Goals. Hopes. Dreams. There is something within us that always wants and wishes for more. We have an idea about what we want in our lives and think about this dream often. Sometimes it keeps us up at night as we make our plans and hope that one day we will reach our goal. So why do only a few of us follow our dreams while the rest of us sit on the bench and watch?
When I was a small child, I was always writing stories. My parents knew all they needed to do to make me happy was give me a paper and a pen as a present and I would be on cloud 9. All I wanted to do was get out the story that was inside me. The only problem was, I didn’t know how to do it. I thought there was a right way to write.
I can recall putting the fresh pages of lined paper into the folder and creating my cover page. Sometimes I felt creative enough to draw the cover art, but in most cases, it was the title centred in the middle of the page and “written by” directly below it. The next page was “Chapter One” written in the header. I could not begin writing my story until I set up the proper structure.
Finally, I would start writing the content of the story and that is where it would fall apart. I would give up because it started to be too hard and I felt discouraged by being critical of my amateur writing. As a child, I didn’t have the understanding that my writing was not going to be perfect. I had set the bar too high, wanting to be like the adult authors I admired. I didn’t have the motivation to put in the work that I needed to become the writer I wanted to be.
Set The Right Expectations
When you read the stories of those who were successful at achieving their dreams, their stories take place over 18 months or longer. Most stories of success describe an average timeline of around 5 years. While at first that sounds discouraging, it is actually helpful. By listening to their stories, you can set yourself up to have the right expectations. You can’t expect overnight success. Arming yourself with the knowledge that it will take time, you can pace your efforts and let yourself be content with a slow build. Your dream will happen, but it will take time.
Your Dream Will Take Work
The odds are against you that you will wake up to finding a million dollars in your bank account without out taking any action (such as buying a lottery ticket). The only reason you could find a million dollars in your bank account without earning it would be because of a bank error or the passing of a rich relative. If it was because of a bank error, the money will be taken back. If it was because of a rich relative, they were the ones that worked for that million dollars. Someone had to work for it.
In order for you to achieve your dream, you need to act. You can’t just think about it. You can’t say “some day I will…”. Just saying you are going to do something will not help you reach your goal. Every day, you need to choose to work on your dream and put in the effort.
Every Day, Position Yourself Closer To Your Dream
Look at what you’re doing every day. Are you finding time in your day to practice your dream or invest energy toward it? Are you taking a class or reading a book that will help you understand the steps you need to be taking? Closely examine your activities to determine which ones are adding value toward achieving your dream and which ones aren’t.
For me, writing a novel does not just mean sitting in front of a computer and typing. It involves understanding audiences, story structure, building characters, learning about the publishing process and marketing…. There was plenty about writing that I had never fully considered. I set aside time to research and learn. I can now look back and see what I have accomplished and know I am one step closer to accomplishing my dream.
A dream doesn’t have to stay a dream. Don’t discourage yourself by saying you don’t have the knowledge to accomplish it. Start learning and move one step closer.
Act. Learn. Do. Don’t just dream.