Do you dream of doing something spectacular, something important, something beyond the normal nine-to-five job? Maybe, like me, you dream of writing a book. Maybe you dream of dancing, or painting, or sailing around the world. Maybe you dream of making an impact by helping the homeless or orphans. Or maybe you dream of learning a foreign language, like French. Or maybe you simply dream of losing weight. Everybody dreams of something, even if it only seems like a pie-in-the-sky kind of dream. Whatever your dream is, I believe you can and should reach for your dreams.
Twenty years ago, I decided to quit teaching and become a writer. Twenty years! I can’t believe this is the anniversary year of that pinnacle decision. It changed my life in so many ways. So after pursuing my dream for 20 years, and publishing many books, I hope I have a little bit of knowledge from the hard knocks I’ve suffered and the mountains I’ve managed to climb to offer you hope and encouragement on your journey, whether that’s writing or climbing Mt. Everest.
One thing I’ve learned: sitting around and dreaming will not put you on the path to making that dream a reality. You have to get up, you have to take tiny steps forward in chasing down that dream.
The first year I taught school, there was a teacher two doors down from my classroom. She’d been teaching thirty years. The same grade. The same classroom. Now, don’t get me wrong. Teaching is a noble profession. I admire teachers. I was one. But teaching was not my dream. For some, that is their dream and I honor that. The fact was: I didn’t know then what my dream was. And maybe you don’t either. But maybe you simply feel like: what if there’s more…what if I’m missing out on something. That’s how I felt when I thought of myself in the same classroom for thirty years. One person’s dream can also be another person’s nightmare. So teaching the same grade for thirty years scared me more than the risk of trying to find what my dream might be. So during my five years of teaching, I tried to figure out what my dream might be.
So if you don’t know what your dream is, fine. Simply commit to finding out what your dream is so you can pursue it. If you do know what your dream is, then decide today that you’re going to go for it. Because that’s the first step in pursuing your dream: making a decision.
Over the next few days, I’m going to tell you the five things it takes to pursue your dream. So today, the number one thing you need to do is: make a decision. No one can decide for you. No one can push you into it. That’s why you see kids rebelling when their parent decides they should be a football player (or cheerleader or sorority member) like the parent was. Sometimes parents push their kids into their own professions, like being a doctor or dentist or even a writer. But that desire has to come from within you. It can’t be external any more than a doctor saying, “you need to stop smoking or eating fried foods.” So the patient might attempt to stop smoking or to eat healthy but until that desire throbs within their own heart it won’t work. You simply have to decide you’re going to pursue your dream.
Twenty years ago, I made a decision to become a writer. I didn’t know anything about writing. I didn’t know anything about the business. I didn’t know anyone IN the business. I simply had a dream. And I made a decision. Are you ready to make that decision?
If you don’t know, it’s okay you can just say you don’t know but you’re going to find out. Resolve to find out. Maybe we’ll discover it together. Or if you know your dream, then decide today before it’s too late to pursue that dream. So what’s your dream?
Contest: I’m going to be giving away a book at the end of the week. To enter, just post a comment on my blog here. You can enter as many times as you would like.