‘I’m never gonna quit ’til I die!’ ~ I have said it, I have sung it, I have heard it on the tongues of many others too. And I’m sure that more than one or two of you have said it about your own dreams! It’s great to have a commitment to persistence but day in day out, year in year out, the roller coaster of dream chasing takes it’s toll. So, if you really mean it, how are you going to keep on keeping on?? I’ve only been dreaming my dreams since I was a kid and I am no-where near dead yet so I almost don’t feel qualified to write this but then, I have had a fair number of highs and lows on this journey too so I feel I could share something that might help. Here’s what I think:
1. Have your own plan. Set a course for yourself and a strategy for getting there. Make it as good as you can and stick to it as long as it’s working, review it and change it if it’s not. No matter what happens, you always start with the plan and measure everything else against it. Plan for as many eventualities as you can, then there’s less chance you’ll be left floundering at any point.
2. Always celebrate the good stuff! It may seem like I don’t need to tell you this but I’m not sure you realise just how much good stuff there is! Try not to loose sight of it when the not so good stuff shows up!
3. Pre-determine your own definition of success and failure so that it isn’t determined by external and changeable factors. For example one might think “If I haven’t achieved a number one single in 15 different countries then I am a failure…”. It’s difficult to feel good with a belief like that! Maybe adopt a more empowering belief that ‘I am succeeding as long as I am trying’ or ‘I only fail if I quit’. By doing that you set yourself up to succeed and make it hard to fail!
4. Look for the way-showers. Find examples of people who did what you are planning to achieve and model them, use them as your north star. They’ll show you the way when others around you have no idea what to say and do.
5. Note the naysayers in your life. They probably love you dearly and have your very best intentions at heart but if their input into your life is based in fear, weigh it very, very carefully. It’s helpful to be cautious and note the hazards ahead but if fear is habitual in this persons life beware of their advice, it can drain your energy and knock you waaaaay off course! Acknowledge fear, it’s trying to protect you but don’t make decisions based on fear – That’s a recipe for more fear!
6. Build your support network. Who have you got in your life that will help build your confidence, and faith? Who is wise and understands the vision? Who will push you forward not pull you back? Who can you trust with your dreams, and your heart? Who will love you when all you need is love? You will need these people but it’s better to know who they are in the good times so that when a storm hits you head for them and not the naysayers, this bunch will get you back on course fast.
7. Acknowledge the hits. If something doesn’t go according to plan, acknowledge it. Don’t try and bury it and pretend it didn’t happen. Feel it! The fastest way to recovery is to let yourself feel what you feel, then let go of it, and then move on. Dreams require a huge investment of emotional resources as well as time and money. If something goes wrong it’s natural to feel loss. You need to grieve for that which you’ve lost before you can refocus on the plan. Otherwise the hit may get to yourself esteem and undermine your beliefs about all your future goals and you don’t want that!
8. Protect and guard yourself. When something goes wrong, apart from your trusted support network, avoid all unnecessary contact! When we’re wounded we’re quick to lash out and wound others… You really want to minimise that! If emotions are running high you don’t want to bring more trouble into the mix! Watch out for how you treat the people you are around especially those you live with. You still have to live with them when it all blows over!
9. Prioritise self-care. When you’ve been hit and your feelings and plan took a bit of a battering, take some time to care for yourself. What does your body need right now? What rituals have you got for taking care of yourself that lift your sense of well being and bring you into the present? Do you take a bath? Go for a walk? Create art? Light candles and meditate? Whatever you need to do. Do it.
10. Rest and recuperate. Even meditate. You don’t need to jump straight back in immediately! Take your mind off it for a few days. You already know how different everything feels when you’re fresh! For now it’s enough to be kind to yourself.
11. Don’t forget who you are, what you’re made of and why you’re here. So emotions may run high, or they may run really low. Either way don’t ruminate on the negatives, ruminate on the character you’re building and the kind of person you desire to be who would be able cope with and over come this situation. You’re bigger than this!
12. Eat well, stay fit! Look after your body, and eat properly! Lacking the right fuel will mean you are not running to your optimum levels both physically and emotionally. An emotional boost can come from eating the right foods so stay on it and don’t neglect that part of your life! And keep physically fit, endorphins are released when you exercise. So get/keep that body moving! And you’ll find you’ll keep moving in the direction of your dreams, not too mention the fact that everything in life is easier if you keep fit! 🙂
13. Get back to that plan! So if a piece of the plan goes wrong, an opportunity folds, it shouldn’t blow your whole plan! The plan is there to come back to, it’s the big picture! No one deal, no one thing, no one person is the whole dream. If you did blow the whole plan, get a new one, a better one, and get on with it.
14. Focus forward. ‘Remember that energy flows where attention goes’, so when you’ve been through all that, don’t loose your focus and get stuck in the ditch beside the great journey you were on. Stay focussed on the dream. What was it that you wanted to achieve? How are you going to achieve it? What’s the first step you can take now to make that happen?
15. Now, take the next step!