We all had dreams while growing up. We all thought we could do anything then. We all wanted to be firemen, policemen, teachers, Superman and so on and so on. Ask any young child, and they would light up when they told you what they would like to be – they truly believe they can do anything. We all agree with them, and make them believe it.
We also had those dreams when we were kids, but somehow we lost them along the way. What happened to us as we grew into adulthood? Where did our dreams go? Why aren’t we doing all the great things we thought we could do as children?
When did we lose the fire in our eyes?
I was that child who thought I could do anything, but when life stepped in all that changed. I knew I wanted to become a writer, but I was told that was not and could never be a career. I was constantly told to follow in my cousin’s footsteps.
My cousin was an amazing accountant. She had made it to vice president at one the top five accounting firms at the time.
I worked hard in school, studying accounting like she did. Even though I didn’t like it at all, I did very well. I completed an MBA, the CPA and yet I felt like a failure.
Empty & Incomplete
I remember crying uncontrollably on the train on my way home from the final exam. I felt so very sad for myself. Who was I, and what was I going to do now? I had done all I was told to do but never what I wanted to do. I felt lost, empty and scared. I was incomplete.
I knew that I never wanted to become an accountant, but I was also a people pleaser. I would do anything to be liked and ignored how I felt.
If other people were happy, that was fine for me even if I was miserable. I was making my family happy living my cousin’s dream. If they were happy with my achievements, that was fine for me.
I lived another eight years being miserable. I dreaded going to work. I hated sitting for hours doing tax returns, auditing and compilations but felt it too late to make a change.
What do I do now with all that I achieved? I had listened to those whom I thought knew best even though I knew that was never my dream.
After years of dead-end jobs, layoffs and firings I decided to give up chasing someone else’s dream and live mine. It came after I watched a coworker suffer a near-fatal heart attack on the job. He recovered, thank God, but it caused me to think about things differently. It put life into perspective for me.
It was the most difficult decision I ever made, but it was needed for me to feel free. It wasn’t easy, because I had made a life for myself in accounting, but knew I needed to make a change and go after my dream.
What happened along life’s journey that caused that light in your eyes to no longer shine brightly? Were you discouraged along the way like I was or did the worries of life caused you to push your dreams aside?
Are you are living your dream? If not, whose is it?
Look at what you are doing now, and ask yourself if this is truly your dream? If not, you need to understand that you have a chance to go out and reclaim your dream.
Here are a few tips on how to go after your dreams:
1. Find Out What Excites You
What excites you when you talk about it? What would you do today happily, even if you weren’t being paid? That is what you were made to do.
Find a way to make it happen, and do not give up until you do. You might not have the financial resources to do so, but start out small and take steps that will take you in the direction of your dreams.
2. Make Your Dream Your Dream Career
Whatever it is you love and want to do, you can turn that into a career if you love it enough. We are living in a time where there is a market for everything you can dream of.
Technology has made the world so much smaller, and more people are reachable. There are no longer excuses. Do not settle for mediocrity.
Do not continue to fight so hard just to survive, when you could be living your dream. Do not play it safe anymore. Go out take a chance on your dream, and do everything you can to make it happen.
3. Take It One Day at A Time
Start out small, and do not give up your life entirely before you are secure enough to invest all of your time and energy into making it work for you. Be consistent.
Use your time wisely. Take classes, read a book or find yourself a mentor who will guide you and offer you tools that will help you to get you going.
It will take some time for your dream to come true. Remember you have been working all this time to make others’ dreams possible. Do not give up.
4. Remain Positive and Keep Dreaming
You must also remember that your dream will not come to fruition overnight. You must be committed and willing to work hard on it.
Do not give up dreaming even when things get tough. Remember your strugglesin your nine-to-five jobs and how hard it was for you to get the results you wanted?
Those dreams were someone else’s. Keep that in the back of your mind when you are having a bad day working on your dreams.
5. Avoid the Nayasayers
Work to remain positive at all times. Stay away from those who do not believe in you or your dreams.
You’ll have people in your life who don’t support you, or believe you can achieve your dreams. Some will make it known, but please don’t let that discourage you. Believe in yourself.
Find people who will encourage and motivate you to be your best. You are going to have bad days — more than you would want — but you must remember that if achieving your goals were easy, it would not mean much to you at all.
6. Be Prepared to Fail Before You Succeed
When you are determined to go after your dream, you will not allow anything to stop you or stand in your way. This means then you’ve got to be prepared to fail before you finally make it.
It’s a natural part of life. Failure doesn’t mean it is the end, just know you’ll have to pick yourself up and continue to work toward your ultimate goal.
There will be times where you’ll become sad and disheartened by the setbacks you have, but keep your eyes on what you want to achieve.
7. Remember It’s Never Too Late
It doesn’t matter how old you are; it is never too late to go after your dreams. You might have had a bad start in life, or you might be divorced and had to raise your children. Whatever the situation was for you, now is the time to go after your dream.
Don’t focus on what you didn’t have going for you but what you have now. Resist the temptation to self-loathe. Do not spend your time feeling sorry for yourself; use the time to work on making your dreams come to light.
8. Stop Focusing on Others
When you decide to go after your dreams, you are going to be tempted to compare yourself and achievements to others. If you truly want to see your dreams come to light, resist this temptation.
Remember that everybody has a different starting point, and we all have different resources to achieve goals. Instead, look for people with whom you can work. You will achieve more when you work with others than you could do by yourself.
In the end, the goal is to do what you love and find a way to make a living doing it. Do not think that you cannot achieve what you want. It is better to try and fail than never to have tried at all.
Remember, even if you do not succeed on your first attempt, you’ve learned so much more about yourself and about what you want to achieve. In the end, not only will you accomplish your goals but you will become a better person overall. You will have become someone who is stronger, more confident and fearless.