We are raised on dreams coming true. On happily ever after. Cinderella’s glass slipper fit her, not her step-sisters. Jack escapes from the giant with the goose that laid the golden egg. All problems neatly tied up and solved.
We know it takes a pure heart and determination to make those dreams come true, but the stories of childhood end there. The guy gets the girl. They live happily ever after. It’s a little vague how that happens, exactly.
Making your dream come true can be scary. This is your dream, which is somehow supposed to stay in the future, and now you are holding it. Part of you doesn’t believe you could (or should) have 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’ll want to jump back, to the point right before you had it. After all, if you hold the dream, you suddenly become responsible for it. You will have to be content with it. You will have to live happily ever after. If you could actually achieve it, was the dream good or big enough?
The biggest burden of reaching a goal is that the same you that struggled for it suddenly has 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 of admitting that we worked hard and got what we wanted. Time to acknowledge it. Even when your friends whisper behind your back, “So what? What’s the big deal?” Some friends will snort, 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.
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. Unlike running a marathon, once you cross the finish line with a goal, you realize you can’t click a stop watch and compare your goal reaching with others and see who won. You did. You got it. You have succeeded.
Before you feel dipped in fear, acknowledge your growth. Be proud of yourself. And take some time to celebrate. Celebrations remind us that we have strength and courage and determination. Celebrations honor those traits without saying that we don’t need anything else. Once you reach a goal, no one can take the accomplishment away from you. Honor yourself. Be proud. You’ve earned it!
—Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach who has a tendency to pretend that none of her goals were big accomplishments. She chooses the next one too soon. She’s working on it.