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How to Stop Dreaming When You Should Be Planning
Tell me again why you haven’t taken action on your dream.
Let me guess. You don’t have the time? The money? Your friends and family aren’t taking you seriously enough and without their support, you don’t know how you’d begin?
Too many other priorities and responsibilities? You’re a parent and your kids come first? Your parents are aging and they need you?
Maybe you need to get better organized and do some research. Whatever your particular ducks are, they aren’t in a row and you need them to get there.
You probably know where I am going with this, right? You know what I am going to say.
Those aren’t reasons. They’re excuses.
So, how, then, do you stop dreaming and start planning?
You have to get a handle on your fear.
All of the reasons you have in your head for why you’re not living your dream yet are just fear in disguise. They are your defenses from failure, from rejection, and from the social isolation that can accompany dream chasing.
Everything you want and desire for your life is on the other side of your fear.
Fear is not a reason to wait.
So many people stand still, waiting to find the necessary confidence to start. What they don’t realize is that confidence doesn’t come until they start despite their fear.
You cannot get over your fear by sitting still, talking about it, and thinking about it.
When you do that, you are giving those fears oxygen. You’re fanning the flames. You’re training your brain to believe that risk is involved and that there is something to be afraid of.
When your brain gets that message, it is biologically wired to go into fight or flight mode and resists the changes that come with taking action on your dream.
That’s why you start believing that you don’t have the time, that there are other people out there who can do it faster or better. Fear tells you that you need to know more, that you aren’t good enough, or that you are incapable of handling rejection or failure.
The reality is that you can handle having to start over. You can handle things not working out. You can survive the haters and can live to tell the tale if it all blows up in your face.
You just don’t want those things to happen.
Tune into your capability.
Recognize the difference between not wanting something to happen and not being able to handle things that might come your way. You’ve failed before. You’ve been knocked down, mocked, and ridiculed. It wasn’t fun, of course, but you’re still here.
Start thinking about the times you’ve been knocked down, crushed, and beaten down. How’d you get back up? How did you rise? How did you cope?
Think, too, about the moments when you didn’t have to overcome something because, instead, you flat out crushed it?
You can’t kumbaya your way out of fear. You have to go to war.
Overcoming fear is about talking back to it. It’s about calling bullshit. It’s about recognizing that if it doesn’t work out, you’ll pivot, you’ll go from plan B to plan Z, if you have to. It means knowing that if you don’t know the answer, you’ll find out.
It’s not about not being afraid. It’s about being afraid but doing it anyway.
Your body is wired to resist risk and change so talk back to it. Tell yourself: “Hey, there, fear. I see you. I know you’re there and I know you’ve got my back but I’ve got this.”
Stop thinking. Stop talking. Start doing.
You cannot think your way into your dream. No amount of self-talk is going to get you there, either. You have to take action. Whether or not you choose to take a big action or to start small, you have to move.
If there is something you don’t know, ask Google. If you need more time, scrap your social media scrolling, wake up early, or take a pass on your latest Netflix binge.
If you’re waiting for support, accept that it might not come until after you find success, and even then, it might not come at all.
If it’s money you need, start making some painful budget cuts, evaluate whether or not you are willing to invest or go into debt for your dream.
If you’re stuck comparing yourself to others, stop. You’re sending that energy in the wrong direction. Sure, someone may already be doing what you hope to do better, faster, and more efficiently. Still, that isn’t a reason not to start. No one person can serve everyone and no one person is the right person for everyone.
Someone needs you and you’re hiding.
You stop dreaming and you start planning the moment you start taking action. The moment you take a step closer toward the person you want to be, the life you want to have, and the way you want to move through the world is the moment your dream is closer to becoming a reality.
Beginning. Middle. End.
I can almost hear you thinking: “Yeah, but….”
But what? Why not you? Why not now?
There’s plenty of room for all of us but you have to choose to take up the space.
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