Going for your dreams can be an incredible, exhilarating, sometimes scary, task. Community member Parker Bradley sat down to share with us his journey and give you 10 applicable tips on how you can take action and go for your dreams now.
Going for it: By Parker Bradley:
Hi there, folks. Just another dreamer here: currently immersed in the process of realizing and pursuing a dream, with passion at the wheel, and fear trailing not too far behind. I am not another success story—yet. I am in the initial stages of realizing a dream, combing through the demands of life, searching for the time and energy to dedicate to pursuing a passion that envelops me. If you are reading this, I imagine you have a dream you wish to see through as well, and a passion that keeps you up at night, wakes you up in the morning, and manages to monopolize your thoughts as you live each day. Good for you! I’m right there with you. How wonderful it is! You have something unique to you that you would like to create and share with the world; that is an incredible feat. But as I have personally realized, it is quite the strenuous road. It’s a bit like driving down a beat up back road full of surprises: potholes, animal crossings , and plenty of, “slow down” signs. To put it simply, it’s rough; but once you gain the proper motivation and mindset, you find that you will be able to manage your way through.
I had spent months formulating and building the structure of my dream in my mind, and within the past few months, have taken those thoughts and ideas, and attempted to funnel them into existence. That is where I am now: the building process of a dream that has only previously existed in my mind. Here I am actually taking said dream and bringing it into the world to share with others. What a process it has been, and will be; one that requires consistent attention and motivation, as I teach myself how. I know I am not alone; as there are many others out there who wish to do the same. Hence, why I am writing this. I want to share with you some tips and ideas that have helped me along this arduous process. Support and inspiration from others who have been through and are currently going through a similar adventure is vital in the art of creating. We can build off of the stories, struggles, and successes of others to motivate and teach each other how to progress forward along our journey to attain our ultimate goal: to create the life we want to live.
Let me start by saying this: we are all creative, and we all have the ability to do something brilliant with our lives, and/or give something unique and wonderful to this world. Creativity and ideas are not unique to a certain breed of human; it is something that is ingrained in all of us, just waiting to be acknowledged and brought to the surface. But this takes work. Everyone has their dream—their vision of an ideal life—but it does not come easy. The process is stocked full with obstacles and demands that try to pull us from our passion and distract our inspiration. Now it is up to us, the individual, to use our time wisely and channel consistent motivation in order to stay afloat along this journey. It is easy to become discouraged, and it is easy to become lazy, but we must not let ourselves get comfortable—the life we desire depends on it. We are accountable for our future, and we have the capacity to live the meaningful life we want. Now how do we direct that capacity into productive action?
Maybe this can help:
1. Tell yourself that you will not let your thoughts go unnoticed.
We are all daydreamers, and when we have that idea that we wish to bring into existence, it steals our sleep and consumes our time throughout each waking hour. We cannot ignore these thoughts! Let them in, interact with them, and let them reside in the front of your brain so you can see them clearly. Write them down, draw them out, and let the inspiration start flowing. Take the time to drive those thoughts through the pencil onto something permanent. It’s motivating to see your thoughts on paper anyway. That being said:
2. Keep a Journal!
The demands of life may currently be taking up your time, but if you have an idea for your dream, Write it down! We may not have time to crack this idea open at this very moment—we may be working, or waiting in line at the grocery store, or trying to sleep—so write it down and expand on it later when you have made the time in the day. That night or the next day, open your journal and expand on the idea, now that you have made the time.
I personally have a journal with me just about everywhere I go, and when I don’t, I make sure to keep notes on my phone. Inspiration can show up at any time, so come prepared. Don’t tell yourself that you will remember it later, because often times, you don’t. Write that thing down! There is nothing more frustrating than struggling to remember that great idea you had earlier, and ultimately losing it. Take the time to write it out: your future self will thank you.
3. Don’t distract yourself!
Now this is a big one. With how accessible social media is now, and the endless content that it provides, capable of stealing hours of our day, it is so easy to distract ourselves from our thoughts, which are imperative to the process of realizing a dream. It is difficult to interact with an idea or thought when we are scrolling through our social media feeds, consistently being presented with something that is yes, stimulating, but more importantly, distracting. I feel like I can speak for most of us when I say that I’ve caught myself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, and finally snapping out of it, realizing that I don’t remember anything from all that content I just absorbed. Now that is just 30 minutes of precious time wasted that could have been utilized for brainstorming or writing.
Don’t get me wrong, social media has its perks, and I do enjoy it, but when it becomes a time-filler, we have a problem. I used to think it was so difficult to find time to work towards a dream, but when I put the phone down, I found more and more time in my day. Maybe when you woke up and drank your coffee, you could have broke out that journal and interacted with some of your ideas. I find that this time spent in the morning motivates me early on in my day. It’s a good start when paired with a good cup of coffee! Now, have you ever been say, writing or drawing, or doing something you consider work towards your dream, and you hit a block? You can’t think of how to start the next sentence, or what to add, and you quickly pick up your phone? Me too. This is an important time for our brains to calculate our next move, to brainstorm. And we lose that by grabbing the phone! Let your brain work past the block; don’t distract it!
Of course there are plenty of ways to distract yourself, and at times, it is okay. We don’t have to be on our game and productive every second of every day. It is when our distractions become time-fillers; that is when we need to reconnect with our goals. We must be diligent to use our free time to keep our momentum going in the tedious process of creating the life we dream of.
4. Keep your phone close and your coffee closer.
It’s inevitable: our phones will always be near us when we are doing our work. Whether on the table, or in our pocket, it will be there, waiting to be picked up, ready to distract us. Let’s see if you can relate to this situation: Say you hit a mental block when working on your idea; whether it be writing, drawing, etc. You take your hands off the keyboard, or put down the pencil, and what do you do? You reach for the phone, Like some of us, myself included, I get stuck on it, and wind up wasting valuable minutes scrolling through other people’s lives on some sort of social media. This goes back to topic of distraction. So here is my point: try putting something in between your work station and your phone. This may sound odd, but give yourself something else to grab. Put that cup of coffee in between you and your phone, and make it a point to grab it instead of your phone when you pause from your work. Or even better, keep that journal full of your ideas and thoughts next to you. If you find your creative mind stuck, grab your journal and read through some pages! What better way to get back to meaningful work than to skip through some of the content that inspired the work you are doing. Much more productive than seeing who checked in where with who on Facebook, right? Make this a habit: reach for something more productive than your phone in times of creative struggle. Pause, brainstorm, and get back to it.
5. Try Not to Force your Work:
Of course, when you have your dream identified, and your passion in your scope, put in the work, but never force it. Get yourself inspired, then pick up the pencil. Forced work is not your truest work. Do no force yourself to create; remind yourself why you are doing this work.
Example: I attempted to write my mission and vision statement for my company when I forced myself to sit down and write it. Yep, I got some words down. then left them for a few days. When I returned to them on a day where I was feeling inspired and ready to work, I deleted everything I had wrote and started completely over. There was no passion in my forced words; but when inspired, my passion was ingrained in the them, and you could feel it.
When you feel the desire or inspiration to work, work! Use that energy and motivation to create content that reflects your passion. These are the times when our work is in its purest form; do not waste it. We want to create something that changes our lives and/or the lives of others; it is important that we face it with all our heart and mind by channeling our energy and inspiration in a productive direction. Remember, the destination is much more satisfying (and successful) when you are present and aware during the journey, focusing on each step, acknowledging and appreciating the difficulty of the process. Meaningful lives are not easily achieved, but ever so satisfying when we acknowledge how hard we worked and the difficulties we overcame. So get inspired, stay focused, and go get it.