“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet success unexpected in common hours.” ~Henry David Thoreau
I had dreams—dreams I thought could never be.
The dream of wanting to publish but never thinking I was a good enough writer; of being a painter but not even knowing how to hold a brush; of running a business without an MBA.
Too often in my past, I put these dreams off, waiting to feel like everything was “right”—the right timing, right environment, right preparation, right education, or right ideas.
My enthusiasm would wane, my light would dim, and I didn’t know why. It’s because something was calling me over and over, but I kept it in a box on the top shelf of my closet.
Why was this voice caviling at me to follow a dream when it knew I had too many other priorities? When it knew I wasn’t smart enough, or rich enough, or wasting my time?
Because my dreams knew better than me.
They knew more than I did the feeling of passion and bliss I would get from doing what I would love.
They had my back.
They knew my heart and what it wanted to express.
They knew better than I ever could about what would give me joy and happiness.
So, I made it my mission to listen, and I accomplished each of my dreams within only a few years step-by-step.
Any time I felt low or depressed I came to realize there was one primary reason: I was not on purpose. Or I questioned what my purpose was. Or it seemed impossible. And on really bad days, I believed my “purpose” was a load a crap.
Purpose is directly correlated to our dreams. The more we follow our dreams the more we are on purpose.
I thought I had to have the dream all mapped out—how I’d do it and what would happen.
But, finally, rather than spend my time wondering if, when, or how it might happen, I came to realize I just needed to jump in.
And a wild world of spontaneity, surprises, and curiosity opened up.
If I took my dreams oh-so-seriously I could feel like a failure. But when there was more room to explore like on a fun adventure, I held them with a lighter hand. It could be fun, instead.
But sometimes, my dreams would start to feel like a “hobby” or a whim. Something I just put my attention on sporadically. I still didn’t feel fully fulfilled.
I discovered the reason why I was not making time for my dreams on an ongoing basis was because my mind was jutting out into the future, looking only at the outcome:
“There’s no way I can write an entire novel—it’s going to take years…”
“I’d love to learn to draw, but all I can do is lousy little doodles…”
“I’ve always wanted to start up my own business, but I don’t know where to begin…”
If we’re standing on one side of a soccer field’s goal and want to kick the ball directly into the opposing goal, it would be impossible.
But I learned if I dribbled the ball—one dribble at a time—I could reach my dreams and have a blast with it.
Here’s a three-step guide to get your ball rolling and reach your dreams now.
Simply ask yourself what is the easiest first step you can take.
For me, it could be to simply:
- Go to a number, pick up the phone, and make one call.
- Walk over to the painting, pick up the brush, and paint the smallest thing I can on the paper.
- Open up my journal and write for five minutes without stopping my hand.
Usually, our dream is so thrilled to have our attention it’s just grateful for our willingness to meet it.
It’s like, “Hi! I’ve been waiting for you! I’m so happy to see you!”
Even if at first it feels like drudgery—somehow if we do that one step something inside wakes up.
We feel good about ourselves in the simple act of beginning.
Don’t put off a dream for any other moment. It’s calling you for a reason. It knows exactly how it will serve you. It absolutely knows what you need.
Begin without putting any pressure on yourself:
What if it didn’t have to be good or pretty or a bestseller or make a billion bucks?
What if I didn’t have to know anything at first and I could learn as I go?
What if no one had to know about it for now, and I kept it to myself?
Don’t worry about the outcome or the product when you begin. You can deal with that later. Just begin.
After beginning, continue with the essence of play. Do it it just because you dig it. For the sheer joy of doing it. ‘Cause it turns you on. It gives you juice.
Play like a child again: Get your hands dirty, be messy, screw up—without having to know what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, or where it will it end.
What if there’s nothing to lose?
What if it didn’t have to make sense?
What if you could take risks?
Have fun with it just like a kid.
After playing, return to step one and begin again.
This is the most important step: It’s all about having permission to keep being a beginner. Over time, as you carry on you will become an expert.
And even as experts, we’re always learning something new all the time. So in actuality, we’re always beginning—always being beginners.
So, what if you still didn’t have to have it all figured out?
If anything could happen next?
You could continue to connect to your dream even if it’s only for a few minutes?
Collected five minutes will not only give you energy and inspire you, but it’s amazing how much you can accomplish.
I keep a painting on my wall at all times. Every day or so I’ll pick up a brush and add something. Just a stroke gets me going. And over a relative short amount of time—voila! A painting is finished.
Putting our dreams into action is what makes us feel awesome.
Keep showing up by following these three simple steps. If you continuously meet what is calling you, your dreams will naturally unfold with wonder and awe.
What are your dreams calling out to you? Can you listen?
Girl touching stars image via Shutterstock