We all have dreams, and so we should, they can be a driving force, a goal we work hard towards achieving, learning and gaining invaluable experiences along the way. Realising your dreams is a hard enough undertaking from the outset, and believing the following false truths will only make it harder.
Expecting overnight success
We’ve all heard the success stories; young entrepreneurs that, within a matter of days, go from anonymous entities to wealthy, overnight sensations, and we’ve all thought at some point, “Why couldn’t that be me?”. What these sensationalist stories fail to cover however, are the hours, weeks, months, and years of hard work that went into crafting the success. The sleepless nights, the moments of destitute and despair, and all the prior failures that had to be learnt from, before that entrepreneur was able to make their dream a reality.
“Dreams don’t work unless you do” – a quote by American author John C. Maxwell that couldn’t be more true. It takes hard work to realise your dreams, and believing otherwise, accepting stories of overnight successes as fact, will get in the way of you doing so.
Believing someone else has the answers
When chasing your dreams, and traversing new, unknown waters, it stands to reason that you will look for, and hopefully receive assistance. Accepting a helping hand from someone with more experience, or skills you need, is an important step towards reaching your goal. However, it is important to draw distinctions between seeking a little help, and shirking responsibility.
When you are working towards making your dreams a reality, you can’t expect someone else to have all the answers. Important decisions have to be made by you, and you alone. There will be forks in the road, multiple options to choose between, you will make mistakes, and you know what, that’s ok. Famous German physicist Albert Einstein said; “Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new”. Mistakes are simply opportunities to learn which ways don’t work, and use that experience to successfully move forward by finding the ways that do.
Resting on your laurels
You’ve worked hard and have achieved a certain amount of success, now it’s time to sit back and rake in the fruit of your labour, right? Not exactly. Sure, you should be proud of any success you achieve, and bask in it, however never rest on your laurels.
If you want to make your dreams a reality, you should be constantly looking to leverage your success to reach further heights. Set new goals, and use current successes as a springboard to launch yourself towards them. Always aspire to conquering new heights, and never settle, because if you do, you will find your dreams harder to realise.
Blaming everyone but yourself
As mentioned above there is nothing against getting a helping hand when chasing your dreams, in fact it is encouraged, but you must bear in mind that just because there are other people involved, it doesn’t mean that it’s their fault if things go wrong.
Just like taking responsibility for making the important decisions, it is your dream after all, you must also be willing to take responsibility when things go awry. Looking for someone to blame for why things didn’t work out is as much an obstacle to realising your dreams, as not being willing to chase them in the first place. It isn’t the market’s fault if your product doesn’t sell, there is always a way to sell a good product, one that meets a need or solves a problem, you just have to find it. It isn’t the fault of your partners or employees if the quality of the service or product you are providing isn’t up to standard, you need to identify where in the process a mistake was made, why, and what can be done to fix it.
Believing the only thing that matters is the dream itself
We all need a dream to work towards, ambition, something to drive us, and give us purpose, but assuming that the dream itself is the only thing that matters can actually get in the way of realising it.
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it” – a quote by American author Greg Anderson which fits in perfectly with the idea of chasing your dreams. The real value in this undertaking is the journey, what you learn throughout, and the experiences you take away from it. So don’t place all the importance on the dream itself, but rather, soak up the value of the road that leads you to realising it.
You should never let anyone stop you from realising your dreams, and that includes yourself. Dispelling belief in the five false truths mentioned above will put you on the right track towards achieving your goals, and hopefully, surpassing them.