A figure chasing stars in the night with the sun dawning.

Follow Your Dreams And Embrace Your Resilient Spirit

Are you a dream killer, guilty of negligent homicide? Do you have what it takes to be resilient enough to follow your dreams?

Dreams are the whispers of our deepest desires, the echoes of a life we yearn to live. They are the manifestations of our truest selves, urging us to leap beyond the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary.

In a world where practicality often overshadows passion, being resilient enough to follow your dreams is not just an act of defiance, but an act of self-realization.

This resilience is the bridge between the life we lead and the life we dream of—a journey of transformation, courage, and unwavering belief in yourself. As we embark on this journey, let’s unravel the essence of dreams and discover how to nurture the resilience needed to turn these dreams into reality.

An Oprah Winfrey quote on a pink and blue background with gold flecks that reads, "The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams."

Following Your Dreams is Hard Because Dreaming is Difficult

I believe dreams are the truest form of humanity. The very things that keep us waking up every morning. Constantly putting one foot in front of another, day after mundane day.

A dream, by definition, according to Webster’s, is:

Something greatly desired, an extravagant fancy

My childhood was far from a Norman Rockwell portrait. For a while, my dream was simply to live with my mother.

I often felt like my story could have been an ABC after-school special. Do you remember those? They were full of stories about being kidnapped by a noncustodial parent, a mother struggling with substance abuse, and teens dealing with trauma.

Your Dreams are More Than Stats

PBS also used to have a show that would address the statistical likelihood that children who, from certain situations, would repeat those same scenarios. Every damn day it was like I was taking a test, one that I never had any chance of passing:

  • Daughters of divorced parents have a 60% higher divorce rate in their own marriages

  • Children of parents with substance abuse issues are more likely to abuse substances themselves

  • Only 7% of children in foster care attend a four-year college

  • Only 1% of children in foster care graduate from a four-year college

I had the audacity to dream (paid link) that I would grow up to be something other than a predetermined lost cause.

I was laser-focused on achieving what I wanted and not what the paint-by-number picture ensured I would become.

These dreams felt insurmountable as a teenager: graduate college, find the love of my life, get married/stay married, have kids, and be happy and healthy.

A quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson a black background with gold accents that reads, "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

You Can Choose to Follow Your Dreams and Make Them Come True

I’ve never been one to do anything in small measure, so I graduated college (with an AA) before I finished high school. I was one of only two kids to have done so at that time.

I got married at 19, and we will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary in November. We have two children who are mostly happy and healthy. It’s not Norman Rockwell, but it’s close.

I have a Master’s degree in Management and Leadership and am working on a Ph.D. in psychology.

The probability of one of these things happening was less than 1%. The probability of realizing more than one of those dreams was less than zero. I didn’t care about the odds. I only knew I had to make my dreams real if I had any hope of living this life.

Getting This Far was Rewarding, but Living Life and Dreaming is Hard Work

Then something happened. I don’t know if it was age or adulthood. I don’t think it’s that simple.

A steady diet of responsibility, practicality, and verity caused me to limit my dreams, not through premeditated thought, but through negligence.

There were so many things that needed my attention. The laser focus and sheer will required to turn an extravagant fancy into reality seemed to have abandoned me.

A less than 1% chance of success was too hard.

It is “unwise” to do things differently than everyone else is doing them. Being like “most people” had been my lifelong destination. I had finally arrived.

The realization of a lot of my dreams was something to be proud of. On most days, I was. However, there was a point a few years ago when I realized I had killed my biggest dreams.

Needing a Change

When did I view things the way “most people” do? When did I decide that making a living by writing required too much? Where was I when I decided it was ok, to do so much less than I am capable of?

I began a journey of walking around the lake near my house every day. Whether it was raining, snowing, or storming… I walked. I walked early in the morning or late at night. I prioritized this habit every single day for over six months.

The idea was I would collect pictures and write a coffee-table book. It felt like the biggest adventure of my life. I was determined to accomplish my goal and start chasing the life I wanted to live.

A quote from Danielle Dahl on a black background and gold flecks "The sad truth is that dreams can only die at the hand of the dreamer."

Sometimes, When You Follow Your Dreams, You End Up in Unexpected Places

My dreams always involved writing. I wanted to write romance novels and be a journalist. I was young and didn’t really know what I wanted to write. Just that I wanted to do it.

In the middle of my quest to walk around the lake, I left a job that did not inspire me. In fact, being there felt a little like soul-death.

I am not cut out for the corporate world or a normal 9-5. I want to pursue things that enhance my well-being and help others.

Writing on the side led to me becoming the managing editor of a large website. It was the future I had only dreamed of!

I made so much progress in finding and following my passion.

Then Life Happened (as it usually does)

Everything was great until I got laid off. I could not imagine what was supposed to happen next, and I was a little freaked out. All the important people in my life encouraged me to start my own website. I thought it was crazy at first, but ultimately took their advice.

I could just sense something was different about this idea. It would be such a long and involved process. Did I have that in me this time around? One of my friends thought the idea for a site where people could share and read resilient stories sounded like a good thing.

And the next thing I knew, we were business partners pursuing this goal that made me feel uncomfortable in the way fears usually do. I can not describe how scary it was to take this on, but I knew it was the right thing deep down.

To follow your dreams, you must be resilient enough to deal with failure, doubt, and mistakes.

Embracing Resilience to Follow Your Dreams: A Path to Transformation

In the pursuit of our dreams, resilience serves as our guiding star, illuminating the path through the darkest of times.

It’s the inner strength that fuels us to overcome obstacles, defy the odds, and emerge victorious in our quest for fulfillment.

So, how do you turn your wishes into reality?

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, fostering a belief that skills and intelligence are not fixed traits but can evolve through dedication and hard work.

This perspective, highlighted in build the resilience that powers your journey toward your dreams. This mindset not only prepares you for the inevitable trails, but also instills a sense of optimism and possibility.

Set Realistic, Incremental Goals When You Follow Your Dreams

Transform your overarching dream into a series of smaller, achievable objectives. This strategy not only makes your aspirations more attainable but also helps maintain motivation and momentum.

Each small achievement will inspire confidence. This approach aligns with the psychological principle of ‘chunking,’ which enhances cognitive processing and goal attainment.

Celebrate each milestone, however minor, as a victory in its own right. These accomplishments accumulate, gradually steering you closer to your ultimate dream, making the work seem less overwhelming and more fulfilling.

Build a Supportive Network That Will Encourage You to Reach Success

Cultivate relationships with individuals who inspire and motivate you. This network could include mentors, peers, or friends who offer encouragement and constructive feedback.

People with strong social support are more resilient in the face of stress.

These connections provide not just emotional support but also different perspectives and advice, which can be invaluable.

Join communities, both online and offline, that align with your aspirations. Such environments not only provide support and encouragement, but also opportunities for collaboration and networking, which can be crucial in realizing your dreams.

A quote from Danielle Dahl on a gold background with black accents that reads, "There is always a way to wrest your dreams back from the nothing where they go to die."

Remember, Failure is How You Grow

View setbacks not as defeats but as essential components of your personal growth. Analyze your failures to understand what went wrong and how you can improve.

This reflective practice is crucial for developing resilience and adaptability.

J. K. Rowling’s path included many rejections before the success of Harry Potter.

Resilience in the face of failure can lead to extraordinary achievements. Remember, each failure is a story of what doesn’t work, narrowing your path to what will work.

It’s about turning the ‘no’s’ into a learning curve that guides your next steps. Embracing this mindset transforms the way you perceive challenges, making you more agile and responsive to your pursuit of success.

Practice Self-Care and Mindfulness

Regular self-care rituals and mindfulness practices are not just acts of self-preservation but are strategic tools for building resilience. These practices keep you grounded and centered, especially in times of stress and uncertainty.

Mindfulness, in particular, improves your ability to focus on the present moment, reducing anxiety about the future and regrets about the past. This heightened awareness enhances your emotional intelligence, allowing you to navigate complex feelings and situations with greater clarity and calmness.

Incorporating activities like meditation, yoga, or even simple breathing exercises into your daily routine can significantly boost your mental stamina and emotional resilience, empowering you to stay aligned with your goals and dreams despite the challenges.

John Barrymore quote "A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."

You Will Never Regret The Decision to Follow Your Dreams

When you spend your time working on a dream, you will make progress. Even when your dreams don’t work out as you envision, you will start becoming the person you were always meant to be. Eventually, you will have this feeling in your soul that you are doing what you should.

Do you remember the day you killed your own dreams? The sad truth is that dreams can only die at the hands of the dreamer.

The wonderful thing about dreams, though, is that they never really stay dead. There is always a way to wrest your dream back from the nothing where they go to die.

We can all achieve those goals that feel like extravagant fancy.

Do you have the courage to dance to the music inside you? Don’t let the words you tell yourself or the words of others who think you good fortune only comes to those with a stable career. Your dreams matter.

Believe in yourself and your dreams. Stop placing limits on what you are capable of. Ignore things like the odds. Paint your own portrait, act on the stage of your life, listen to the universe, and push yourself past your comfort zone.

We will all be so glad you did.

Tell us about when you followed your dreams in the comment section below!

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