Dreamers get a bad rap, but without us the earth would not spin. If names like Walt Disney, J.K. Rowling or Susan Boyle just popped into your head, rest assured you can stay closer to home. If it’s not the face staring back at you in the mirror, then I bet you know someone with the talent and desire to write a book or blog, make music, paint, launch a business, invent, or do some other bright-and-shiny thing beyond punching in at a nine-to-five until the day they die.
Unfortunately, dreamers get talked out of dreams by dream-sucking vampires with too much time and negative energy on their hands.
Dreamers can also get a little lost on their own too under the weight of setbacks, stalls and life in general.
Although it may be challenging at times to hold onto your vision, if you really, really, really want something, you have to GO GET IT. So what if it takes a minute? A long, long time from now when someone’s wiping the drool off your wrinkly face, you could be wearing a huge silly grin as you remember how you fearlessly chased your dream…and caught it.
My challenge to you for 2014 (and beyond) is to Go. For. It. Here are ten tips to steer your success:
1. Shhh! Don’t tell everyone. Unless you share with a Dream Keeper—someone who believes in your vision—your heart’s desire may land in the ears of a Dream Vampire—someone mysteriously bent on sucking the life out of it. They will question your sanity, qualifications, odds or all of the above. Avoid them like garlic before a hot date or they will crush your spirit. One day, I may have the following t-shirt printed for dreamers to ward off Dream Vampires:
You’re only delusional until your dream comes true
2. Commit. I tend to fall in the high-drive camp. On any given day, I’m typically either all in or asleep. Subsequently, I’ve had two books published, authored articles and songs, and ran several side hustles. This year, in addition to blogging, I will pitch two finished novel manuscripts while I pen a third. At the root of my über productivity lays a solid commitment to my writing life. Even bone-tired from a long day at the office, I still come home, splash cold water on my face or run in place like I’m at football training camp and sit at my keyboard for an hour to write that non-negotiable page a day. At the end of a year, I have a lot to show for my effort. What will you have to show for 2014 if you don’t commit?
3. Focus on what you want. Like a dog on a t-bone steak. It’s not how or when dreams come true. It’s WHAT you do with your time and talent to leave your legacy. Coming up with a plan is a large part of that since it will focus you with GPS-like precision. For years, I’ve lived by time-management expert Brian Tracy’s simple, practical advice for making things happen. Make a list of necessary actions, prioritize them, and work the list every day. Big dreams require a lot of small steps, so keep at it.
4. Failure isn’t failure if you tried. Sometimes dreams don’t pan out quickly. Come to think of it, do you know a single (real) person who is freakishly good at instant manifestation? Me either, but I do know how important it is to keep trying. Thomas Edison summed up his many attempts to invent the light bulb this way: “I have not failed, I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
Dream-building is a game of endurance, so are you willing to try and try again? After enough rejection slips to wallpaper my bedroom, two of my books were published, and I had more than my fifteen-minutes of fame on radio, TV, and newspapers. Although it didn’t pan into guest appearances, CNN and Oprah Show producers also rang. None of that would have ever happened if I hadn’t kept writing.
Too, part of your success will be to persistently pursue your dream because it makes you happy, gives you a sense of purpose or helps others.
5. Stay Inspired. Motivation follows inspiration, so for an endless stream of encouragement to help you go the distance, bookmark inspirational websites and blogs. Here are a few of my favorites:
Keep your goals—written or visual— in your face, along with uplifting quotes and such. Also, frequently visualize the people who will benefit from your efforts because any dream worth its stardust is never, ever all about you.
6. Keep your day job so the stress of not being able to pay your mortgage and eat doesn’t dampen your drive or creativity, and you don’t resort to leaching off other people who have kept theirs. It doesn’t make you a sell-out, just a smart cookie mixing practicality with imagination as a means to a dream-filled end.
Day jobs do, however, cut down on time available for, you know, actual dream-building, but, face it, there was never going to be enough time anyway. There is, however, plenty of time to do the things that matter, even if you have to do them in thirty-minute increments, after work or on the weekends. Especially if you nix big time-drains like mindless TV or Internet surfing and saying yes to EVERYTHING.
7. Do what you love and damn the money. Only people with day jobs have the luxury of this attitude, so again, KEEP YOUR DAY JOB. If you do what you love without being over-attached to the pot of gold at rainbow’s end, you’ll be happy, fruitful, and proud of you the whole journey while building muscles of risk-taking, relentlessness and determination that enrich your entire life to the nth degree.
8. Don’t crap on your dreams. Trust me, the Dream Vampires have got this covered, so no friendly fire. Vigilantly protect and pump your vision and keep your head-language positive and encouraging. I can do this…I will do this…I am doing this. Believe. Whatever spark you bring forward while working your dream will lift you and those around since dream-building is way more inspiring than doing blasé, zombie things you won’t even remember next week.
P.S. Don’t crap on anyone else’s dream either. Bad karma.
9. Reward yourself. Twice a month I shamelessly spend a few hours at my favorite Korean day spa, watch Star Trek re-runs in my PJs, or have a play date with my three-year old niece who is all magic. After you’ve met a small milestone, indulge in something reward-like to you. You have to earn it though.
10. Go for it every time, with all of your heart. Follow your dreams, spend your talent, and create your own adventure. If some bright-and-shiny thing is stirring in your soul, juice yourself up and get to it. Every time. Your gutsy pursuit will keep life interesting and help you leave an inspiring legacy.
To your success!