Something calls to your heart – a big dream, a big vision for what could be – and you want to act on it. You may have known from a young age that you’re here to change things, to contribute in a big way.
Maybe you’ve started to take action but then “life” got in the way and you lost your momentum. Or maybe you’ve never quite convinced yourself to really go for it. After all, you’re just an ordinary person.
This Guide is designed to illuminate 8 things that have killed countless dreams, and one thing you can do about each one. Our intention is to support you in your big vision – to help you be one who never gives up.
1. Fear of Taking Risks
Our basic human nature does not like risking. We like comfort, what is known and predictability. However, when you are wanting to manifest a big dream or vision or sacred calling it often is NOT going to support the status quo. This early realization on your part can bring up fear of taking the risk to speak out and show up in a different way. And what are you risking? Ridicule perhaps. Judgment that you are not still ‘falling in line.’ And fear that no one will join in with you – and you will be alone.
One thing you can do: Be honest with yourself about your fear. Share your fear openly – if just to the mirror. And realize that fear will always accompany striking out on the path that is truly in your heart. What if the message of your fear is not “Danger – retreat!” but “Go forward! You are on the right path.”
2. Your “Big Why” isn’t clear or it fades away.
The idea of making a difference is all well and good, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of energy. Things will go wrong. You’ll lose your enthusiasm. Finding the time and the money to make it work isn’t all glitter and rainbows.
Unless you’re in touch with your “Big Why” – the larger possibility of your vision – the work you’re doing to manifest your vision will turn into a burden.
One thing you can do: Find a way to express your vision and why it’s important in a way that inspires you and that you can keep in front of you. That might be a vision board, a mission statement, a poem or a song that represents your big why. And create a practice for yourself that brings your vision present day after day.
3. Insufficient commitment
What’s your relationship to your big dream? Do you hope it happens? Do you wish you could fulfill it? Or are you truly committed to it?
There’s a subtle but very powerful shift that happens once you’re truly committed. Something shifts in your energy, your very being. You’ve shut the back door and announced to the world “I’m going to do this thing.” Until you do that, you don’t have a vision that has a prayer of becoming reality. You have a pipedream.
One thing you can do: Tell your friends that you really ARE going to take on this thing – this vision you have – whether it’s a business, a social project, finding partners in an organization that already exists, or a shift in a relationship. And announce one step you’ll take – by when.
4. Lack of Self-Trust
If you make agreements with yourself and do not follow through and keep those commitments – you undermine trust in yourself. A part of you tracks these broken agreements and over time, when you say to yourself, “I’m going to write for 20 minutes today.” or “I’m going to call so and so today.” and don’t …well, that part no longer believes you. And when you don’t believe in yourself – you are lost.
Believing in yourself is crucial to holding a big dream and big vision because on some days you are the only one who is still carrying the flame. Lack of self-trust destroys more good ideas and possibilities than any other road block along the way.
One thing you can do: Only make an agreement with yourself that you can keep. Start this moment. And tell yourself – I erase all previous agreements and commitments with myself. Then, tell yourself one thing you can do and WILL do and DO IT! and repeat. Over time a new sense of self-trust will emerge inside – and you will know that you can and will trust who you are … and what you say.
5. Stopping when things go wrong
Especially when you’re starting something new, unexpected things will arise to take you off-course. After all, your vision requires that you do things you’ve never done before.
Precisely because we don’t have evidence from the past that we can do this, the inevitable breakdowns and problems that arise can seem like evidence that we CAN’T do it. It’s hopeless. We might as well quit, now, rather than continue to beat our heads against a wall.
One thing you can do: Recognize that each problem can make you smarter. Instead of being the reason to quit, use unexpected challenges as a reason to renew your commitment and a source of creative adaptation.
6. Trying to do it by yourself
You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone. You have a unique vision and what compels you is deep and personal, but trying to do it all on your own is a recipe for burnout.
Your first job as a leader is to find those who resonate with your dream. You may join them or they may join you, but for any initiative to take root in reality requires that more than just you are sharing that purposeful intent.
One thing you can do: Find places to start sharing about what you care about. Do this in a way that is truly sharing – not manipulation in any way – and do it as an invitation to participate with you if it resonates with the person or people you’re talking with.
7. Not asking for what you need
Related to, but not the same as, trying to do it by yourself is not asking for what you need. Many, many people (and we invite you to see if you, too, do this) hesitate to ask for what they need because they’re afraid it might seem “pushy”. Other people allow themselves to wish for what they need but not ask for it “because they’re probably too busy” or some other imaginary reason. Others still haven’t done the rigorous work to determine what it is they actually need.
Instead, you might compromise and settle for something less than you need. The result is frustration, resignation and a slow grinding halt to your dream.
One thing you can do: Ask yourself, “Exactly what do I need, by when, and from whom?” Think about it without the reasons why it’s not possible. And then make what seems to you like an unreasonable request.
8. Lack of focus and structure/loss of momentum
Have you ever found yourself in “browser blackout”? You wake up and realize that two hours have gone by and you’ve gotten nothing accomplished because you’ve been chasing one thing after another on the internet? Or you’ve been on Facebook for hours? Or, or, or…
And then you say that you don’t have time for thinking from the big picture and real planning?
These are just a couple of the ways we avoid things that seem too challenging or too hard. We find the things that are easy to do and fill our day up with them. Lack of structure and focus on the things that matter have been the source or years of lost time, loss of self-esteem, and giving up.
One thing you can do: Find someone you can trust to hold you accountable for doing what you say you will, and then make promises to them about what you’ll accomplish, by when, to take consistent action on your big dream.
My Invitation to You
These 8 Reasons People Give Up Too Soon are real! I’ve witnessed it over and over and the “what you can do” for each one is something that works.
I also know that you may need support as you build your capacity to be unstoppable.
If you know that you could benefit from some deeper support – something that goes beyond knowledge and gives you the experiential learning “in your bones” that will be self-generating over time – I invite you to check out Wisdom School One: Building Your Wisdom Bridge. WHAT to do begins inside!
To your BIG Work!