I used to love the term “chasing dreams.” Now I don’t, because it implies that they are so far off and that we are chasing them and struggling to catch up. That sounds hard. Actually, it sounds near impossible. Instead, I want to catch them, hold them, and squeeze them. I want to be them. I want to feel fulfilled, and I think that we can, more easily, with a change in how we perceive the pursuit.

Arguably, much about life has to do with our own perception. In fact, many would say that it is ALL about perception, because our life experience is individual as much (if not more) than it is communal. We are the only ones in our own heads, seeing life, experiencing life, through our own perceptions and minds. Thus, if we see dreams as something to chase, not catch, then we run the risk of resolving ourselves to a “never-catching” problem.

Therefore, let us back up a step and re-think. I have spent my life, up to this point, chasing. Now I want to catch, hold, and squeeze. I want to live these dreams as my reality, not some far off possibility, only available if I happen to have the chance, am lucky enough, or work myself into the ground in order to get there. Make no mistake, catching dreams is not easy; BUT, by perceiving it as catching rather than chasing, they are attainable and closer. It is more about when, not if. Try to tell yourself that and believe it. That feels better, right? They are coming your way! Now, celebrate! And when you are done, let’s get to work.

Here are the steps:

1) Clarify

Get clear on what you want (to do, to see, and to be). Write it down. Or skywrite it! Anything to make it clear in YOUR head.

2) Own It

Make it YOU – a small part, a big part…but just how important is this dream to you? Its significance to your identity will determine how much weight you throw into it and how far you will be willing to go in order to achieve it.

3) Disconnect

Put the phone down. And the remote. These things are not evil. But they are distractions. They may eventually assist you in attaining your goals and dreams. But, for a moment, let’s put them aside and focus on deciding what you want and the hard core, bare bones aspects of these dreams, as well as how to get there.

4) Nourish

Feed your imagination – with food, but also with outlets to let your imagination explore and grow. Yes, you can pick up your phone now. But also think art, music, pen & paper. Step toward that which makes you feel good in a productive way. Be aware of what might feel good temporarily, but leaves you feeling unfulfilled (aka social media, substances, etc).

5) Just Start Already

Begin and do. This step seems easy; but, it is, in fact, one of the hardest. I find that I sometimes do everything BUT what will get me heading in the right direction (clean house, take the pup for a walk, sleep off the stress, fiddle on my phone). And why do we do this? Because it is scary to start the REAL stuff. Because we might fail. Because we might be a fraud. There are so many “mights” that hang us up. But guess what? You’ll NEVER be whatever it is that you are meant to be if you don’t actually take a breath and START.

6) Celebrate

Mark small and big progresses. Don’t knock yourself too much for failures, false starts, or slow movement. Really, go easy on yourself. I find that I suck at this, always holding myself to an irrational expectation. As a result, I then fall harder when I falter, taking much more time than necessary to regain my pride and momentum (eye-roll at myself). So, my advice here is to, please, go easy. The little things are just as important as the big things.

7) Focus

Shut out the naysayers, even those who mean well. It is all chatter. Just clutter and chatter. Block it out. You know who YOU are and, now, you know what you want. Let THAT be your guide.

8) Connect

Find friends and allies, both in your corner and in your dream field. This fold-finding is not always easy, especially if you are a dream-related introvert like me. But, they are all out there, waiting for you. And we dream-catchers are all in the same boat. So, let’s find our shipmates and cruise.

9) Imagine and Believe

No limiting until it’s time; and, even then, only limit what is blocking you. Stop yourself from stopping yourself. Believe me, I know how hard that this can be. “Reality” becomes the slamming door. But then stick your foot in it. Keep it propped open and, eventually, shove it open and walk through to your greatness.

10) Allow

To catch your wildest dreams, you must allow for it. You have to be willing to see what is possible and be all that you can be. Then, when you do, and you are in your flow, grab that amazing dream, all yours. Catch it, hold it, and squeeze it tight, because it IS YOU.