We all have dreams, but how do we progress them? How do I turn my dream into my reality? These are questions we have all pondered. Of course, not all dreams are equal. In part one of this article I explored how to distinguish soul-calling dreams from pure fantasy. Now it’s time to identify actions and the challenges to overcome.
Anaesthetised by habits and routines, most people never even start to follow their dreams. Fear is the great disabler. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of looking stupid, fear of being destitute, fear of not being good enough and even fear of success. (‘I’ll never be able to do this,’ ‘it will take so long,’ ‘the timing is not right.’) The second inhibitor is overwhelm, you don’t know where to start.
Mixed into this cocktail of fear and overwhelm is the loss of the story of your dream. Let me explain. For many years you might have dreamt about writing your novel, living abroad or starting your own business. The idea becomes part of your identity and as crazy as it sounds, if you start to take action towards making your dream a reality, you no longer have your dream, you no longer have your ‘one day I’ll…’ story to tell. Just as unrequited love is safer than a real relationship with all the uncertainty and lack of control that goes with it, the perfection of your dream in your mind ignores the challenges and the reality of everyday living.
What’s the quality or personality trait that gets you to the starting line? You might think it’s confidence, but in reality it’s courage. You need to be just a little bit brave to take the first step. You cannot progress a dream without pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone, taking a risk, stepping into uncertainty. The price we pay for this is self-consciousness.
There will always be challenges and roadblocks. With courage we can label these setbacks as learning experiences. We will always have to dance with fear and self-doubt. In the marathon of pursuing your dreams, it’s within the partnership of courage and faith (in ourselves, in the merit of our dreams, in things working out) that the quality of resilience is forged.
Whatever actions you identify as essential steps on the path to your dream, those actions will involve new conversations. Of course, the very first step in pursuit of your dreams is having a new conversation with yourself. It’s then followed by new and different conversations with others. You might be speaking about your dream in a more committed way. You will also explore and gather information with a fresh curiosity. You might ask others for help, or to seek to learn from those who have already walked the path.
We all know the phrase, if nothing changes everything stays the same. Whilst some people make radical changes in their lives, most of us, especially those of us with responsibilities, take small, regular steps which over time, lead to the change we seek.
Sometimes this involves consciously spending more time pursuing an interest at the weekend. Sometimes is means getting a new business off the ground by working on it at night. It usually means doing some research, arranging to meet people or volunteering to gain experience. It will always mean making the concerted effort to do something.
You don’t necessarily need a plan (the word itself can be off-putting) but brainstorming ideas and making lists of possible actions and people to contact has the benefit of giving you perspective, a degree of control and a way to manage progress. Putting pen to paper you can break things down and even begin to insert possible timelines.
“I became successful because I was obedient to the calling of my dream.” – Oprah Winfrey
Too often we will put acceptance ahead of happiness, allow fear to squash our dreams and put other people’s agendas ahead of our heart’s desires. But there are always lessons to be learned. When we acknowledge that we have settled, resigned ourselves to our current circumstances, we will experience clear contrast, the juxtaposition of our current reality held up against our cherished dreams and ambitions. We can also acknowledge that despite the challenges you have encountered you’re still standing and your internal voice of wisdom is still audible.
Armed with this enhanced self-awareness you can make some different choices. You can take a step in a new direction, guided by your intuition and emotions and fuelled by that inner knowledge that something better awaits. The familiar discomfort of your current situation can now become a growing pain, as you evolve towards the fullest expression of yourself.
You might also like Part 1 of this article – Dreams – Fantasy or Soul-Calling?