Two years ago, I met a young Marine veteran who was hosting a table at a fair for his new company, YouVolution. Ben Gibson told me that the new company of his was a work-in-progress toward his dream of creating a platform to support others in following their own dreams. I invited Ben to be on my radio program the next day because I could tell that he was a dreamer with enough determination to make his dream a reality, even though he didn’t yet have a complete vision of what that dream would look like exactly when fully realized. Ben came back on the show a year later because he had just started the next step in the evolution of YouVolution, called, Un-incubator, supporting new filmmakers.

Last week, I received a nice surprise from Un-incubator. Ben quoted me on his social media program. “What you do are your intentions,” is what I had said to Ben in one of our previous discussions and it had, obviously, made an impression. I had been inspired by producer of my radio program, Art Mendoza, who frequently states, “The Universe rewards action.” And I have seen for myself that we can think and dream all we want, but nothing will happen unless we actually take action to realize our dreams.

I am certainly happiest when I follow this formula. I’m fifty-five and I’m just getting to the point of more fully forming my dream to teach in a bigger and more creative way, in addition to my regular psychologist practice. I’ve stuck to this dream for several years, watching it evolve with each action that I’ve taken in that direction. I’m now teaching via various media platforms, such as writing blogs and books, hosting a radio show, public speaking, and internet consulting. I know that this dream will continue to change and grow over time. And this dream has been my North Star, even through some of the toughest and darkest periods in my life. The journey has given my life deeper meaning. It has given me a reason to get out of bed on the “bad” days. And it has added vitality and joy to the “good” days.

As I wrote in my blog, Follow Your Dream No Matter Your Age, a commonly held perception is that dreaming and following our dreams are for the young. However, logic points to the contrary. After we’ve had life experience, raised our family, or worked at the career calling us in our youth, we often have a much better idea about what we would now find fulfilling and what gifts we have to offer––or at least, a gut feeling that there’s something more.

9 tips for sticking to our dreams on this bumpy road called “life”:

1. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to relax and refresh so that we can have new inspired and creative ideas about what we really want to do and how do it. In addition, mindfulness meditation helps us to become more aware of the negative self-statements that we often sabotage ourselves with. There are many books and on-line videos with guidance about how to do mindfulness meditation. For example, check out the works of Drs. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Jack Kornfield.

2. We humans have a bad habit of talking ourselves out of things that are good for us with negative self-statements, such as “What’s the point?” or “Who would be interested in what I have to say?” We talk to ourselves in ways we would never speak to a friend, or that friend would likely no longer consider us a friend. Check out my blog, Taming the Inner Troll, for tips on how to quiet this inner nay-sayer. 

3. Remind yourself, daily, that by following your dreams and sharing your unique gifts with the world, you’re serving humanity, such as by inspiring others to follow their dreams.

4. Take at least one small step every day toward your dream (or toward doing something to help you discover what your dream might be). It could be making a phone call to create a helpful connection, doing some research on the internet, writing for 10 minutes, drawing/painting/singing/playing an instrument for 10 minutes, or attending a networking meeting.

5. Surround yourself with other people who are following their dreams. They don’t have to have the same dream as you do. People who are in the state of mind of enthusiastically seeking can give tremendous support to you in your unique journey. This is also another opportunity to network with people who can help you with ideas and connections.

6. Find people who are doing what you dream of doing and connect with them. People love to teach and give advice. You’re likely to find that many will be willing to give you important information.

7. In general, surround yourself with positive people. Enthusiasm is contagious, just like negativity. So be mindful of the company you keep.

8. Spend time every day planning the small steps to take the next day.

9. Understand ebb and flow. We will all experience periods when things appear as though they are not moving forward. This is part of the rhythm of life. In fact, even when things are flowing, take pauses. (Check out my interview with Terry Hershey, author of The Power of Pause.) Take this time to rest, rejuvenate, and give your mind the space to open to creative inspiration. And don’t miss this opportunity to reflect on your gratitude about all that you’ve already achieved, your creative inspiration, and any support and/or guidance you’ve been given along the way. Gratitude for what we already have is a sure-fire way to open us up to allow more to flow to us in our life. Then, be ready for the upcoming flow that will inevitably follow it.

And remember, stay true to your dream, while allowing it to evolve. It will likely look different in it’s manifest state from the way you originally imagined it. 

Check out Dr. Mara’s internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age, now available in paperback and on e-book!

AND stay tuned for Dr. Mara’s on-line course, Living the Passionate Life,coming this fall!

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