As I was hiking one of my favorite trails yesterday, I started to think about life dreams – you know, not the small dreams we have every day, like wanting that bright red purse we saw at Saks Fifths Avenue last week – but the big dreams that make our hearts shake and our knees tremble – and I asked myself: why is it so hard to stop dreams from being dreams? What will make them come true?

Below are the realizations I came up with:

 

1. We Talk Yourselves Out of It

Instead of listening to our hearts when it comes to finding and realizing our dreams, we listen to our heads; and what we find is a bunch of lies: Change isn’t good right now. My situation is okay. I don’t want to play big. It’s too risky. What if I fail? I might lose all my money, go broke, and end up homeless.

When I followed my own badass dream many, many years ago, my head kept telling me all kinds of stories of why I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, but I remember thinking that being homeless would be much easier in California (sunny) than in Germany (rainy and cold).

 

2. We Hesitate

Living life in a big way requires courage and bravery. To make a huge dream come true means stepping into the unknown, being disruptive, getting out of the rut, and breaking the pattern of dissatisfaction. On an unconscious level, we are aware that living out loud might be disruptive and we hesitate – and, whenever an opportunity comes along that promises change, we let it pass.

 

3. We Wait

Once you let an opportunity slip by, you lose some of your drive. You convince yourself that it wasn’t what you really wanted, but secretly you are waiting for another chance and for someone to give you permission to take that chance.

Often it isn’t until we experience major hardships or tragedies that we realize that waiting and holding back robbed us of the opportunity of living a significant life. It’s a wake-up call to reconsider our life’s choices and to implement the changes we need to be fully alive.

 

4. We Think We Have to Do it Alone

Another pitfall in living life to the fullest is thinking that we are in it alone. I would have never packed up my life in Germany and moved to the US without the support and encouragement of my friends and mentors. Their belief and reassurance gave me the strength to follow through on my adventure.

 

5. We Don’t Want to Rattle the Cage

Unless we have followed our dream from a young age, doing it now requires change. This change can upset our relationships with friends and family. Try to communicate your desires as well as you can. Give the people close to you an opportunity to come along on the journey. This can be hard. We don’t want to hurt the people we love, yet, compromising our own happiness isn’t going to work either. There are times when we have to dig in our heels and follow our own path, hoping that one day we can bring everyone along with us.

 

6. We Don’t Know How

At the root of all of the above reasons is fear. Huge, overpowering, heart-rending fear; and here’s the kicker: you can’t soothe the fear. It will never cease.

Sometimes, however, you are not following your dream because you simply don’t know how to. In that case, your job is to figure it out. Learn the rules of risk-taking, find out how others went about it, educate yourself on the pitfalls, get crystal clear on what you want, make a step-by-step plan, and set a deadline. Then, take action. The sooner you start, the faster you’ll get there.

Do you have a dream you are not following? What’s stopping you?

Share with us in the comments below or on my Facebook page and let’s figure out what you can do right now to make your dream come true.

As always, thank you for reading,

Karin

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