Dreaming about your future is fun. Although, wishful thinking is not the same as pursuing dreams. Right now the Lottery is at 1 Billion dollars! It is unfathomable! I can’t even imagine what it would be like to win it. It’s been fun dreaming about it with friends and family. We’ve been talking about what we would do with such a win-fall. Tomorrow morning, we’re all going to wake up and may discover someone won it all.
Wishful thinking would be playing the lotto all your life but never taking steps to improve your situation in a tangible way. A completely different mindset is necessary to pursue the God-given dreams in our hearts. One of my favorite mottos is, “Everything in life involves choice.” In order to see lasting change, one must make specific goals and work toward them. Nothing changes without making tough choices.
I love the Albert Einstein quote above. Keep Moving Forward. Forward motion is necessary. You simply can’t stand still and expect to stay balanced and upright. I haven’t ridden a bicycle in years. It might be difficult for me to try again. It may result in some skinned knees and bruises. It would take determination and choosing to push through the false starts before riding smoothly again. The old proverb says, “If at once you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Another important item in pursuing a dream is deciding what the dream is. Does it serve a higher purpose? One that goes beyond yourself and helps others? I love success stories of businesses that are built on the foundation of helping others. Take Tom’s shoes for example. The founder, Blake Mycoskie, was on a trip in Argentina that was supposed to be about fun, not work, but instead he saw a need.
He describes the story in his book. Toward the end of his trip, he met an American woman in a café who was volunteering on a shoe drive. She explained that many kids lacked shoes, even in relatively well-developed countries like Argentina, an absence that didn't just complicate every aspect of their lives -- including essentials like attending school and getting water from the local well -- but also exposed them to a wide range of diseases. Her organization collected shoes from donors and gave them to kids in need -- but ironically the donations that supplied the organization were also its Achilles' heel. Their complete dependence on donations meant that they had little control over their supply of shoes. And even when donations did come in sufficient quantities, they were often not in the correct sizes, which meant that many of the children were left barefoot even after the shoe drop-offs. It was heartbreaking.
He spent a few days traveling from village to village with the woman and her group, and a few more traveling on his own, witnessing the intense pockets of poverty just outside the bustling capital. It dramatically heightened his awareness. He knew somewhere that poor children around the world often went barefoot, but now, for the first time, saw the real effects of being shoeless: the blisters, the sores, the infections.
He wanted to do something about it. But what? His first thought was to start a shoe-based charity, but instead of soliciting shoe donations, he would ask friends and family to donate money to buy the right type of shoes for these children on a regular basis. That’s how Toms shoes was born. For every pair of Toms shoes someone purchases, one pair is donated to children in poverty.
So, there are a few takeaways from Blake’s story.
First, a need was observed. This was bigger than himself. Blake was moved by compassion, shoes for children, because he allowed his mind and heart to be opened to the needs of others.
Second, he answered the call to act. He was moved beyond compassion. He was moved to take action to effect change.
Third, he made a choice. He came back to the states and began to put together a plan of action but he had to choose to do so. To choose means 1.) to decide on a course of action, typically after rejecting alternatives. 2.) to select freely and after consideration and 3.) to think about which one of several things is the one you want, and take the action to get it.
Josh Shipp is a TV personality and motivational speaker. His show, “Teen Trouble” documented his efforts in helping families make change and have teen interventions. He outlines principles in his book, “Jump Ship: Ditch Your Dead-End Job and Turn Your Passion into a Profession”. Josh states, “You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.”
I’ve heard it said, “If you’re not pursuing your dreams, you’re not living -- you’re just existing.” If you want to achieve your God-given dreams in life it is going to take a lot of hard work, failure, time, energy, discouragement, and accountability.
Here are some steps to take toward pursuing your dream:
• Start reading personal development books. Learn about how important mindset is. Discover your why, your reason for your dream.
• Identify the people you want to help with the skill set you may already have. What is the problem they may have that you can present a solution to?
• Start taking action. Learn all you can about your calling.
• Find someone who’s already done or doing what you want to do and ask them to be your mentor.
I’m on my own journey in pursuing God’s dreams for my life. It’s exciting. God always has plans and purpose for you. Take the time to invest in yourself, reinvent yourself if you must. Pray and ask Him what it is He may want you to do that you don’t yet know. Don’t stay stuck. Get up on that bicycle and start pedaling toward it. Keep Moving Forward.