When the Dream Does Not Go The Way You Thought
Reading motivational and goal-oriented books all speak about chasing your dream. I love reading them. They encourage us to move forward. These authors tell the reader it isn’t wrong to go after that dream we’ve had to be a success. As a matter of fact, they almost say we’d be doing ourselves and the world a disservice if we let this dream remain just a thought. So, we set out to make the dream a reality. We put the dream on a post-it note and place it on the mirror so it’s the first thing we see in the morning while brushing our teeth. We dress for success and hang around successful people all because “success breeds success.” Our dream is well on its way to becoming real.
But what happens when the dream fails. We do everything those books say we must do. We work hard for this dream only to realize we’re just spinning our wheels. All those successful people we’ve been hanging with continue to be successful, but it isn’t rubbing off on us. What are we doing wrong? Why aren’t we successful like we thought we should be? Should I give up? We can ask ourselves tons of questions about why our dream fails. We can get depressed, listen to the naysayers, and give up or we can step back, take a breath then re-evaluate everything.
Re-evaluate the Dream
When it comes to re-evaluating, it must begin with the dream itself. Is it really something you want? Are you passionate about it? There are a lot of dreams we have which are just a dream. I’d like to be a movie star, astronaut, rich, etc. But the question to ask yourself is, “Am I passionate about this dream?” Passion for something is the difference between success and failure. If you’re not passionate for your dream, then why pursue it? Stephen King, J.K. Rowlings, Tom Clancey are household names because they were passionate about their genres of writing. Some of the top fictional literature is enjoyed by us all because they had a passion for their dream. As you begin to re-evaluate the dream, your first question in this process is about your passion.
While you are re-evaluating your dream and the passion you have, another part would be, does this passion drive you to accomplish you dream? This drive pushes you, even on the days you don’t feel like doing anything. The amount of drive you have can be the difference between success and people wondering if you even have a job. You may get discouraged but it’s this drive for your dream which lifts you from the pit of despair and elevates you to the mountain of triumph.
In a recent interview, comedian Drew Carey relayed his journey to becoming the host of The Price Is Right. His passion was to be a comedian and let nothing stand in his way. Then his dream transformed from being a comedian to being an entertainer to the gameshow host. When you re-evaluate your dream, perhaps your dream needs to transform. Drew’s core dream is still the same, it has just transformed into what it is today. The same can be said of yours. But a word of warning – let it transform naturally. If not, then it will be forced, and a failed dream may once again be in your future.
Re-evaluate the Skills
Every dream requires skills of some kind and every person has a skill/gifts/talents, the Bible even addresses this in 1 Peter 4:10. However, we need to evaluate the skills we have and if they are viable for the dream. Discouragement comes to play when we either doubt our skills or focus on our weaknesses. In his book, Find Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham, lets us know our weaknesses will never become our strengths. We may improve them, but they will not be a strength. Recently, Buckingham said, “Most people are more fascinated by who they aren't and how to fix it, instead of who they are and how to leverage it.” He also wrote, “You will excel only by maximizing your strengths, never by fixing your weaknesses.” Your strength is where your dream actually comes from. Your skills are also derived from here. These strengths are what build you up, never tear you down. You look forward to using them each day.
Your natural skills are born out of these strengths, which, in most cases, your dream is born. However, when something doesn’t really go our way, where do we look first, or place the blame? Either we begin focusing on our weaknesses or questioning our skills, then discouragement sets in. Remove your weakness train of thought when re-evaluating your dream. It really plays no role and you won’t really grow from it. Focus on your strengths, your skills.
I heard a speaker once talk about people and what they were good at. Most of the time you know exactly where your skills are. He went on to say, you may be a diamond in the rough and all this means is you need some polishing. Natural abilities can be developed, so perhaps, as your dream “failed,” you just need a bit more polishing. Where does this polishing come from? Perhaps you need to take a seminar, watch some YouTube videos pertaining to your skills, read a book/articles or bite the bullet and go back to school.
Re-evaluate the Cost
You’re sitting there thinking, I’ve done all of this. I’ve gone to the experts to further develop my skills. Now what I do I do? My dream still isn’t where I think it should be. Then it’s time to re-evaluate the cost of your dream. This isn’t necessarily the money attached, although that can play a role in it. This is more in reference to the work you invest in your dream. What effort have you put in to accomplish what you say you want more than anything?
Time is one cost one doesn’t always take into consideration. Time put into the work required to accomplish this dream. Have you put the time into the work? Perhaps you’re like I was. I build a website, had social media and wrote every day, how come the money wasn’t rolling in? The answer is simple, the work wasn’t always being put in. Many just assume once all the tools were in place, the job is complete, and success will be had. This got me to thinking about when I was working on cars. I would get all the tools I knew I needed (or at least have them handy) and set in to tear into the job. But if all I did was get the tools ready, it doesn’t mean the engine was being fixed. It just meant the tools were laid out. I had to put in the time working with those tools to accomplish the task at hand.
Another cost factor is the time allotted to accomplish the work. The word about me and what I am doing has been out for three whole days, so how come I’m not this great success already? This is how many stary-eyed dreamers think when they begin their endeavors. When working your dream, patience is another time factor not many consider. In 1962, President Kennedy gave a speech where he told America his goal was to place man on the moon. Today, with our space program, this isn’t that big. But in 1962 this was huge goal, and, to many, it was unsurmountable. Patience was what it took. Seven years of it to be exact. Finally, July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong placed his feet on the surface of the moon.
Re-evaluate the Steps
One final area to re-evaluate are the steps required to accomplish the dream. You’ve done the rest but still something is amiss. It could be you’re missing a step to reach the goal. It isn’t enough to set the goal, you need to set the steps to get there and if one is off, then the whole goal is harder to reach. Accomplished goals do not just happen, there are steps required to get there. Archery is a great visual to illustrate these steps. The target is set, however, in order to hit the target, you need to be at a certain distance, a bow with a string that is sturdy, an arrow that is straight with full feathers to aid in flight, and a sharp point. Sights would need to be dialed in for the proper distance and the list of steps would continue to make a successful shot. Now a bow hunter would be able to go into a lot more detail about the steps needed but you get the idea.
What do you need to do in order for your dream to be a success? Sure, you have to work it, but what does that entail? Marketing, phone calls, emails, demonstrations, videos, social media posts (then how many should you do – minimum of three a day is recommended) and the list would go on. The best tip I could offer in this area is to simply write them down. A speaker once said if you actually write them down using pen and paper you are more likely to remember them. For me, if I write them down, I can see a bigger picture and pick up where the holes are. Whatever works for you in this area would be beneficial if your goals aren’t being met.
The dream doesn’t have to be some grandiose business endeavor. It could be winning a world championship or getting a walk on a stage. Maybe it is to publish a cookbook or to begin a cooking team. Whatever your dream is, if it isn’t working out for you in the best possible way, it’s time to re-evaluate, then allow the success to happen.