In today’s episode, I share about the concept of putting your Dream to the test.
Buy John Maxwell’s Book “Put Your Dreams to the Test“
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Put Your Dreams to the Test
I have got something that’s always been on my heart, and lately, even more so. It is the concept of putting your dreams to the test. If you have had a long-time dream or something that’s recently ignited in you, I want to encourage you that now is the best time to pursue that dream. No matter what goes on in the crazies of the world, if you have a dream in your heart, there’s a pretty good reason that you’re the one who’s being designed to fulfill it.
The reason why I felt this topic would be so exciting is because it is relevant to the conversations I’m hearing. So today is about your dreams. Dreams can seem very ethereal, and it might seem like only kids talk about them.
We’re not necessarily talking about the dreams you have at night. That’s another area of discussion, of interpreting those dreams. I don’t know if you’d agree with me, but sometimes they seem completely confusing and you wonder, how do you make sense of it? What I’m talking about is, have you had a dream that perhaps has been burning inside of you, that’s something that won’t let go? You keep on thinking about it, then you see somebody else walking up to their dream, which is maybe similar to what you feel you’ve been called to do.
Maybe you’re in a position or a job or a circumstance that either feels like a hindrance or makes it almost seem unrealistic to realize your dream. I want to encourage you today. I’m going to go over a couple of tips to help you, because I want you to start thinking, what is that dream?
If you haven’t been dreaming in a while, let me be the fire that ignites your dream. Because if you think about it, if this is something that’s a new or old dream, what are the odds? If you give yourself one in five, one in 100, what are the odds of you actually achieving your dream? Because the next thing to ask is, are you willing to put your dream to the test? There is actually a process and there are some tools to help you decide. You want to take it from just a pie-in-the-sky idea to thinking, is this something I can actually do?—whether it’s changing your business model or changing the market that you’re working in or changing exactly what you’re doing. Sadly, I’ve heard of many people who are in jobs or positions that aren’t necessarily what they want to do. But now is the time to make the permit to go for your dreams.
There wouldn’t be enough time for me to go through all aspects of this process. This concept comes from Dr. John C. Maxwell, a number one New York Times bestselling author. He has authored and sold more than 26 million books in 50 different languages. He’s also considered the number one leader in business. I have been certified as one of his trainers, mentors, speakers, and coaches. I’m so excited about this content because I, too, have had dreams in my life and I never could pin it down. It’s almost like a balloon that just wanted to fly away. But you still need to anchor your dream.
Reading his book, Put Your Dreams to the Test, as well as going through the training, which is what I’m going to be sharing with you today, helped to galvanize and cement what I needed to do, because being with you today is my dream.
According to my mom, when I was three years old, I’d walk around with a microphone and perform for my parents. I always loved to talk and I was very chatty. Then when I grew up, I got myself into different business models and environments that were really not in my lane. I worked really hard to do them well; eventually, I realized you get to that stage in your life where you just feel like you could do something that isn’t you anymore. And slowly but surely, I’ve been shifting.
What I was so inspired about in John C. Maxwell’s book is that he puts it into actionable steps. That’s what I want to help you do today because dreams are valuable commodities. They propel you forward. When your dream, your purpose, and your potential come together, it’s like fireworks. Nothing can stop you.
Now here are some common reasons that people have for not identifying their dream.
I had a dream about 15 years ago. I was working in website design with my husband in our business. I’ve always loved creativity in the arts. When I had gotten a camera about the time when my first child was born, I was so excited. I wanted to learn everything about this camera. Then along the line, I had the dream of being a professional photographer. I didn’t go to a four level college. I didn’t do the standard education that everyone else does. I always felt like, who am I to even do this? I encountered a lot of these things.
Maybe this is something you’ve encountered, too. Number one is discouragement. I call them dream crushers. Those people who would say things such as: “Why would you want to do that?” “That is a stupid idea.” “Well, you don’t have the skills for that.” “Who does she think she is to even want to do that?” I’m sure you have similar past disappointments and hurts. Maybe you did something, like you wanted to sing as a child and you stepped out, but some people might have said, “Ugh, don’t do that. Your voice is terrible.” A little word like that can keep you locked up in the prison of mediocrity and so you never step out.
Or maybe it’s settling for average. It’s easy to be average. But if you want to be extraordinary, you’ve got to put in extra to do the work, to figure it out. Maybe it’s been a lack of confidence. Maybe you’ve grown up or you’ve been in an environment where maybe you weren’t encouraged to reach your dreams. Maybe your parents had decided for you before you had a chance that this is what you should do, or maybe they limited your opportunities. Maybe you feel like, well that’s not something I can even do. Or maybe you’ve been through a lot of hurt and abuse that have really knocked your self-confidence. Sometimes, some people lack imagination to dream because they simply stopped dreaming. Some of us might think that dreaming is just for kids, not for adults; but you’re never too old to dream.
It’s important to tap into those possibilities within you that are waiting to come out. Consider these reasons, ask yourself: What will it take to propel you forward? If there were no limitations and restrictions on time, money, and resources, what would that look like? Give yourself a minute. Think about it: If this was what my life looked like, what would I be doing?
John Maxwell’s book has 10 steps to conquering your dreams. This whole training could take up to two hours, but I’m just going to touch base on two of those today, to get the ball rolling for you. The first one I want to share with you is to take ownership. You need to own that dream. You need to say, “Yes, that’s me. I can dream.” Are you living your dream or is someone else living it for you? I’m sure you’ve seen other people doing things that made your heart go, “I already wish I could do that.” Maybe people have put expectations on you that you just never thought it would be an option. But when the dream is right for the person, the person is right for the dream, and the two can’t be separated.
There’s something truly valuable in your dream. You need to see what it represents—a possibility. Because you stepping into your purpose and pursuing your dream could mean that you are helping other people realize theirs. You might be called to do something—whether it’s to be in full-time ministry, or to write a book, or to start a business—and there are people out there who are yearning for a solution that only you can give, in the way that you are designed to do it. So the first step to realizing your dream is ownership. Take ownership of your dream, be willing to do the things necessary to achieve it. This includes being willing to bet on yourself. If you don’t believe in your success, it’s very hard for everybody else to believe in you. it’s hard when you have issues with self-confidence.
Sometimes, I say this to my kids, that motivation isn’t a feeling and confidence isn’t a feeling. It’s something you experience after you take a risk. Risks can seem very uncomfortable for many, but sometimes, taking that leap of faith is necessary. If you remember riding a bicycle as a kid, you felt uncomfortable at one point when your parent was holding the back of the seat. But as soon as your parent let go, that moment felt exhilarating. Or if you remember the time when you had to jump off a diving board for the first time into a swimming pool. Once it was done, you felt it was easy. You then asked yourself, why didn’t I do this before? Or maybe you’re a performer, and when you went to dance on a show, you felt so nervous, but when you actually did it, you told yourself, that wasn’t so bad.
There’s a concept about loving what you do and doing what you love, because when talent, purpose and potential come together, that’s where true success lies. This can seem very ethereal, but once you put it down on paper, and I would encourage you to take a piece of paper and a pen, and actually make this more real and concrete.
The other thing to remember is don’t compare yourself. In today’s age of social media, everybody’s sharing what they’re doing and it can feel intimidating. Sometimes, I have to watch myself and go, “Remember she’s doing great, but she probably did 10 or 20 years of practice. That’s why she’s a great speaker. Or maybe that’s why he’s doing really well in business.” We can’t compare ourselves because we are all at a different pace on this journey called life. Success is doing the best you can with what you have. We don’t need all the bells and whistles; we just need to start small.
I love watching YouTube channels and seeing them grow. Most people go, “Oh, wow, I can’t believe she’s got like a million subscribers!” I always challenge people to go to the channel and go watch the first videos. Because right now, the channel will show you the latest videos. Even on my channel, I have to go back and remind myself when I’m being hard on myself, to go watch my first videos. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that was cringey. I can’t believe I sounded like that. I can’t believe I did that.”
Everyone has to start somewhere. The beginning could be a little clunky and a little messy, but that’s how you grow. It’s like learning to walk—we didn’t just yell at our kids because they fell down. We encouraged them to get back up. Here’s the thing: You need to believe in your vision because you are here for a reason.
Your purpose and calling are aligned with the time and space where you are right now. If you’re alive and breathing and reading this, there is a reason. You are here for a purpose. No matter what the world or history or people have told you, you really do have something special in you that the world needs.
I’ve been an entrepreneur, self-employed for 20 plus years because I’ve always wanted to be home with my kids. I always chose business models so I could make the decisions. After having those businesses and learning a lot in life, what I truly found successful was seeing other people step into their success, because there’s the idea of multiplication. When you see that you are able to sow into someone’s life, they take what you’ve learned, even if you’ve had to plow the ground.
it’s cost you a lot in terms of time and resources, and sometimes, pain. You’ve had to learn this the hard way, that now you can turn it around and make it easier for someone else. I think that is the greatest success we can have. There’s a saying, I can’t remember who said it, but it goes, “This generation’s ceiling is the next generation’s floor.” We want them to be able to stand on our shoulders, to grow into the next level. Especially for those of us who have kids. I’m sure you would agree with me that we want better for our kids than what we had.
So here are some questions to help spur you along to pursuing your dream. If success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but doesn’t feel good to you, it’s not really successful. There’s a compromise. It might seem great to the world, to have a million subscribers for example, and all this fame and fortune, but there’s always a price to that. Is that success for you?
The potential that exists within us is limitless. It’s largely untapped. Many studies show that a lot of us don’t use the full capacity of our brain. That just shows you that we really put limits on ourselves. But when we take ownership of the dream, we are committing to the dream because we finally realize it’s not just something swirling in our head. We’re finally going, “You know what, this is something I want to do, and I’m taking the steps.”
Here is a good exercise. On a scale of 1 to 10, let’s figure out whether your dream is actually more on the business side and you can actually make it happen. Or maybe it’s a hobby. Sometimes having a dream that’s a hobby is also great, because it could bring joy to you. Looking at it on a scale, if 1 would be, “nice to have,” and 10 would be, “I would lose sleep at night because I want it so bad,” think of your dream, and scale it from 1 to 10. That will give you an idea of whether it’s just a pie-in-the-sky or something you should actually be doing with your life. Then ask yourself, “What if I had no limits? What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?” That’s a big one, the fear of failure. A lot of us stop pursuing it because we are worried about what it will look like and how we’ll fail.
Remember, you need to take ownership and decide to take the steps to move forward. Owning your dream is one component, another component of testing your dream is the cost. A lot of people don’t necessarily understand that every dream has a cost to it. it’s easy for us to look at people who are making a success out of life and saying, “Oh well, aren’t they so lucky, they’re an overnight success.” But there is no such thing. They have had to sacrifice time, money, and resources to get there. Are you prepared to pay that price? Are you willing to pay the price that it’ll cost you to achieve your dream? Because dreams are very personal.
A lot of times, people don’t want to pay the price. It’s easier, safer, and more comfortable to just think of the dream as a dream that you imagine and daydream about. But once you actually start to make it tangible, you start to think of your dream like a business plan; you ask, “What are the steps that I need to take in order to make this real?” A lot of people are not prepared to learn about the sacrifice and aren’t prepared to put the hard work to make it happen. Oftentimes, the successful people you see out there are the ones who didn’t give up. They are not necessarily the most talented or the most beautiful or the most resourceful; they’re the ones who have the most persistence and keep going.
So ask yourself this cost question: Am I willing to pay the price for my dream? Having a dream is important, but more so, putting into practice. When I first started with the whole dream of wanting to be a professional photographer, I realized that I had to put in the work. So I went back to school and learned about it, and found a mentor who was important to my growth, too. Throughout those years, I still had this big dream of being a speaker. But then I thought, “No one would ever pay me to do that. How would I be able to even make this a thing?” I would always sort of self-sabotage and take the easy, low-hanging fruit and not really take the step to be what I wanted to be.
Far-off dreams are easy to think about when you’re in your comfort zone, but taking a step towards it—like finding resources, training opportunities or looking for someone who’s already done it, who is a few steps ahead of you—is how you start. For example, if you want to lose weight, logically the steps would be to start to exercise more, or watch your diet. We all know that, but not many of us want to do the work. We have to really consider this point. The dream is free, but the journey isn’t. At some point, you need to make the transition from being the believer of your dream, to being the buyer of your dream. Are you willing to buy into your dream? Are you willing to be the investor of your dream?
Another thing we don’t realize is that the price must be paid sooner than you think. There’s a lot of dreamers and believers, but there aren’t a lot of dream buyers who are saying, “Okay, I’m going to put in the work. I want to run a marathon. I’m going to do the work. I’m going to get up.” My husband is a marathon runner and I watched him go from thinking he wanted to run for his health to really focusing on a goal. And religiously, even if it was a hundred percent humidity outside, he would go out every day and run because he made that decision. He was prepared to make the sacrifice, no matter the discomfort and pain.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the price of your dream will be higher than expected. The thing is we think it’s easy to get on top, but to get there, there are a lot more things under the surface that we don’t see, and the price must be paid more than once. We think, “Okay, once I do this one sacrifice, maybe I’ll work longer hours as I’m starting my business, then once I get to a certain amount of income, then I’m set and I’m never going to have to do that again.” The truth is that those who know they need to lead the way with their dreams because others are following them, know that they’re going to have to keep making those small sacrifices. John Maxwell says, “You’ve got to give up to go up.” What are you going to trade? What are you going to trade for time? Instead of watching TV, relaxing in the evenings, maybe you’re going to study and take an online course, or you’re going to work two jobs so you can pay off debt. What is the sacrifice you’re prepared to make?
It is possible to pay too much for your dream. This is important to realize, too. Even though you need to make sacrifices and prepare to do the work, sometimes, those sacrifices are not worth it, especially if it’s going to cost you time with your family and friends. This happened to me when I eventually decided that I didn’t want to miss out on my family. I had a young family. My kids were both under the age of five. I realized weddings were not where I wanted to be. Even though I was talented and I was good at it and doing well, the price was too much for me to be missing those hours with my family while working every weekend photographing other families.
Working 50 hours a week took a toll on my health. I had to pivot and decide where the best use of my time and energy lay, and eventually I had to close that business down and pivot to another direction. Sometimes, you are challenged with those decisions. That can be hard, especially when you’re in a comfort zone. Let me ask you this: What is your dream worth and what is it going to cost? How much time do you need? Is there any money investment? Do you need to invest in a coach or a mentor or a program, or do you need to get a business loan to grow your business? Who can you give your resources to, who will help shortcut your learning curve? What does it look like? Write it down and seek out someone with experience, someone who’s a few steps ahead of you, or who’s more advanced, or has resources.
The biggest leaps and bounds I ever made with my businesses was when I took the leap to employ a mentor and a coach, both in my old photography business. Even now as an amateur adult figure skater, I need a coach. I took up skating at age 30. I was like, “What are people going to say? I’m really old and I haven’t really done this. I’m gonna look like an idiot.” Hiring a coach was really helpful, for her to show me where I could improve. I might think I’m doing great, but then I look at the video and go, “I need to work on that.” Similarly, by hiring a business coach and making that investment, I was able to save myself five years of hard lessons which helped me grow. Because you can have a bad cost—for example, if it takes away from your time and your values, and it affects your health and relationships, then it’s not worth the cost—versus a good cost, where you ask, “What’s it going to cut?”
Say I’m giving up bingeing on TV shows to instead read a book and take a course as a good cost. The bigger the dream, the higher the cost, and you need to know what you’re unwilling to pay for and what you are willing to trade for. You might even need to change your dream or change what you are willing to pay for it. If you realize this dream really needs to be made, what shifts in your life do you need to make? Because it’s one thing to have a dream, and another to do the things needed to achieve it. There are very few people who are prepared to do that, but don’t leave your dream to chance. Don’t just hope that one day, it’ll just arrive and the opportunities will come flowing, and you’ll be invited to walk in.
Life doesn’t work like that. You have to put the work in, and these 10 powerful, yet straightforward questions are in the book, Put Your Dreams to the Test, and John Maxwell’s course. I felt the book was a very short read. It’s one of those books that you can go over and read and think about the concepts and revisit on a regular basis as you start to shift and think about your direction. The important part is you need to engage in the process.
It’s like when you are a host at webinars and workshops and trainings. I noticed that the people who pay attention get the best results. The ones who actually pay with their time and money are the ones who reach their goals because they’re engaged in the process. They’re willing to do the work.
How long it takes to achieve your dream depends on you. Sometimes, it might take a little longer. I find sometimes it takes twice the amount of time that I usually would anticipate, like building a house. My dad was a builder when I was growing up and always knew that you have these ideas of how long a house would take to build. And they would normally add on extra few weeks because they knew there would be delays. And I’m sure even as we think about where we were in January 2020 and the plans we had for 2020, with how the situation has changed and the way the world has become, we’ve all had to pivot. Let me then extend the opportunity and invitation to you that your dream is waiting for you to take the steps, and know that it’s worth it, and it’s going to bring you happiness and joy.
A lot of these tips might seem basic and common sense, but sometimes, you need somebody to help you highlight them and push you towards accountability and taking the steps.
I believe you are here for a reason, and you’re listening to this at a certain time and season in your life, which is important. So let me again invite you to come and join me on this journey as we pursue and unlock the steps towards you realizing your dreams.
If this is something you’re interested in, because we only touched on a few principles today, if you can imagine going a little deeper, I’d love to help you in that process. Dreaming and pursuing your purpose are things I love to talk about, but if you need a little push, then I’d love to invite you to one of my upcoming trainings on Putting Your Dream to the Test. If you’re interested in diving deeper into the 10 steps, since we’ve only covered two here—which was the ownership and cost—I’d love to come alongside you and help you in that process to help you move forward.
As a Mindset Coach I’m here to help you shift your thinking and unlock your full potential! If you’re needing support, encouragement and accountability; consider joining my group coaching program Unstick Your Mind.