I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the Wisconsin and northern Illinois Chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., for their Founders’ Day Celebration. The theme of the event was “Dream a Little” and I shared my insights on how to start dreaming again.
You see, sometimes in the midst of working on our dreams, life happens, circumstances arise – and we get stuck. And once we are stuck, we stop, and once we stop, it’s hard to pick up and start again. So here are four tried and true actions that will help you start dreaming again – and the best part is you don’t need anything special – you are enough!
#1. Silence your inner critic. Your mind is a place where all the intimate beliefs begin – those attitudes, feelings, and emotions – what we think and feel about ourselves. If you don’t decide to keep those intimate thoughts and beliefs in check – things can quickly spiral out of control. So, for every negative thought, write down a positive one. Think about what your inner critic has been telling you. Then, start your own list of positive affirmations and place them where you can see them every day.
#2. Be honest about your starting point. Sometimes you have to be willing to let go of who you want people to think you are. There’s no room to lie to yourself about where you are now. In many cases, it’s not just about the job and the finances. It’s about you as a whole person. You need to take a step back and examine the WHOLE YOU, in order to move forward and control your destiny. So, be willing to start dreaming exactly where you are, using only what you have. If you’re waiting for all the stars to align perfectly, that may never happen – just do what you can in the space that you are now.
#3. Evaluate your support system. Sometimes when you’re working on your dream, there may be someone (or several someones) in your life pushing against that change. You need to recognize when a relationship is bringing you down instead of lifting you up so you can stay on track with your progress. When you are in the midst of working on a dream, things may get tough. Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up and thrust you forward is absolutely essential to your success.
#4. Recruit trusted advisors. This isn’t always easy because you will be required to admit to someone else that you are stuck. Then, you have to reveal your dream and desires – and ask them to hold you accountable. But, the reality is, three amazing things happen when you confess your dreams to someone else: 1) the compromises you make when you think about quitting suddenly have less power, 2) you feel a positive pressure to change, and 3) you pay attention to those gut instincts that speak to you. Once you’ve recruited your own trusted advisors, give them permission to speak truth to you, call you out on your shortcomings and hold you accountable for what you say you want to do.
If you are reading this blog today, I want you to know one thing …. YOU are capable of so much more, if only you would start dreaming again. And trust me, you will have those days when you don’t feel like continuing, but that’s okay. Do you know why? Because you’re not alone. Starting now, you have actions to help you move beyond the fears, beyond the obstacles, beyond the excuses and toward your dreams. I believe you can fly boldly into the unknown. Dream where you are, with only what you have. YOU ARE ALWAYS ENOUGH!