Oprah Winfrey was right.
The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.
Every woman and girl should be given the opportunity and freedom to create a life that’s in alignment with reaching her dreams. While following that dream is not always possible due to circumstance, there’s something that’s fiercely empowering about being given ‘permission’ to at least try.
Statistics are shockingly against this ideal, and it’s happening in every country in the world – not just developing countries. There are obstacles and discrimination that beat down even the strongest of women, and sometimes women are born into a life with a pre-determined destiny. It would be naïve of me to say that everyone should follow their dreams, because I’ve seen far too many real situations in both my travels and at home that make this practical.
Cheers to the lucky ones
For those of us who were born into privilege with great parents, in a beautiful country with great laws and nice people (damn!), there really should be no reason to not follow our dream. Right? Um.. no. Fortunate people also have their problems and reasons to veer off path (more on that later).
Then that leaves us with the very small percentage who have opportunity to give our dreams a real go.
So what is this whole dream thing about, anyways?
With 1 in 4 High School age girls in the United States not graduating, and 150 million girls under 18 being victims of sexual violence each year, it seems like the majority of citizens in this world have other things to prioritize.
For the lucky few that don’t, taking that big scary step towards action of your dream is something that comes as an extreme privilege. It takes courage to face the possibility of failure, commitment to free up the time, and money to make it happen. How’s that going to come to fruition? With careful preparation and follow through of the steps needed to turn daily goals into weekly achievements.
How to get started, if you can
As a life coach and go-getter business woman whose helped hundreds – possibly thousands – of women achieve their goals over the past 17 years, I’ve got a little bit of wisdom to share.
- Ditch the ‘should’s’. No, you SHOULDN’T be doing this, that or the other. What you do has to be okay by you and only you. Go at your pace, don’t compare yourself to others and remove the word ‘should’ from your vocabulary. I learnt this from competing in sport – my coach wouldn’t let me watch the other competitors that went before me, only the ones that went after me. He said that it doesn’t matter, and it won’t change my performance outcome if I’m doing my best. He was right.
- Give yourself commitment time lines. What do you need to do to get started, and how long will you continue without the outcome you’re hoping for, before giving up? I don’t believe in the ‘never give up’ mantra, because I truly believe that strength is sometimes demonstrated more from knowing when to walk away.
- Work towards your goal in small blocks of time. Head to the baking aisle of the grocery store and buy yourself a kitchen timer. Do that big crazy goal thing of yours for 25 minutes only. When the timer buzzes, stop and do something nice for 5 minutes. Like a glass of water, cuddle with your puppy or check your facebook. But don’t stop your focused effort before that 25 minutes is up. I have a ladybug timer and when I need motivation to work on my goals I say that I’m just going to do – say – 6 ladybugs today. It’s less intimidating and overwhelming than thinking I have to work into an undefined period of time this afternoon.
Living your dream is about creating a lifestyle where you can spend time on the things that matter most to you. This could either be following a career path that gives you joy (example, going back to school to be a vet assistant so you can work with animals, instead of working in retail like you’re doing now) or gives you a sense of purpose.
Finding the tools to make this happen will take resourcefulness and lots of research time. It’ll also take lots of planning and possible negotiating with your family members to get on board with supporting you. You’ll probably need guidance and training also, plus of course money. Will you get that from loans or from working a little more to get the cash flow? These are the logistics that need to be figured out before you begin.