to finding that ideal happiness for your own life.
What is My Dream?
We are surrounded by success stories about inspiring people who were able to overcome extraordinary circumstances to change the world. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and went on to start a company that would ultimately make him billions. Natalia Partyka, a Polish table tennis player born without a right hand or forearm, made her debut in the Olympic Games. Do Won Chang, a Korean immigrant who had to work three jobs to support himself and his wife, ultimately grew a humble clothing store into the retail giant Forever 21.
It’s easy to look at the incredible success of others and compare ourselves. It's a fruitless exercise.
Doubts start to creep in before we even begin to understand our own dreams. Maybe you feel like it’s much too late to start dreaming, maybe you worry you’ll always be too busy simply getting through day after day. You may start to think that incredible success is only possible for special people who are smarter, faster, younger, luckier… the list goes on.
Finding the passion that will lead you to realize your dream, however, comes from knowing what your dream is in the first place.
- Get to know yourself better and reserve your judgment about those deep desires that are so easy to stow away before giving them time to develop. Get to know what your dream is by sharing it with someone else. Schedule a conversation with me, and let me hear it. It's free. What do you have to lose? Or,
- Write it down. suspend disbelief and create a space where you can consider what you rally desire. What is burning in you that you are afraid to speak out loud? Set a timer and write for 5 minutes! Pour out your heart. What would you do, accomplish, experience, if you weren't afraid?
Whether it’s having more money, more time with loved ones, more opportunities to do what you love in your free time or anything else, following your dream starts with understanding who you are now and what you want going forward.
Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by what you “should” want or what other people are doing. Other people aren’t you, and only you can dig deep to find that dream you want to make a reality.
Sticking with Your Dream
Learning how to follow your dreams is just that: a learning process. There will be many times during your journey where you may doubt yourself or the validity of your passion.
Even when you’re making progress or on the cusp of success, it’s easy to question yourself and toss those dreams away for the sake of practicality. Whether it’s your job putting food on the table, your responsibility to your family or expectations toward your career or educational path, the one thing that isn’t difficult to do is find reasons not to pursue your dream.
When doubt starts to plague your thoughts and worry replaces hope, it’s important that you confront those thoughts head on. Stop those fearful thoughts by acknowledging that your opportunities to thrive and succeed are greater than those chances at failure.
Overcome nagging negativity through positive thoughts and express gratitude for what you have and where your efforts have taken you. The more you commit to making it to the top of a mountain, rather than focusing on the steepness of the slope, the easier it will be to push aside doubts that might otherwise make the climb seem impossible.
Having all the energy and resources you need to follow your dream through also means getting the right support. We all rely on friends and family for advice and good company, but sometimes these aren’t always the best avenues when searching for the support you need to carry your dream through.
It’s easy for people to be skeptical instead of supportive, but more importantly, the only person who understands the full scope of your dream is you. In order to flesh out your dreams and make them happen, you need to find others who share an understanding of those dreams and who will offer support and encouragement instead of doubt and skepticism.
Start Moving Forward Today
Taking the first step toward your dream can be the hardest part of seeing it through. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as quitting your job or buying a ticket to travel overseas. Just like any other goal-setting strategy, you need to set yourself up for success by breaking your dream into manageable tasks.
If you wanted to build up savings for a comfortable retirement, for example, you wouldn’t start by throwing a large sum of money into the stock market. The first step is to focus your dream on what really matters, what you want to achieve through getting that job or saving that money. Then, take the first step. A first step might be as simple as setting up a separate account and deciding to put a little in it each month.
Once you have that clear dream in mind, (that's huge by the way.....and this is where we can help) then you can work on the next step forward. Allow plans and timelines to guide you, but don’t fall into the trap of making a "forever plan" that isn't flexible. When the step forward is clear, you have to cast your doubts aside and take it.
There will undoubtedly be mistakes and setbacks. Plans may have to change much more than you expected. The everyday momentum of stepping toward your dream, however, will add up over time and carry you far from where you used to be.
You don’t have to pursue your dream by yourself. In fact, helping other people achieve their dreams can be a step to moving you closer to your own dream. When you find like-minded people who are happy to support you as you follow your dreams, it gives you that extra strength to #moveforwardanyway.
I’m dedicated to helping people realize their own dreams and take that extra little step toward fulfilling them. If you’d like to learn more about how to follow your dreams and what a personal coach can do to help you make them happen, please feel free to set aside some time to dream today.