Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Going Against the Grain - 5 steps to achieving your dreams...

Have you ever had a dream, a desire, or a destiny you felt pulled to chase in your life?  Most people will answer that question with an emphatic yes.  Have you ever had a dream, a desire, or destiny in life that you pursued even when it meant encountering problems and going against the grain?  The emphatic yes answers to this question often decrease dramatically because people lose sight of their dream for one reason or another.  It can be a challenge to accomplish your dreams in life when you're faced with difficulties along the way, but learning how to press forward past the obstacles in your path allows you to make the dream a reality.

Here are 5 steps to achieving your dreams:

1.  Clarify - The first step to achieving your dream is to understand it, have a plan to achieve it, and be able to clearly communicate it to others.  If you aren't clear on where you're going or what you're doing then it will be impossible to have other people see your vision.  Next you've got to be able to share it with people in a way that they can see and understand the vision.  You can't expect people to get onboard with something when they're confused by the message.

In my own life I've struggled with this because my mind functions in a weird way at times.  I generally have numerous thoughts or ideas running through my head, and when I'm in a conversation I'm often processing my next response before I've even completed what I'm saying.  My wife has been my help throughout the years because she has alerted me in the moment, so I can focus and complete my sentence or train of thought.  Therefore, you've got to be able to explain your dream, hope, or vision in a way that others can see and support.  Taking this first step will get you moving toward achieving your dream.

2.  Identify - Once you are able to state clearly to others your intentions for changing the world you'll have to be ready for their opposition.  What you do next is crucial to failure or success.  In those moments it's easy to lose heart when the people you love and respect in your life don't seem to support your dream, but before you become disheartened you have to be willing to identify the cause for their reaction.

Is this someone who may have a legitimate argument or a rational reason they're questioning your hopes and dreams?  There's two sides to every coin, and in life there are many ways to look at a situation.  Therefore, you need to consider what they're saying, and does it have any validity.  If so, does that mean you need to alter your dream or just decide to agree to disagree?  That is a question you'll have to answer for yourself.  Chasing your dream will be difficult, but when you can prepare for problems and be proactive, it's much easier to quickly avert disaster along the way.  Therefore, take the time when you encounter negativity on your path to vet it for validity, so you can continue moving forward on the path to achieving your dream.

3.  Isolate - Have you ever done Spring cleaning or just went through your closet to make a Goodwill trip?  Sadly, this also can apply to relationships in our lives.  When we chase our dreams in life there may be those who don't want us to succeed by either withholding their support or verbalizing their disagreement.  Even though we may have tried to understand and respect the other viewpoint, there are times when we have to stand up for ourselves by not being anyone's doormat.  At these times you may have to isolate the negativity in your life by cutting off communication, minimizing visits, or ending a bad relationship.  The negativity can kill your dream, and can be like sitting in a dark room that becomes lighter as your eyes adjust.  If you don't isolate the opposition to your dream, you may become convinced they're right and your dream will die.  Theodore Roosevelt put it nicely, "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do!  That is character!" 

4.  Surround In order to stay on track in achieving your dream you have to avoid the negativity, but you also have to surround yourself with like-minded people who can understand your need to pursue your passion.  You have to find others who look at the world and it's problems as opportunities to make it a better place.  That requires finding avenues to fuel that smoldering ember within you, so that it can ignite into a raging fire that has the ability to burn fiercely in your soul until you achieve your dream.  Some of the ways that I find to stoke the fire are to join networking groups, to write a blog with the hope of inspiring others, to listen or read books that speak to my personal growth, and to seek out the chance to encourage others in chasing their dreams. 

5.  Push Forward - A dream will remain just that unless we take action to make it come true.  How will you do that today?  I just about let a dream die myself today because I wasn't going to take the action necessary to make it a reality, but then I decided to push through.  I know you have the same challenges.  Maybe it's trying to balancing your family life, responsibilities at work, and remaining healthy all while trying to find the time and the energy to pursue your dream.  To make our dreams a reality we have to dig down and push forward. 

In the Marine Corps we often called this intestinal fortitude.  Sounds insane, but I saw it first-hand as an infantry medic (Navy Corpsman) on a number of occasions.  Guys would be writhing in pain from the challenge they were facing, but looked deep inside to find the will to push forward.  All of us have that ability, but it's just finding how to dig down and release that energy.

One way to find that hidden reserve is to remember why the dream is important.  Why is the dream important to you?  Whose life is it going to impact in a powerful way?  If the dream dies who will miss the benefit of your vision?  Maybe it takes putting a picture on your mirror in the morning, or choosing a quote to put on your phone wallpaper, or choosing a phrase you can say during the day to keep you moving forward.  Somehow you have to use that special something that makes you see your dream everyday, and imagine how life will be for you and others when you finally PUSH Forward to make it a reality.

I hope and know we both have the ability to not only chase our dreams, but make them a reality that will change lives for the better.  Choose to go against the grain today, and achieve your dreams!


Here are some quotes from some other's that followed their dreams:

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.Henry David Thoreau

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars
to change the world.Harriet Tubman

No one has ever achieved anything from the smallest to the greatest unless the dream was dreamed first.
Laura Ingalls Wilder

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.
Lyrics from Already Gone,
performed by the Eagles
for their 1974 On the Border album

Best Wishes,


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Thanks for visiting. I would love to hear your thoughts. Take care, Dave.