There comes a moment, in a lot of our lives, that we stop kidding ourselves. We stop wondering who we are. We stop neglecting the voice in the back of your head that’s your inner truth.
For me, it was writing. I’ve always been a poet, and like most poets, I’ve tried to be everything else under the sun. But this year I embraced it. I leaned into myself. I wrote a book. I came up with a marketing plan. I began sharing my poems online. I made a website. Started an email list. Told other people I was a poet.
Life’s never been the same since.
Here are the 8 things that happen when you start chasing your dreams.
1. You don’t have room for people who doubt you.
Sure, you recognize real quick that some people are the wind at your back to get you to your dream destination, and others are anchors who want to stop you in your tracks. But you realize they aren’t the worst people. The worst people are leaks in the boat. You confide in them your dreams, desires, ambition, and the plan, and they seem like they don’t care. They half listen or change the subject. They say, “That’s cool,” a lot. They look other places while you’re talking to them. They fill your boat, little by little, allowing doubt to seep in. If it was a good idea, they’d care, right?
Wrong. Drop those people faster than you drop the negative Nancy’s. At least negative Nancy’s have some truth to them and serve some sort of purpose. You’ve got no room on your ship for someone who can’t even take the time to listen.
2. People will start calling you “confident.”
This will confuse you. You’re going to feel like the same person you were (or like the same person who fails more, i.e. not confident), and that’s essentially because you are. But it’s not confidence they’re seeing, it’s relentlessness. Confidence is acquired with success, relentlessness is acquired when you have a massive ego death and stop caring what anyone else thinks. You’ll do whatever you need to for your dream, even if it’s ridiculous, and that makes you look confident. Lean into the relentlessness. Confidence will come later.
3. You backtrack your goals.
You stop looking at your goal as one big, shining star in the sky. It becomes the star on top of a Christmas tree, and you have to climb a ladder to get to it. One step is one tiny little goal that will slowly pull you up to where you need to be. The big dream is where you want to end up, but those tiny mile markers are really where you start to make progress.
4. You’re going to upset a lot of people you love dearly because you have a micro amount of time for them compared to what you used to.
You’re going to book your calendar out for months in advance because your dream takes up 90% of your time. You see it in movies, but it’s hard to know until you’re in it how bad it really sucks. It’s the worst. You’d give anything for your week to be twice as long so you could give more attention to the people you love.
5. You will work your ass off.
Literally. Months will feel like days. You’ll miss a lot of things (birthdays, trips, weddings, sunsets). Part of you will regret you went a whole summer without hiking or relaxing by the pool even once. It’s okay to feel that regret. It’s the only way you find balance.
6. The downside to relentlessness and a deep burning passion for what you’re doing? Here’s the big one no one likes to cough up. You. Will. Feel. Dead. Inside. Often.
And that’s okay. It’s unfair that no one tells you that when you chase your dreams you have tiny moments of triumph along the way, and then you feel like you’re trying to find the bottom of a black hole by accomplishing this dream. Especially if you don’t short change your dream and go for the big one. It’s okay to feel the overwhelming joy and the dead inside. Just don’t let yourself sit in the dead inside for too long. That’s where dreams go to die, and on the tombstone, we write, “self-doubt”.
7. Forget about sleep.
Dreams don’t sleep. Not even for a moment. But we can only live our dreams if we’re awake, right? You’ll go to lay down and immediately think of all the things you could be doing to accomplish your dreams. Sleep is a part of that, but it will never feel like the most important part. Something is always higher on the list.
8. This is by far the most beautiful thing I’ve realized about chasing your dreams. People root for you. They want you to succeed.
They reach out to you and they say don’t give up. They say you can do it. They say because of you, they feel like they can chase their dreams, too. They champion you when you ask them to. They sign up and show up and buy things and tell their mom’s about what you’re doing so she’ll tell her friends. Supporting each other is one of the most beautiful things the human race does.
You never realize that until you seriously chase your dreams.