If you have a dream, something that excites you, inspires you, and maybe even keeps you up at night, I have some advice for you:
1. Believe that it’s possible.
So often we think of dreams as things most people don’t get to do—luxuries reserved for people who are privileged, wealthy, or well connected.
It’s true that some people have more advantages than others. What takes one person five years of planning and saving may require another to do little more than sell a stock and make a call.
It’s also true that the second person may have worked incredibly hard for said stock. The point is: We’re all starting from different places, for different reasons, with different levels of work required to get from A to B.
If your dream is something you’re physically incapable of doing, it may be improbable (but not impossible—we’ve come a long way with technology!) And there’s no denying that certain dreams are more difficult to achieve than others.
But most of the things we dream about are things we could do if we were willing to work toward it, align our choices to support it, and stay flexible in terms of fulfilling it.
You don’t need to believe it will be easy, or it will happen quickly, or it will look exactly like you visualized it. You just need to believe in the possibility, which really means you need to believe in yourself.
2. Take tiny steps to work toward it.
Working toward it entails aligning with the right people, disregarding discouragement from people who don’t support your growth, and taking tiny steps each day to move toward your vision.
“The right people” are those who help you, support you, encourage you, believe in you, and guide you on your way to this dream. It may include people who’ve done what you want to do, people who also want to do it, and even people who just plain find it cool.
Share your enthusiasm and progress with them. They’ll keep you excited and help you stick to your plan.
As for those people who don’t support your growth, there will be many of them, and they most likely won’t be malicious. They’ll be well-meaning people who aren’t able to do step one for themselves, and, therefore, think they’re doing you a favor by discouraging you. Politely decline that favor.
Their words may seem to keep you down, but it’s how you internalize them that holds you back.
And as for taking consistent steps, they really can be tiny. It may not seem like much to make a call, bookmark a site, or send an email, but the little things add up over time—and because they’re easily doable, each one may inspire you to do more.
3. Make choices that support it.
Much of our experience stems from our choices. Not all of it; there are some things that we can’t control.
This isn’t a suggestion that if we make all the “right” choices, everything will line up and magically work out. It’s just that we have more power than we often realize—and our power lies in our choices.
Whatever your dream, the first choice is to prioritize it. As you’re able, dedicate time to it, money to it, attention to it, love to it. Give what you can, as you can, and back that giving with belief, passion, and enthusiasm.
The other side of this coin is realizing which choices don’t support your dream—when you’re doing too much or pursuing other dreams that conflict, for example.
For me, that’s meant pushing off some other equally exciting milestones with my boyfriend, like buying a house.