“Really?” I hear the skeptics chorus. I shouldn’t wait another day? But I have years to explore the world and realize all those dreams I keep in a safe place away from daylight. Right now I have to get an education, find a well paying job, find an even higher paying job, get that dream car/house, the children, the retirement fund . . . . .
Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with security but be aware security can become a restraint. It can stop you from taking those life changing journeys, exploring paths meant only for you, living as fully as you were meant to. Tomorrow is a comforting thought but just how real is it? Now is the time to release those dreams from secure lock-down, take them out and show them the light.
Here are seven steps to set you on your way.
Find Out Who You Are
As a French philosopher and poet once said, “to make your dreams come true you need to wake up”. And by wake up, he meant wake up to who your really are – the real you, not the person your parents, friends and colleagues think you are. Often it is the people closest to us who limit us the most. They may not realize they are doing this but we tend to live up or down to what is expected of us by others. By getting in touch with what makes your heart sing and eyes sparkle, wakes you up to who your are and what you want. This person, who has been with you all your life, is so much stronger that you could ever imagine.
Hear What You Have To Say
Often what we really want to do and be lies buried under mountains of self doubt.
As another philosopher called Vin Diesel once said, “It’s insecurity that is always standing in the way of your dreams”. Hard to believe that someone as tough as Vin is dogged by doubt but we all are – it is just part of the unnecessary baggage we pick up as we move through life. To let your dreams bud and flower, first and foremost you have to really listen to yourself. Recognize that limiting inner voice that whines, nags, forces you to settle and realize that after all these years, it is not really talking sense. Realizing this simply dis-empowers this voice and now you are better able to hear all the other inspiring things you have to say to yourself. This new voice is your guide to the strengths and capabilities you have been ignoring.
Don’t Count The Cost
One of the big barriers to dream-following is money, the fear of not ever having enough money. This fear is the most common objection people make when you ask them why they are not doing something they want to. I have always found in these cases the old lottery test is smart shortcut to what is possible. Just imagine you struck it big tomorrow and won top prize. Ask yourself what would I do if money was no longer an issue? The honest answer to this question is often an indication of what you really should be doing – spend a year on a Greek island, volunteer in a third world country, paint more pictures. Often what you really want to do is not even that expensive but money is always the excuse for inaction.
Action That Dream
The step between having a dream and following a dream can be seen as an intimidating giant leap for many. But I have found the way around this is to break the big picture dream down into small practical goals that can be achieved in the here and now. These small steps are vital in the over all plan. Each step achieved pays a huge dividend in terms of self-confidence and the knowledge you are doing the right thing. Getting on with actualizing your dreams can involve slow and steady process. It is so important to recognize and reward yourself for each step on the way.
Be Ready For Hard Work
Realizing our dreams is not for the faint hearted or lazy. To get where you want to be and doing what you really want to do requires persistence, courage and for many, hours of work. But the funny thing is that when you are doing what you are really meant to be doing then the work comes as easily to you as breathing. It might be challenging, frustrating and scary but it feels so right and you are so up for it that you just keep on going. When you are in the zone, there is a self-perpetuating sense of achievement and well-being from all that you do.
Don’t Give In
Failures and disappointments will occur, they are inevitable but again we only have to upend those old ways of looking at failure. We need to learn to value the lessons that come with ‘failure’ and see the opportunity they provide. If you are following your dream and see it blocked, calmly work through the reasons why. Again those old voices of doubt and insecurity have to be put in their place because if you start listening to what they have to say, you will end up with panic and faulty decision-making. Rather look back on what you have achieved and find a way around.
Meeting The Dream You
Of course, as you can see the road less traveled has a few bumps but you meet some great companions along the way including a new you. The experiences, adventures you have open you up to further challenges and achievements. Just as self-doubt and limitation keep you confined and underachieving, living out your dreams expands your sense of who you are, an interesting motivated dreamer/doer.
So what are you waiting for; take the first step right now!