What do you focus on more, your dreams or your fears? If you overly focus on your fears, you can make them come to life; at the very least, in your mind. There is a place for both; dreams give us aspirations for the future and goals to work towards. Fears can give us a much needed dose of reality and keep us safe. In their extreme however, both can be negative. Whether spending your life daydreaming about winning the lottery or staying in a job you hate out of fear, how helpful are your dreams and fears?
It's been said that we either run away from the things we don't want, or toward the things we do. Imagine the first of those for a moment; running away from something, with no direction and no real plan. Decisions made from a place of fear can leave us worse off. They can also result in unhelpful patterns in our lives. Dream-based actions can have an expansive effect, creating a world of possibilities. In either case, it's the actions we take that determine our future.
A few years ago I had a dream of travelling to Dubai to do a skydive. It meant travelling solo. I had no problem jumping out of a plane but travelling alone scared me. What if I was robbed? Kidnapped? Killed? What if I found a spider in the bathtub - who would rescue me? These were all very real fears to me! Ultimately my dream outweighed my fears and I had a fantastic experience. Conquering this fear resulted in my solo adventures continuing and I visited all seven continents in a 12 month period. Along the way, I gained a new lust for life, like-minded friends, and so much confidence.
Some people have a vivid imagination but for others, dreaming can be incredibly difficult. From a young age, we're given lots of messages about what we should do with our lives, what men and women do, what people "like us" do, and so on. This can make it a challenge to think big, and we can easily follow a path that is someone else's and not one we truly want.
If you find yourself wanting more from life and wanting to take action based on your dreams, here are some tips:
Close your eyes and imagine you have woken up with all the money you need, tons of confidence and plenty of time to do anything you want. What would you do? Who would you do it with? Where would you go? What can you see and hear around you? How do you feel?
Create a picture in your mind of how a life without limitations looks and feels. Transfer this to paper in a format that works for you; you could draw, write, paint or create a vision board of your ideal life.
Purge your fears
Make a list of fears that are preventing you from moving toward your dreams. How real are they? Only you can decide how much risk you are prepared to take but often we find our fears are more imagined than real. Either way, once you have done this, burn or shred your list (safely of course). This is a symbolic gesture to show that you are not defined by your fears and are ready to let them go.
Identify feelings and sensations
How do you feel when you imagine your dream life? Understanding the feelings and sensations you desire, means you can start to create them. Seeking freedom? What can you do in the next seven days to give you a sense of this, even if only for an hour? Like to explore new places but money is tight? Take a bus to somewhere you've never been. It could be a park you've never visited, or part of your favourite park that you haven't explored. Think creatively, start small and then work your way up. The more you start to create the feelings and sensations you desire, in your day-to-day life, the more motivated you will be to work towards making your dreams a reality.
Ultimately, moving closer to your dreams means taking action. Action gets results; inaction tends to produce more of the same. If you're not excited enough or motivated enough to take action towards your dreams, they're probably not the right ones.
Originally published September 25 2018, Thrive Global