Making a dream come true is hard work. It can even seem impossible at times. Taking an idea from your heart, figuring out how to bring it into form with your mind, and then using your skills, resources, and body to make it real is one of the greatest gifts and hardest challenges of the human experience.
But it is exactly that challenge that makes the rewards so sweet. If everything came easily, it might not seem as precious to us. When we have persevered and overcome obstacles to create something from nothing, the deep sense of satisfaction and success makes all the work worthwhile.
But you have to get there. You have to be willing to work for weeks, months, or years. You have to be willing to prioritize your long-term happiness over immediate gratification, and keep going against all odds. Here are some tips to help you keep your dream alive.
1. Believe in Yourself
If you believe that you are capable of making your dream manifest, then you are correct. If you don’t have faith that you can see a dream through to completion, then you are also correct. Energy follows belief. Just like Yoda taught Luke Skywalker in “The Empire Strikes Back,” we fail when we do not believe in ourselves.
If your belief is feeling shaky, go back to what inspired you in the first place. Why do you want to create this dream? How is this act of creation using your unique gifts to serve the world?
2. Share Your Dream with the Right People
Sharing your plans makes them more real. It helps you be accountable. It gives you sounding boards off which to bounce ideas. It can give you moral support. But it can also sabotage your progress.
Some people, your true healthy allies, will champion you. Others may try to squelch your hopes out of selfishness or fear. Use discernment when sharing your ideas with others, and pay attention to how those people respond. If they light up and get excited, sharing ideas and connections, then you have found allies. Continue to share your dreams with them and let their excitement help you keep going.
If, on the other hand, a person starts to shut down or give reasons you might fail when you start sharing your dreams, do not share any more about that particular idea with that person.
3. Get Support
Once you have identified your allies, enlist their support. Host gatherings where you can share your progress and offer ways for your allies to help you. Use the power of crowd-funding and social media to raise awareness and gather resources.
Connect with other specialists in your field. Having people to brainstorm with who understand your work is an invaluable support in making an idea real. If you can find a mentor or elder to champion your work and offer useful feedback and advice, even better.
It is easy to get overwhelmed in a big project, especially if it is groundbreaking or outside the box. Break your project down into small, achievable steps. Give yourself tasks that can be completely daily and weekly. This way even if completing the final dream seems very far off, you will still be able to move forward every day and have a measure of progress.
5. Celebrate Every Victory (and Loss)
Let every step you take be counted as a win, whatever the outcome. Sometimes simply making a phone call or sending an email to a potential ally is an accomplishment. When larger victories happen, like completing a huge milestone to connecting with a company to support your work, celebrate in some tangible way.
By the same token, celebrate when things don’t go the way you plan. When you realize that a potential collaboration will not work out in your favor, count that knowledge as a form of success. Even if you have a major set-back, be grateful for what you have learned, and that you know it is time to let that door close and move on.
6. Let Your Dream Change – and Let It Change You
Holding the integrity of your vision is important. You must be clear about your intentions and mission to bring your dream into reality. But equally important is the ability to adapt. While the energy of your dream should remain fairly constant, the form may radically change in the birthing process. Be open to the wisdom of mentors, collaborators, and the vagaries of the ever-changing marketplace. Allow for the possibility that what is finally produced in the end could be even more amazing than your original thought.
And understand that you will probably have to grow in the process of creating your life’s work. This could be through study, changing where and how you work, overhauling your lifestyle, or simplifying your priorities. But it is likely that in order for you to create something that will change the world, you will have to change.
The world needs dreamers. Every great accomplishment of the human race was once a dream. What if Thomas Edison, who tried 1,000 prototypes before producing a functional light bulb, had given up after the first few attempts? Have the courage, perseverance, and determination to see your dreams through to completion.