When Your Dreams Hold You Back, Part 2

When Your Dreams Hold You Back
Last week, I started talking about reasons why dreams can hold us back from really achieving, well, our dreams. As oxymoronic (yes, that’s a word) as that sounds, things can get tripped up for us when we try to usher the images in our mind into the real world.

Continued here are my musings on this topic.

3. It’s hard work.

Dreaming about something is definitely the easy part because, in your imagination, you have already achieved it. Then you come crashing back into reality, and you are far from where you were in your mind.

It really is a bummer. I mean — who ever pictures the process necessary to achieve a dream? The struggles, the boredom of the daily grind, the sweat and tears… It’s not exactly glamorous, so we skim over those parts in our minds and go straight for the success.

While it is very understandable to do that, it also does a huge disservice to the role that the process plays in actually making your dream a success in the tangible world.

Without having to navigate past the obstacles and failures, without developing the tenacity to stick with the seemingly unending climb toward the goal — how are you ever going to be able to maintain your dream, or grow it even further than you had imagined?

Simply put, it’s nearly impossible. Instead of bemoaning all your failures, embrace them. Learn from them, and then keep on trying.

I know, I know — easier said than done. But, how important is your dream to you?


It’s so easy to get overtaken by the number of details that go into the realization of dreams, especially when (as I said in the previous point) we tend to skip past the process part when we are visiting our fantasy worlds.

So here you have all the competing needs rushing at you. Frantically, you try to do EVERYTHING all at once! How feasible is this, really?

Instead of taking baby steps to accomplish one part, we stop trying altogether. And the dream dies.

The best way to overcome overwhelm is to get it out of your head and onto a piece of paper. When all the thoughts are whirling in your brain, it’s hard to grab on and work through even small things.

But when you write them down, the thoughts become more tangible. They can be moved around, manipulated, prioritized, considered one at a time. From all of this work can then emerge a strategy.

5. “Yes, but…”

Someone may ask you, “Isn’t that your dream?” And you respond:

  • “Yes, but… I have bills to pay.”
  • “Yes, but… my family is counting on me for support. I can’t just go off and do whatever I want.”

While I agree with the need for survival jobs, it’s not necessarily an either/or situation. Your dream doesn’t have to die just because you have to devote some time to ensuring you have food, shelter, and other necessities of life.

Think back to the strategy I talked about in the last point. How can you modify it to fit your reality? Are there small pieces of the strategy that can be accomplished right now? Do you believe that it can happen?

Rarely does life go as expected, and that holds true for the realization of dreams, too. Stop letting the excuses, the illusions of perfection, fear, and anything else that stands in your way keep you from achieving your dreams. Be realistic about what you can do right now, and start the process.

Image by Celestine Chua

Melissa Cooley of The Job Quest, LLC unearths clients’ career examples to showcase the talents and results that make them must-hire candidates. Click here for more information on ways to partner with Melissa for your career success!

Melissa is a contributor to the book Nourish Your Career, has been quoted on Monster.com, Dice.com, and Quintessential Careers, has interviewed numerous times for The Voice of Job Seekers podcast, and has written guest posts for multiple job seeker blogs.

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