The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.

~Oprah Winfrey

The dreams, goals, and aspirations we nurture within us are some of the most valuable treasures we will ever possess during our lifetime. Encoded within them are pieces of who we really are, where we’ve been, and the promise of what we might yet become.

For centuries, humans have contemplated the meaning of life through processes of inquiry, i.e., posing questions that help clarify the nature of reality. Among these questions have been: why are we here, what are we meant to do during our lifetime, and what does it mean to live a good life?

In fact, much of the modern-day emphasis on optimization and unleashing our peak potential stems from attempting to answer the question: how do we live the life of our dreams?

I’ve developed ten suggestions to help you answer this question for yourself. I hope they will support you in closing what I call the Actualization Gap and bringing your dreams closer to becoming a reality.

Define success on your own terms

One of the biggest obstacles in the way of us living the life of our dreams is that many of us are busy focused on living out someone else’s definition of success.  

We look over our shoulders towards the television or on the internet to determine what a successful life is instead of looking within. By doing so, we find ourselves senselessly striving to achieve someone else’s dream and never fully stepping on to the path of achieving our own.

I believe living the life of our dreams engages us to explore a variety of experiences including:

-something meaningful to do

-someone special to be

-something magical to feel

-something treasured to have 

Defining what success truly means to you is the first step towards laying the foundational blueprint for the road map that will lead to an awe-inspiring life. If you never take the time to fully honor and tap into the desires of your own heart, how will you ever start?

Give up the belief that dreams only come true for other people and not you.

Many of those who have made the leap from living someone else’s story to fully embracing their own acknowledge that, at some point, they made a shift in their mindset and started to believe that it was possible for them to live fulfilling lives, not just the people they heard about or saw in the media.

Deepening your sense of self-worth is a vital part of living an enriching life because, until you find yourself worthy of living the life you’ve imagined, it will be very hard to access the internal and external resources to create it.

We often think that once we make the million dollars, or have the relationship that we’ve always wanted, THEN we will feel like a million bucks. Believe that feeling like a million bucks is an option for you right now, and you will join the ranks of those committed to creating lives that shine from the inside out.

Transform the voice of your inner critic into your ultimate ally.

It’s been said that the cruelest enemy is the enemy within. We all know what the voice of our inner critic sounds like. It’s the voice that tells you that you will never be enough, have enough, or do enough. Well, the key to living the life of your dreams is to learn how to say to that voice, “ENOUGH!”

With practice, we can become quite skillful in transforming the tenor of the voice inside that seeks to undermine us into an energy that can uplift and even spur our steps forward. Every time you hear that voice, say ENOUGH! You will find that just like a child without a playmate, your inner critic will soon get the signal that you have no interest in playing with it anymore and will become less of a powerful force in your life.

Turning the energy of antagonism into advocacy will come in handy because the inner critic likes to show up when you are on the verge of having a big breakthrough. 

Select a story that you are excited to live into.

Story is the basic unit of human experience. Living the life of your dreams is greatly impacted by the theme/narrative you may consciously or unconsciously be living into. Many of us are living out disempowering narratives ruled by themes that dictate what we can’t do, instead of experiencing empowering narratives that liberate us and enable what we can do, be, feel and have in this world. When you get fully present to a desired possibility, it is essential that you create an entire world around it and that you get really excited about living into it, because the energy of excitement and desire will be what helps you maintain positive momentum as you move forward with making your desired dream life your everyday reality.

Take time to celebrate even the smallest wins.

Many of us lead exceedingly complex lives where millions of bits of information pass right before our very eyes, much of which we will never retain. This phenomenon causes our minds to focus on what appears to stand out: the BIG things. BIG shows of love, BIG spikes in sales, BIG, BIG, BIG. Before we know it, we fall out of gratitude and forget about the small wins we experience every day. Over time, what would have been milestones on our journey become meaningless, and what would have been cause to celebrate is now seen as cause to compare. 

I once learned that if you do not celebrate your achievements, both big and small, it’s as if they never happened. On our journey towards living big dreams, we can’t forget about the small acts of kindness, the small triumphs, and the small steps of progress we take every day. If you truly want to enjoy the life you have while working towards what your life can be, it’s important that you learn to celebrate your wins, no matter how small.

Identify what you do and don’t have time for and act accordingly.

A popular social meme was voiced years ago by a woman named Sweet Brown. “Ain’t nobody got time for dat,” was delivered with such matter-of-factness that it resonated around the world. The same is true when it comes to the discernment and dedication required to live the life of your dreams. 

When you are committed to a particular outcome, you have to be just as committed to time management and extremely careful about who and what you allow to take your time. There are twenty-four hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, and approximately 672 hours in a month. All of us get the same allotment, no more, no less. The extent to which you spend your time in productive ways that enhance the quality of your life, as well as the people and endeavors you deem worthwhile, will determine your level of advancement and fulfillment.

Invest soul-fully in whatever makes a difference.

When we get committed to moving purposefully, then it is only natural that we explore how to connect to the proper tools, resources, and relationships that can elevate our growth. A “difference maker” can be defined as any resource that makes a significant difference in doing, being, feeling, and having all that you desire in life.

Whether it is a book, a program, a person, or a pair of sneakers, invest wisely as it relates to the tools and resources you select to support your life experience. Having tools to support you, asking yourself the right questions, and surrounding yourself with the right people—people who lift you up, align, and support your growth versus people who distract or detract from it—will make all the difference.

Embrace authenticity and integrity 

Integrity is a state of being whole or undivided. Authenticity is embracing and operating from your truth. When the two come together, they allow us to exist in the most powerful state of alignment that there is. 

Sadly, many of us walk around feeling incomplete and broken; we look to others to complete us, to make us feel whole. However, when we embrace ourselves as complete units of perfection, regardless of what state we find ourselves in at the moment, that we open ourselves to the truth of what our lives can truly be. 

Embracing authenticity and integrity are ways of being and doing that serve us greatly on the path to living the life of our dreams. 

Kiss being reasonable goodbye.

We have many reasons to play our lives small, and the more we listen to those reasons, the further our dreams drift away. Before we know it, we have lived a very reasonable, safe life–the kind that most people never dream of. This is not to say that the life we all dream of is filled with wild adventures, but for most of us, it isn’t marked by playing it safe and remaining solely in our comfort zones. Our dreams cause us to stretch and grow, moving us from who and what we know ourselves to be to new landscapes where we can develop and ultimately transform.

Accept that you are “The One.”

No matter which path you take to living the life of your dreams, the truth remains that you are the only one who can choose to live fully, love fully, and accept fully all that lies ahead. Too often, we expect it to come easy. It rarely does. Living the life of your dreams takes work. It takes commitment, and most of all, it takes believing in something that most people can’t see. If you are willing to do the work of refining the lens, you have on life to expand into new realms of possibility, before you even know it, you will wonder who is this smiling, cheerful person staring back at you in the mirror. How did you get here? The answer will be easy: YOU finally came to believe.

By exploring these ideas and taking action with your newfound awareness, you will arrive at an authentic path to achieving your dreams—a path that is aglow with unique opportunities, where you get to do something meaningful, be someone special, feel something magical, and enjoy experiences you will treasure throughout your lifetime. 

In 2012, I dedicated a day to the advancement of ideas, goals, and dreams. Today, that day is celebrated all over the world. September, 25th is #WORLDDREAMDAY, and I hope you celebrate your dream in a special way.

May all your dreams come true!