3 Ways to Follow Your Dreams (Even the Tiny Ones!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

At the end of yesterday’s post, I wrote about my dream of becoming a roller girl someday. Thus far, that dream may be one of the most daunting ones I’ve ever undertaken. It requires the patience to develop a skill that does not come naturally to me – who thought that me, the wall hugger at the skating rink, would be willing to fall on her face just to learn how to jump on skates? And so, today, I wanted to impart a sort of action plan for how I will be following that dream and how you can follow your own.

1. Think incrementally for the future, but focus on the now. I bring myself into the direct present when I am skating, but I have to also acknowledge that there are certain steps that I’m going to have to take in order to build my skill regiment. First it’s stroking at a fast pace, then it’s turning, then it’s crossovers, then it’s stopping… etc. You have to have that all in the back of your mind, but then you have to forget it. I know, it sounds counterintuitive. But no matter whether you are learning how to knit, how to write, or how to stay in a committed relationship, you have to live in the moment and only spend a minimal amount of time processing the future. If you spend too much time planning/worrying about it, you won’t have the focus you need to complete the current turn or write the next sentence.

2. Play it safe. Timewise, I am giving myself several years to learn the art of roller skating. Why? Because I don’t practice every day yet, and I am working on other things too. And being let down because I haven’t gotten to a certain point in pursuing my dream is an awful feeling – I’d rather give myself more time than less to become fabulous at something. You have to ask yourself about each of your dreams: is this something that I need immediate gratification from? Will I be any less satisfied if I allow myself another ___ amount of time to do it?

3. Lose the destination mentality. The journey is what matters most. When I am doing a horrible job at roller skating, I remind myself of the first days I started knitting. I was horrible! And not patient, and not willing to take criticism. But if I had not gone through all the steps of learning and unlearning the ways that I went about knitting, I wouldn’t have gained such valuable assets as I have now – more patience and vast skill. I believe that roller skating will be like that, so although I sometimes imagine myself as a great skater, I know that there will always be learning to do. The “destination” is not where my learning will end and I am grateful for it.

Want some more inspiration to pursue your goals? Check out my pieces on productivity and creativity.
And be sure to add your tips in the comments section!