We sure spend a lot of time chasing dreams. Working hard, staying focused. And then, suddenly, like a cat chasing a butterfly, one day you catch the dream. Your dream comes true. Now what?
Catching up to your dream and making it real can be scary. This is the dream–and dreams are not real. Part of you didn’t believe you could do it. Your negative self-talk told you often enough how out of reach it was. You might have chased that dream because it was good exercise, but deep inside you may not have thought you’d catch it. And now you did.
At this very point–the point of reaching your dream or goal, you might feel you don’t really want it. After all, if you hold the dream, you suddenly become responsible for it. Doubt creeps in. Is that dream good or big enough? After all, if you reached it, if you actually made it come true, was it really worthwhile?
When you reach a goal, there are no instructions and no magic wand that comes with it. The biggest burden of reaching a goal is that the ordinary you has reached it. Along the way you might have become older, wiser, thinner, but it is still you. Getting that dream doesn’t come with a limo and posse for most of us. It comes with responsibility. You reached your goal, now you have to acknowledge it, and account for it. You have to admit that you got what you wanted. Some people will say “So what?”, others will say “is that all you could do?”, others will be envious. A few people will be mad at you. None of this should stop you from admitting you reached your goal. None of this should make you belittle yourself or your goal.
Somewhere along the line, you might have said, “failure isn’t an option.” Of course it is. Failure might even be a good option, a necessary one to help us learn. Perhaps this success grew out of that failure, and you are now finding the success harder to admit than the failure. Most of us are better at accepting failure than accepting success.
The important part is knowing what you did to get here, knowing that you could have stopped to avoid having the responsibility and pretended to change the goal. It’s a brave thing to reach your goal. Your success grows along with your skills. When you reach a goal, you have not only defined success, you have lived it.
Before you feel dipped in fear, acknowledge your growth. Be proud. Acknowledging success has real meaning in it. Before you coolly brush your success aside, think about who you were at the beginning, when you chose this dream. Think about what it took to make it come true. Think about what you had to give up to choose this dream, how you had to grow, what new skills you have.
We are meant to reach our dreams. We are meant to be happy. We often don’t know how.
–Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach and author of Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning, Making Art.