Achieve Your Dreams? Are You Sure You Wanna Do That?
Are you really sure you are up for achieving your Big Dream? Your passionate pursuit?
So, you want to achieve some dreams, do ya? Has anyone ever warned you that it’s no bed of roses and might make you cry, have you question your self-worth, challenge your relationships, make you a little bipolar at moments, and even force you to contemplate abandoning the dream ship altogether?
Your Dreams and Goals, Are They Worthwhile?
If your dream is really worthwhile, it will never be a fairy tale, happily-ever-after scenario. Rather, it is going to forever challenge you in ways you never imagined and will force feed you frequent spoonfuls of fear and discomfort.
The goal to achieve dreams will taunt you late at night with all the areas in your life, environment and habits that must evolve to fit the new and growing direction. It will shame you and go to war with the comfortable, safe life you know right now, and be relentless until you release to its repeated advances.
So, just embrace this notion now – fear and discomfort will always force their way into partnership with your career dream or passionate pursuit. It will get in your face and demand that you run the gauntlet of red flag stressors it will throw up on your road to success.
What will challenge YOU?
Only time will tell. But, one or more of the following will certainly smack you upside the head from time to time when you try to achieve dreams…especially BIG dreams:
- Feeling like you have to defend yourself with family and/or friends questioning the validity of your new direction;
- Arguing with your significant other or being heart-smacked by your crying child over all the extra hours you are working;
- Despairing as your savings hover near EMPTY as you sink more and more into your education or the startup costs of your new endeavor;
- Trading in the identity, the safety and the network of camaraderie of a career path that no longer fulfills you in exchange for a beginner position in a world of UNKNOWNS and strangers;
- Confronting the depths of your own vulnerability and secret fears as you pursue what is in your heart amidst a world of inner critics, outer judges, and competition;
- Going head to head with the discipline monster as you try to tame your topsy turvy, sometimes overwhelming, schedule to handle your fire hose of ideas.
Truth be told, pursuing dreams is NOT for WIMPS.
Faith & Fearlessness to Achieve Dreams
Leila was a single mother who dreamed of being a nurse. However, the immediate financial demands of raising a child alone pushed her into a 20-year role of climbing to a management level inside a national medical products manufacturer. It was not her dream job, but it paid the bills consistently, put money in the bank, provided safety and security… and, well, she was darn good at it.
When organizational changes made her job obsolete and threatened her income stream (in a poor job market with few prospects), she had to make an urgent and tough decision:
- Plow back into the job market with her 20-year career path and Six Sigma Black Belt training (and have the means to support her family and send her high school senior to college); OR
- Take the small severance package she received from her employer and tap her child’s college savings (NOT her own retirement) to pay the bills and finance her own education in nursing. (Choosing the latter partly meant choosing her future over her child’s.)
After much inner turmoil, opening to spiritual guidance and listening deeply to her heart, the choice emerged. She chose the latter, despite the significant emotional, financial and logistical risks it entailed – without any guarantee of her ever graduating or securing a job before the money ran out.
With extraordinary dedication and keeping her eyes on the prize, Leila went for her big dream, did a little bookkeeping part-time, cut daily costs to a bare minimum, and graduated as planned.
By the time of graduation, her savings was on its very last legs. She put herself into hyper focus drive and sent out over 50 resumes over the following weeks. When the phone didn’t ring that first month, she had to continuously re-trust her decision, reconnect to her faith in herself, and not allow fear and panic to overcome her.
Two months after graduation (and 1.5 years after beginning the transitional journey), success finally came. Leila is now thriving as an operating room nurse in the top hospital in her area and her daughter is now married and attending college courses while living in Italy.
A whole body commitment to achieving your dreams almost guarantees that you will reach them.
What is a ‘whole body commitment?’
It’s the kind of commitment that you feel in your gut, your bones, your heart. It’s the level of commitment that you will ONLY feel when the dream you are holding is truly in alignment with what your heart most desires – often it is that thing you are MEANT to do before you die.
The closer you can get to this level of inner commitment, the faster you will recover from and leap over the hurdles you will most assuredly face as you achieve dreams.
How does this work?
Deep inner commitment fuels creativity and resourcefulness in solving problems. It supplies a continual wellspring of inspiration and resilience when the going gets tough. It puts divine providence on your side to place miracles on your path that match what you give to the commitment equation.
In Leila’s case, after making the ‘whole body’ decision to go into nursing, she delightedly discovered that registration for the local nursing program had just opened up, and that the program would start soon. Additionally, small part time jobs and education grants appeared along the way to help her make ends meet.
For Leila’s daughter, financial aid and other government options emerged to cover most of the college costs. Additionally, while Leila was still in nursing school and unemployed, her daughter chose to marry the love of her life. Miraculously, volunteers and resources appeared to supply most of what was needed for her daughter’s classy, venue-hosted wedding.
Everything ultimately worked out for both of them.
Handle the heat, or get out of the ‘dream achievement’ kitchen
Employers, colleagues, spouses, family members, friends, media, and competitors can all be sources of firestorms of anger, doubt, retribution, or criticism when you begin making dream-related changes. Only you know to what degree this might occur for you. So, it is important for you to hold within you the emotional and mental strength to weather it.
One way to support yourself in this is to minimize the impacts on others before you even begin. This could mean including them in the conversation that has been going on in your head so that they are ready for it when you take the leap toward your dreams. Or, it could mean having them help you in the planning, or finding ways to make amends or soften the jolt of the sudden adjustments required to achieve the dreams.
Another way to do this is to grant yourself the strength through compassion – so seeking to understand how the pursuit of your dream challenges or causes pain for others. In all likelihood, you have been sifting through and mentally adjusting to aspects of your big dream for months or years. By the time you reach the commitment and actionable levels of this dream, you have already traveled a long distance of inner change.
However, in many instances, those around you have had little or no part in this journey. They have given little, if any, thought to how the changes (demanded by your pursuit of your dream) will impact them. Be prepared for your changes to potentially trigger competitive reactions, financial fears, relationship concerns, sudden resentments, fears about their own dreams, and so on.
Every single person’s response to your changes will be unique. Some will be excited for you and will cheer you all along the way. Others will not. It’s all par for the course.
Jennifer was employed by a national company as a regional manager leading a number of thriving networking groups for small business owners.
An introvert by nature, she found an unexpected and surprising passion for networking and loved being the leader of all the groups. However, as she ventured deeper into her passion for the business, she found her spiritual philosophies about networking were not in alignment with the organization employing her. Upon realizing that she was living out of alignment with her inner values, she concluded that something had to give.
After much soul-searching and exploring options, Jennifer determined that she needed to step away from the safety of the “job” to design the kind of networking organization her heart demanded she create. It was a tremendous risk for her to take(as she had no other income source or desirable career prospects) and it was not something she felt she could discuss with her employer or the groups she led.
Instead, Jennifer had to accept that her choice to achieve the dream would likely cause shock, pain and anger for others. She had to hold compassion in her heart for them and fortify herself to weather the firestorm of ripple effects that ensued for more than a year after she took the leap to create her own organization.
How was she able to muster the courage to take this leap? Deep inside, Jennifer knew there was no other option for her, no other thing she wanted to do. She had to leap into the fire, weather the storm, and give it everything she had inside of herself.
Jennifer now runs networking organizations in several states. She continues to achieve her dreams by delivering her unique brand of networking training and opportunities to adoring members.
Now I am going to reveal to you the ALL-TIME, SCARIEST thing about pursuing your long-held dreams. Quiver, if you must.
Your dream sucks, you are a fraud and no one gives a crap.
Gasp! It’s what every heartfelt dreamer fears the most – that you or your heartfelt pursuit will fail.
In fact, you might fear this SO MUCH that you QUIT before you even BEGIN! Achieve dreams? Bah humbug!
If you’ve NEVER tested yourself in the pursuit of a passion, terror may be flooding your heart at the very idea of going for your dreams. (How dare you attempt something you love!)
- If you’ve failed miserably in past pursuits, you might be replaying a vicious mental loop video of all the hardest moments and struggles you suffered. (You just know you might really suck again and people will laugh at you.)
- If you have lots of interests, you may feel immobilized over the notion that you might choose the WRONG pursuit! (Oh, the horror!)
- Or, if your passionate interest fails to align with any existing jobs or obvious market demand, you might be thinking ‘Why even bother?’.
There can be all sorts of mental reasons (lack of experience, crippling fears, past failures, lack of clarity) and market reasons (economic downturn, market not interested in your offer, your idea is before its time, industry contraction) that things might not work out.
Let’s face it. This really does happen – and often enough that it should make you squirm in your chair.
But, here’s the SECRET WAY TO WIN, regardless:
How to Still Achieve Dreams
The more passionate the purpose or dream is to you, the lesser your chance of failing.
This brings us right back to the ‘Whole Body Commitment’ thing. When you make the upfront effort to zero in on what makes you want to LEAP OUTTA BED every morning, you cannot fail.
Your first few ventures, projects or job opportunities toward this dream might fail at taking you the distance. However, the more you choose to let those experiences teach you and the more you reach down to grab the deepest essence of that sensed purpose, the more you will find the time, the money, the connections, the opportunities, the shifts and maneuvers, and the miracles to help you achieve your dream.
With each snag, you have to keep the faith that it’s preparing you for something even better in the future. You usually cannot see the path you will take because it’s so full of future twists, turns, and backups. Besides, you are not yet ready for all it entails in this moment.
So, move slow and steady. Move with consistency and fearlessness. Follow the clues and the signs that will inevitably appear, and let the obstacles be your greatest teachers.
And, gobble up and swallow down those fears and discomforts. (We ALL have them in one area, or another!) They are your humble pie. Use them to your advantage. They are your necessary growth mechanisms and teachers on your path to success.
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