I love dreams. I love dreamers. I love seeing people accomplish things they never thought possible before. In fact, I do everything I can to HELP people accomplish their dreams and believe that it is possible if you would only put some action in place. I’m not going to turn away from any of that. Yet, here I am writing a post about STOPPING!! Ok, let me clarify up front. I don’t really think you should stop! But, as with everything else in life, there are things that you should be aware of as you go after your dreams. Those things are called consequences. Action-Reaction. 3rd law of motion. We simply need to be prepared to deal with those.
I was reading a post by Mark Schaefer, a guy who inspires me (Thanks Mark), where he ranted a bit about some of the pie-in-the-sky “motivational” statements that we hear about dreaming. While he adores dreams as well, he notes that there are times that we don’t hear about the hard work that dreams require. We don’t always hear about the dark side of the dreams, about how we sometimes categorize those who are not following a stated dream as slackers. He writes about a friend who has a dream but has decided that he needs to provide food for his kids. I do know people who have decided to chase certain dreams in spite of family. When they got to their goal, they didn’t have family anymore to support them. I look at the story of Lance Armstrong who admittedly chased a dream incessantly. Granted, he has admitted to his mistakes and his treatment of some of his “friends” and associates. But, he can never take back those moments or those words.
So, when do you stop following a dream? I can’t give you the exact answer. But, you have to decide what is worth it for you. For me, I’ll stop following a dream if:
1. It means that I have to put my family in the rearview mirror.
I’ve got a wife and three children. I really believe that God gave me the responsibility to make sure that they are provided for, feel safe, and are properly equipped to be productive dreamers themselves.
2. I am not passionate about it anymore.
Call me a quitter if you wish. But, if I am not sold out to something anymore, why do I do it? Just to say that I did it? That doesn’t work for me personally. Now, let me clarify. There are times when you are in the chase that you simply become burned out and lose your fire. You may need to step away for a moment or two to re-assess and determine if the fire is a permanent outage or simply based on you current stress level. I’m not advocating dropping cold turkey. I’m noting that if I no longer have the love and I go through an evaluative process that confirms this, I will then move on. Here’s the thing that some people are scared of…..moving on is ok. It really is.
3. My reason for accomplishing the dream changes.
If my reason for doing it is no longer about serving people and making people better, then I will stop. If it begins to become about stats, money and fame. Then I will stop. If my wife begins to tell me that we need to hire an architect to widen all the doorways in our house simply because of my newly acquired head size, then I should stop. If people that I respect love and care for begin to tell me that I am changing and not in a way that they like, then I will step back.
I’ll add that some times, it’s just not the right time to follow your dream. There are things that may need to line up differently. There are people and circumstances that may need to be in place.
What I am advocating here is pressing forward. Don’t give up! Keep dreaming! Keep fighting for your dream. Make sure that you are ready for all that comes with getting there. Be sure that it is worth it. Otherwise, the accomplishment will be an empty one! Maybe that’s a reason to let your loved ones in and keep them a part of your dream!
DREAM BIG!! Keep dreaming! Ready, set, go!