You Have Dreams. Get Started Today.
You have dreams. You’re not sure how to turn those dreams into reality. You may doubt yourself. You procrastinate. You think to yourself, “Once I ____________, then I’ll be ready.” Just fill in the blank with whatever is true for you. Once you return to school, once you save enough money, get out of debt, get into/out of a relationship, finish the project, move to another state, or get your kids through college, then you will be ready to pursue your dreams. We all have something to fill in the blank, something that keeps us from moving forward with our dreams.
Think about what it is for you that holds you back. Then, commit to yourself that you won’t let it. Underneath most reasons we give for putting off our dreams are fear and our lack of self-confidence. We create unrealistically high expectations and the old friend, perfectionism, serves to keep us stuck. My desire is for you to get unstuck and to move in the direction of your dreams. If you can’t leap, then take one tiny step at a time.
I learned a valuable lesson when I started my first blog, The Social Scholar, in 2016. I learned that if I wanted my dreams to come true, I simply had to start. In my case, it was the first time I was writing publicly about social issues I care about. I had dreamed of using my voice for good, but I didn’t really know my voice. I questioned whether what I had to say was of value, was it any different from what others were already saying? I wondered how people would react, if I could live up to their expectations. It was really my own expectations that stood in the way. Those thoughts, overthinking my dream, questioning my abilities and value, stopped me from moving forward with my dream. Then one day, in defiance, I started to blog anyway. I made up my mind that if it was horrible, at least I could say I tried. I wrote for myself first and let go of the fear of judgment from others. I made a deal with myself. I said if my writing reaches only one person and moves them to take action, then I would have succeeded. I discovered that the more I wrote and published my writing, the easier it became to find my voice, to feel confident, to connect with my likeminded tribe, and to realize my dream of educating others about the social inequities impacting the lives of Black and Brown people, especially those living in poverty. I succeeded because I decided to just start.
I’ve applied this valuable lesson to my other dreams as well. Whenever I find myself hesitating, procrastinating, overthinking, comparing, or lacking confidence, I simply begin.
What is a dream you have for your life that you’ve yet to start? What is holding you back? Should it?
Here are 4 things you can take away from my blog example that might be helpful to you:
1. Be honest with yourself as to the reason you’re not pursuing your dream.
You might find, as I did, that once you name the reason(s) you’re not pursuing your dream, it loses power. I found that not knowing my voice was completely understandable because I had never used my voice publicly to speak about social issues. The only way I would find my voice and gain confidence was to begin using it.
2. Just start; and start small.
Identify a small step that you can take to begin. Lower the barrier to entry. Defy ego. Don’t think about what you want your dream to look like fully expressed. That might be too intimidating and could keep you from beginning. Thinking too far ahead could also limit your imagination of what could be. Instead, think about what may be easy to implement out of the gate, knowing you will iterate and progress over time. The way will open as you start moving. Let your dream flow. Believe.
3. Refrain from comparing yourself with others.
Social comparison has stopped many people from pursuing their dreams because it assaults and devalues the novice in them, the adventurer, and their unique contribution. Resist the urge to compare your beginning with someone else’s perfected craft years into the making. Learn from them, yes, but do not measure yourself with another’s yardstick. This is your dream, and no one can live your dream better than you. Ralph Waldo Emerson was correct in saying, “Every artist was first an amateur.” Allow yourself to learn and grow as you live your dream. Keep your expectations in check. Just expect to keep moving forward. That’s it.
4. Remember why you have the dream in the first place.
Knowing your why can serve as a powerful motivator and sustainer. For me, I care deeply about the issues affecting the lives of Black and Brown people, and especially the poor. Literally, I want everyone to find and live their Aha! Lives. I believe we all deserve joy, purpose and fulfillment during our time here.
I thought if I could create a blog that kept people within my expanding network informed about the issues and the importance of social activism, I could inspire them to get involved. Together, we could help improve lives. My “why” propelled me to overcome any self-doubt I had about establishing and using my voice for societal good.
I believe these four tips can help you move in the direction of your dreams. Since my first blog launched in 2016, I have gone on to establish a new blog site (Your Aha! Life) with articles like this one, a podcast, private Facebook group and other social media channels. I also speak publicly on topics that help others to live their best lives, and I am still a social activist. It’s part of the way I live my Aha! Life. I am living my dream, and I’m excited about what’s yet to come. I hope my example inspires you to pursue your dreams and to watch what else unfolds because you made the decision to just start.
If you enjoyed reading this article, check out more like this by going to my website Your Aha! Life. Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter and receive your free gift that will help you discover your life purpose. If you’d like to be surrounded by a community of people who are on the journey to living their best lives, consider joining my private Facebook group, The Aha! Community. You can now also follow me on Instagram @tonya.yourahalife or on my YouTube channel Tonya Harris Cornileus. I look forward to getting to know you.