Pursuing Your Dreams: Decide, Go, Don’t Ever Give Up
The Power of Intention
“I believe we can speak things into existence.” Jay Z
Do you know what it feels like to speak your dream out loud? Until recently, I didn’t. I was terrified I would fail or that people would laugh at me and my dream. So, I stayed silent. “You? A bestselling author?” I imagined people saying between chuckles, “You can’t be serious.”
But I was serious. So serious, in fact, that I began talking about my dream.
I first told my chiropractor my dream while I was getting an adjustment.
“That’s a big undertaking” he said.
“I know,” I said.
Then, in a conversation with a bartender, I told him about my dream too.
“That’ll be easy for you,” he said.
“I know,” I said.
Each person had a different perception of how challenging it would be to pursue my dreams. This made me realize:
The magnitude and difficulty of pursuing our dreams is merely a matter of perception.
Perception is Reality
“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” Anais Nin
In order to pursue our dreams, we have to decide to pursue them in the first place. We have to do the hard, scary, uncomfortable work of deciding to go after the things that mean the most to us.
How we appraise our choice to “decide to go” is key. Easy or hard. Small or big. The gumption to follow our hearts is often a matter of perspective. If we believe it will be hard to pursue our dreams, it will be. If we believe we can have our dreams with enjoyment, with ease, we’ll interpret our experience through this lens.
When you encounter pain and adversity, instead of asking yourself “Why is this happening to me?” ask yourself “Why is this happening for me?”
This will shift your mindset to perceive the lessons put in your path as opportunities for learning and growth, not as reasons to quit or fail or give up hope.
Doubts, fears, and other people’s rules are no match for a heart on a mission.
The Calling of Our Hearts
In order to pursue our dreams, we have to listen to ourselves. Really listen to our voices within. This voice within is your soul speaking to you.
For a long time my internal voice was drowned out by others’ voices. Others’ needs. Wants. Desires. I was very good at listening to others. I was not particularly good at listening to myself.
I gave away authority in my own life to other people.
Then, I began to quiet my mind and listen from within. At first, I heard nothing. Then, one day, there were whispers I could barely make out. With practice, the voice within got stronger.
When we listen to the voice within, we become acquainted with our deepest desires.
The word “desire,” or de sire, means literally “of the father.” Whether or not you believe in God, your desires are your own special dreams placed within your heart for the express purpose of being carried out during your lifetime. Your desires are unique to you, they are the essence of who you are.
The Struggle is Real
The struggle is the most meaningful part of the journey of pursing our dreams.
In every good life, there is a struggle, and in every struggle, there is a good life.
The struggle comes at many points of deciding to go to the effort of pursuing our dreams.
The struggle can be the moment you decide to:
- stop going through the motions
- acknowledge that you’ve created a life that no longer fits you or doesn’t serve you
- admit to yourself an uncomfortable feeling or truth
- realize that you want more for yourself
The key to struggling well is to learn that struggle does not mean bad and ease does not equal good.
We have a tendency to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. The pain is where the learning is. The pain forms you, shapes you, and tests your mettle.
Resist the temptation to judge what is good and bad for you as you pursue your dreams.
“No” is not necessarily bad. In fact, “no” is basically my favorite word. Why? Because when I hear “no” it gives me an opportunity to prove how much I want my dream. “No” is an opportunity to learn. “No” is an invitation to reassess, and refocus. When I hear “no,” I don’t keep lowering my shoulder and running at the locked door. Instead, I take the feedback that comes with the “no,” I pause to reflect and course correct. I ask myself, “What do I need to change to achieve my goal?” Then, I keep going.
I can’t tell you how many “no’s” I’ve gotten in my career:
No, you’re not smart enough to get your doctorate degree. I got my doctorate.
No, you can’t afford to study abroad. I worked three jobs in order to afford to study abroad in Italy.
No, you don’t have enough experience to be in the field of corporate leadership development. I am head leadership development for a Fortune 100 company.
You get the idea.
When it comes to pursuing your dreams, you’ll encounter pain, disappointment, challenge and heartbreak.
None of these mean you are on the wrong track. None of these are reasons to quit. These are reasons to stay the course. To prove how deserving and clever and perseverant you are so that the universe, through your dogged pursuit, has no choice but to release its blessings to you as a reward for your determination.
Sometimes, I think that is what life is. A whole lotta tries. Some successful. Some abysmal failures. We live and learn and keep trying. I’d like it to be pretty. It’s not. It’s messy and scary and vulnerable.
There are no mistakes, only information that can be used for our learning and growth toward realizing our dream.
Have faith that what you desire exists in your future. If you can visualize it, you can achieve it.
We are not meant to merely survive this life, to stay stagnant, to, God forbid, settle. We are meant to keep growing and thriving and learning, so that, at times, our new selves resemble our former selves about as much as frog eggs resemble the adult frog.
Do not judge how provisions for your dreams will arrive. The connections and opportunities that you most need will enter your life at just the right time if you stay the course. Allow these resources to show up in many forms.
We are meant to become the fullest expression of ourselves.
Live the life that is the biggest, boldest, and most authentic expression of your youest you.
Then, share this most magnificent version of yourself with the world.
Your dream is worth fighting for.
You do not have permission to quit no matter how hard or scary or traumatic or difficult it gets.
Promise yourself you won’t give up. Heck, promise me. Now go out there, and keep your promise.