Is your dream stuck in the back of a drawer, crammed in there with all the other detritus of your life? Or do you feel that the essence of your dream is so overwhelming that it could never really happen? You are not alone. Many people struggle with how to take their desires and dreams out of their heads and hearts into reality. You don’t have to be one of them as long as you know what might be getting in the way and how to deal with it.
Here is a list of some of the things that have gotten in the way of my dreams and how I’ve tried to blast past them. I hope it helps shed some light on your blockages so you can take one more step (even if it’s a little one) toward your dreams.
We tend to preoccupy ourselves with being busy. It almost seems like a badge of honor for some people. For me, my challenge has been learning how to say “no” to projects or opportunities that don’t align with my ultimate dream. Sometimes it is hard to know, especially when it sounds cool but as soon as I discover that it’s not for me, I don’t waste time on my part or the other people involved and tell them I can’t commit my time anymore. At first I thought people would be upset with me for bowing out or saying no but surprisingly they weren’t.
Tip: Take the time to make sure new activities, tasks, and projects align with your dream. If they don’t, then stop doing them.
5. Trying to Boil the Ocean
You may have a huge dream, the size of the ocean even, but you aren’t going to to accomplish that all at once. Sure, it’s okay to want to do the impossible but you’ve got to sprinkle in some reality there too. I tried to do this when I first starting looking at publishing my own book. I was going to learn how to do EVERYTHING myself…and as quickly as possible. What I ended up doing was wasting time on things that weren’t writing and it took me much longer than it would have to finish my first draft. I also realized that I was making it much harder than it had to be trying to become an “expert” at things that weren’t in my skill set.
Tip: Keep you big vision in sight but focus on the steps that you need to take you in the right direction. Also, if you’re not good at something and it’s not directly tied to your dream, hire a professional. Don’t try and do it yourself.
Why would you want to do that? You aren’t being practical. I’ll believe it when I see it. Every heard any of these phrases when you tell people about your dream? If you haven’t, you will. I’ve heard them all and plenty more. The people in your life who say these things aren’t trying to shatter your dreams, they’re trying to protect you (unless they are just evil…and you gotta ask yourself why is this person in my life then). Not everyone is brave enough to follow their dreams because there are risks involved. Most people don’t like taking risks, no matter what the potential gains may be. What you need is a dream team. Find people who support your dream who aren’t just cheerleaders. You need people who will tell you like it is in order to help you and guide you. I’m lucky that most of the people in my life do this already but I did seek out successful indie authors and connected with them. I still do.
Tip: Align yourself with people who are living your dream and ask them to mentor you. Most people will be glad to help you.
3. Skewed Perception of Time
I’ve said this before in this post but we all have 24 hours in a day. So how is it that some people can get an exorbitant amount accomplished and some can’t even get their hair brushed in the same amount of time? It all comes down to choice. Every minute you’re making choices about how you spend your precious time. When I got stuck in that, “I don’t have time to write” crap, I finally realized that I was doing it to myself. Instead of writing, I’d watch TV, organize my sock drawer, or sleep in. Yes, there are only 24 hours in a day and you get to choose how you spend them. See #1 in this list as a guide for saying “no” to things.
Tip: Think about how you REALLY spend your time (hello Facebook or binge TV watching?). I guarantee you’ll find some to pursue your dream when you get honest with yourself.
2. Your Health
Whatever your dreams may be, if you’re sick, out of shape, or exhausted all the time you won’t be able to go after them with gusto. You don’t have to become a vegan or Jillian Michaels either but you need your body, mind, and spirit operating smoothly. I sometimes suffer from depression and when I’m in that dark hole, I can hardly function let alone write. I know this about myself so I practice good health habits. Excessive drinking or drug use doesn’t make you more creative either. In the long run, you’re going to have health problems which won’t get you any closer to your dreams.
Tip: Take care of yourself by eating well, exercising, and surrounding yourself with the things that give you joy and energy.
Self sabotage is the number one thing that gets in the way of your dreams. Forms of self sabotage can include: procrastination, laziness, addiction, denial, rationalization, fear, and much more. I know because I’ve done them all. I’ve always wanted to be an author but it took me 30 years to get out of my own way. I had to face all these challenges and figure out how to overcome them to get where I am: a published author. You are you own greatest enemy. But you can get a point where you see how you are sabotaging your dreams and take that first brave step toward making them happen. I did it. You can too.
Tip: Baby steps lead to a life of moving around in all directions. Start small and build from there. The hardest part is starting but once you do that, you’ll realize you don’t ever want to stop.