Why You Should Get Out of Your Own Way and Follow Your Dream Already

May 6, 2014

woman on case“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Were you ever asked that as a child? During childhood we get the message that it’s okay to dream. It’s okay to imagine ourselves doing whatever we want.

But somewhere in there, the message gets lost.

Somewhere around high school age, we get the message that dream time is over.  Once we get to college, we’re supposed to major in something practical. Forget liberal arts or anything like that. If you have a dream that seems to risky–forget it.

When school is over, the next thing we’re told is to find a good job and get paid. If you’re lucky enough to get a pension and benefits, even better. Between graduation and retirement, life will be an endless slog of working and hoping you can make ends meet.

Forget your dreams. Don’t take risks. Be practical.

It took me years to realize that my dreams were important. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with getting a job to bring in an income. The trick is to keep your goal in front of you while you do it. When you play the long game, you have a vision for where you want to end up. In the meantime, you take the steps to get there.

I’ve met many people who once had a vision, but they let other people talk them out of it. They stopped listening to the call in their hearts.

What dream have you put on hold? Or put aside? Are you frustrated right now because you’re not pursuing it?

Years ago in college I struggled with myself because I wanted to be a writer. Instead of majoring in English and taking things like languages and music, I chose majors like Biology and Political Science. I’d been told that I should be practical. Become a doctor or lawyer. Get paid first. Then maybe later if I lived long enough, I could finally do what I wanted after I retired.

Why Being Practical is Overrated

I knew what I wanted and what I was good at. But it wasn’t practical. Who cares if you can write, or create art, make films or perform music? All that matters is being able to pay your bills. And everyone knows, you can’t be creative and pay bills. Right?

Wrong. There are plenty of people who have aligned their dream with their income. But instead of listening to the naysayers, they kept going.

Or maybe your dream isn’t something you want to make into a profession. Maybe it’s something you could enjoy as a hobby or a side business. That’s fine too.

Dreaming shouldn’t end once you become an adult. Instead of giving up on your dreams, use them to create a vision you can work towards. Even if it’s just step by step. Inch by inch (or centimeter by centimeter). Time is going to pass whether you take action or not. So don’t wait.

Everyone Won’t Agree

By the way, if you’re worried about criticism, don’t let that stop you. Some people just love to spend time criticizing what others do. You know the type. Thing is, when you’re following your dream, you don’t have time to worry about what someone else is doing. In fact, you’re happy to see other people succeed. Because you know their success doesn’t take anything away from yours.

Ignore the haters. They have nothing else to do, which is why they’re salty. Instead, focus on what you can do to recapture a dream that hasn’t been realized. Is it still something you desire? If so, nurture it. Work on it. Vision it until it comes to fruition.

If your dream is calling you, it won’t let you rest until you’ve answered. Whatever you do, don’t give up on it.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

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  • […] What do you want to be when you grow up? Were you ever asked that as a child? A lot of us were. We got the message that it was okay to dream. It was okay to  […]

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