It’s a hobby of mine to ask people about the secret dreams they’ve given up on. As a childhood witness to adult disappointments, I learned there is no better guarantee of failure than to succumb to one of these 5 all-star reasons for letting your dreams go unfulfilled. It’s almost as if people with chronically unfulfilled dreams have substituted the reason for not doing it for the thing itself, so attached do they become to that reality, instead of putting their energy into creating the one they desire.
Bottom line: Success is never guaranteed. But you can guarantee failure by continuing to not take action on your dreams. How wrong would you like to be? Do you recognize any of these?
I don’t know how to do it.
Of course you don’t! The good news is, you don’t have to know everything in advance. (When was the last time that happened?) The myth is that the people who succeed have some kind of special knowledge or insider info. But the truth is, everybody starts somewhere, many people have false starts, and the ones who make it just keep going until they get it right. And THEN we learn about them, and it appears to be something that just popped into place, when actually they’ve traveled a long road to get to where they are. What to do: Brainstorm a list of steps you’ll need to take in order to begin. Study your list until it becomes clear which one is the actual starting point. Hint: It’s the one that doesn’t require any of the other steps to happen first. Then, do that step. If you have to, break it down into a series of micro steps to create momentum. Micro steps count. Celebrate each one as if you’ve just crossed the finish line of a marathon.
I don’t have the resources to do it.
Broken record time: Of COURSE you don’t have the resources to do it! I’m reading a ridiculous story written in 1922 about three privileged boys who get into some kind of excitement. What could possibly hold my attention throughout this book I don’t know, because the first 3 chapters have been real yawners. You know why? The 3 boys in the book all have unlimited resources. Where is the challenge in that? I mean, who cares what happens to these guys? They’ll always be able to buy their way out of it or lean on connections. They have resources. You, not so much. But don’t worry, you will develop them. Honestly, you don’t know what you’ll need until you start the process. What a concept. What to do: See step one. Just get started. As you negotiate the steps, part of what you’ll master will be getting the resources you need. Another great myth is that people who accomplish things do so on their own. You will have to create partnerships, ask for help and excite people about your project. Start now. Your commitment needs to be solid when you reach your next hurdle.
Somebody else has done it before me and better than I could.
Well, okay, so you want to do what someone else has already done. Do you want to do it to be the inventor of it, or for the experience of doing it? Do you need it to be the best, or simply something you accomplished? Does someone else’s achievement negate yours? Is there room for only one? After you get clear on why you want to do this, and you’re sure it’s for the experience, not to be the best in the world, here’s what to do: Find the person who’s done it first and better and find out how they did it. They are a gold mine of information and resources. Instead of seeing a competitor, see an ally. After all, this is someone who shared your dream and made it happen. They might be eager to help you avoid some of the mistakes they made. And p.s., somebody else is going to come along after you and do it even better.
I’ll never make it.
Again, examine your motives. Is “making it” your motivator? As I wrote in a previous article, at least 50% of making it is out of our control. Once you’ve cleared that up, stop predicting failure and get into action. You absolutely will not make it if you fail to act. And now’s an excellent time to make sure you really want what you think you want. A good exercise to do in case you’re not sure is the “and then what?” exercise. Pretend you’ve achieved your dream. What would you do then? I want to be a famous author. After that, I’d travel around collecting stories from interesting people and writing them. Guess what? I don’t have to wait to become famous to do what I want to do! I can do that first, and maybe, just maybe, the fame will come. But I will have fulfilled the part that I definitely can do. And maybe that dream of fame was only a stand-in for what I really wanted: to take myself seriously and commit to doing what my heart is telling me I would love and enjoy.Maybe your dream of fame is a stand-in for what you really want: to take yourself seriously & commit to doing what your heart would love and enjoy. Click To Tweet
It’s too late.
File this under “Summer’s half over!” and “I can’t believe in 6 weeks it’ll be Christmas!” It’s only too late if you say it is. But, you protest, “I’m old, slow, over the hill, out of the loop.” So…get into the loop. Whether you have a couple of decades of a couple of months left to your life, you can either decide to drop out or keep living until it’s over. “It’s too late” is one of those subtle confidence busters that keep us from taking action on our dreams. The way you can tell it’s a distraction is there’s nothing constructive you can do to make it go away. It merely springs back in another form, an inarguable, slippery, exhausting point of view that begs to be given into. Or ignored. What to do: Keep moving toward your dreams. If it really is too late to achieve the whole thing, is it time to give it up peacefully? If you don’t feel peaceful about letting it go, then it’s not time. Keep focused on what you can do today. Tomorrow is an unknown for all of us. I’d like to be able to say I’m struggling with different challenges than today’s when and if tomorrow rolls around.
Want to jump start your dream? Download my free ebook, Happily Creative: How to Become a Happy Creative in Just 30 Days! The first 10 pages give you tools for handling confidence busters, and the remainder is a 30-day guided experience in doing something everyday toward your creative dreams.