When I was in high school, I heard a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King that said “no person has the right to rain on your dreams.” So when my guidance counselor told me not to apply to Harvard because I probably wouldn’t be accepted, I did it anyway. And when people told me I would never be a published author, I did it anyway. No person has the right to rain on my dreams or yours. And contrary to the long history of our dreams being oppressed as Black folks, we thrive anyway.

You’ve likely heard the saying before: You are your ancestors’ wildest dream. Yet — when you’re honest with yourself — when was the last time you truly dared to dream without constraint? Think about it: If you allowed your imagination to lead, what might you discover that you really want? Many of us are afraid to allow ourselves to dream freely. This fear may be compounded by constantly overcoming microaggressions that tell us that we’re not enough and misleading narratives about the limited possibilities for our lives.

It’s a new season, and you have the opportunity to take control of your past and your future! You likely have more agency over your health, wealth, careers and lives than previous generations had. You also have unlimited access to information and resources that can potentially support you. So it’s time to let go of so-called generational curses and, instead, visualize your dream without constraints.

Here are 7 steps to help you dare to dream….

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1) Ask yourself a key question. If you think about your career and life in the next 10 years, what things would blow your mind (in a good way) if they happened?

2) List as many things as you can. Set a timer for five minutes and list as many things as you can. If you get stuck, think across categories— relationships, family, fitness, health, career, travel and so on. 

3) Remember: No constraints. If you notice your mind drifting to self-defeating thoughts such as, “It’s not possible because…”, remember that you’re committed to dreaming without constraints.

4) Observe common themes. After you’ve made the list, take a look at common themes and categories on your list — work, wealth, relationships, etc.

Evaluate how you’re spending your time. How does this align with the themes you just identified? Are there areas where you would like to spend more time aligning with this vision?  Are there areas where you would like to spend less time?

5) Visualize Your Dream. Visualization can be a powerful tool in making your dreams become a reality. Practice the visualization exercise in this video at least once a week, to jumpstart the process!

6) Set your goals. Frame your goals as a one-year goal, a two-year goal and a five-year goal. Start with your five-year goal – which is your “stretch” goal – your dream without constraints. Your two-year goal is your “milestone” goal – something that represents significant progress toward your dream. Your one-year goal is your “attainable” goal – something that you can realistically accomplish in one year. 

7) Get support. If you’re Black or a person of color, regardless of what your goals are, microaggressions and racism will likely be something you encounter along the way. This might cause you to experience higher levels of stress, imposter syndrome and even symptoms of depression.

If you want a way to reduce stress, boost your energy and release frustration when you aren’t treated the way you deserve, sign up for my course, Breathing Through Microaggressions and Racism. Through 10 self-paced modules and 4 live monthly masterclasses, you’ll learn breathing techniques to deal with the most challenging emotions. You get lifetime access so that you can come back to the tools as often as you need to.

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Zee Clarke is the author of the book, Black People Breathe (Penguin Random House). She has been featured in many leading publications including ABC, Fortune, Forbes, CNBC, Ebony, Essence, and Fast Company.

She is a Harvard Business School graduate who applies holistic healing practices to corporate environments. Zee leads transformative workshops on mindfulness, breathwork and stress management tools for BIPOC employees at organizations such as Google, Visa, AMC Networks and more.

Learn more at https://www.zeeclarke.com/