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  • Writer's pictureShawna

Chase the Dream.

For so many of us, it's easy to dream big. I mean, we've been told to do so our entire lives, haven't we? We're surrounded by entrepreneurs and motivational speakers and writers and social media posts inundating us with encouragement and go-get-it messages, and we love this, for the most part -- as we should! Who doesn't want more positive vibes and less of the downers? Just seeing a few words of motivation or a little reminder that yes, you can do hard and wonderful things if you put your mind to it, can provide that little boost of self-confidence we need to get the ball rolling and decide that today is probably a good day to have a good day, or to dream a big dream, or to begin to believe in yourself in a new way.

The dreaming is the easy part, for most of us. We "get" dreams. We like the concept of believing we can accomplish spectacular things; of setting our goals high and rising to the challenges of creating our lives to be these beautiful, vibrant masterpieces of self-expression. We want to believe in ourselves -- I truly believe this. We want to feel that we were created with specific, unique passions, that if cultivated and nurtured in healthy, productive ways, can grow into our life purposes. We want to live rich, intentional, focused lives that reflect the very essence of our identity and allow us to operate in the fullness of what author Max Lucado calls our "sweet spot" in his book Cure for the Common Life. Because, after all, who wants to live a common life? We want so much more than that for ourselves. We want extraordinary. And so we dream.

Dreaming is a great place to start. It's a terrific habit to form. Having passions and goals and wanting to do something great with them is the very foundation of almost all noteworthy pursuits. The part where many people get stuck -- and trust me, I've lived in that spot myself -- is the space between the dreaming and the doing. Oh, we have these wonderful and creative and innovative ideas swirling around in our head, just bursting for release, and we know we could do great things one day -- but the question that stumbles most of us before we even start is, "How do I make this happen?" And this is where we can find ourselves getting stuck.

It's a necessary question to ask, of course, because the "how" defines our action plan. The "how" needs to be attended to diligently, daily, piece-by-piece; it needs to be defined, and chipped away at, and given a great deal of consideration and care and cultivating, because it's the sequence of steps we'll take in our daily lives that will turn the dream into reality. Without really dancing with the "how" and mapping out the steps, then unfortunately the dream -- our "what" in the equation, the thing we're hoping to achieve -- can hang up there in the sky of our fantasies for the rest of our lives, shining and untouchable in all its glory, but never brought down to earth. It's safe there, and it's pretty and alluring and untarnished, but it can't stay there -- because dreams aren't meant to be mounted and left to collect dust. They're meant to be lived.

This can be the scary part, this "how," as it can give us pause and make us question ourselves. Anyone else with me here? I've often found myself wading through the muck of the "how" and asking things like:

How do I make this happen?

How do I put my dreams and passions into action?

How do I make my life reflect what matters most to me?

How do I manage my time? How on earth can I get everything done that I have to

do, and still devote time and energy to that which I love?

The struggle is real between the wanting things to change and the making things change. It can be daunting, and even seem impossible given how busy our lives are, to put the steps into action and chase down that thing that makes our heart soar. I've been there. I still have moments of that now, as I work to rearrange my life to live in the fullness of my passion and calling. It can be scary, and feel risky, and require us to sacrifice some comforts or things to which we've grown accustomed. It can require great diligence and discipline; it can beg a whole lot of mountain-moving faith.

And this is where we have to take a good look at ourselves and those dreams we have hanging up there in the atmosphere, and decide just how important they are to us and to what lengths we're willing to go to harness them and begin to pull them down in front of us until we're swimming around in them and splashing them all over our daily lives. For some of us, this might result in a sudden life overhaul; a big giant leap into the unknown, risking everything for the pursuit of that thing and going all-in. For others, it might look like a gradual rearranging of time and schedule and energy and finances, of figuring out how to pursue the dream in the midst of life-as-you-know-it, with a steady action plan in place that includes measurable, achievable goals to keep you accountable along the way, trusting that the process will lead you where you want to go as long as you're armed with patience, discipline and drive.

That second path was mine, so if that's you, I can definitely relate. While I've often envied those who've felt brave enough or empowered enough to simply drop everything and change their entire lives in single-minded pursuit of their passion, I knew my path would be more gradual, more slow-and-steady, structured over the course of years of learning and preparation and growth, while I continued on with my "normal" every day life and worked to incorporate this new plan into it. It wasn't easy. I won't sugar coat that. I had many moments of desperation where I wanted to eschew all responsibilities and daily "must-dos" that only served as hindrances and annoyances to my progress toward my passion path. But I knew I had to stick to those diligently while I chased down my dream in a way that felt practical and smart and sustainable.

Sometimes you have to do some things you don't love and trek through the mundane in order to climb the mountain of your passion. But trust me -- when you reach that summit and look back down over all the boulders and obstacles, the twists and cliffs and branches and streams and muddy moments that brought you to your knees and tested your sense of self in every way imaginable -- you will be a changed person. And every single moment will have been worth it.

So do the work. Identify the dream, and keep it in sight. Paint it in glitter. And then start putting together your hustle pack and preparing for your journey to chase it down, no matter what that looks like for you. And since my passion just happens to be helping others on their own journeys of dream-chasing, I'd love nothing more than to be a part of your action plan.

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