In my coaching, I encounter people who fear success or a fear of failure, but there seems to be another mental roadblock that is less clearly defined. It comes across as fear of disappointment, but it seems more like a combination of factors that cause people to avoid pursuing their dreams or making their dreams concrete enough to create a vision, goals, and timeline. Keeping your dreams vague allows you to keep them in the distant future and absolves you from making any real plans to pursue them. Instead, many busy themselves with more practical goals and routines.
If you have a dream that you keep in the back of your mind or sometimes mention to people but have no real plans to begin working toward that dream, then consider this. There are plenty of people in the world with no idea of what they want from life. They have no sense of purpose and no dreams waiting for actions to be taken. A dream is an opportunity, and by leaving it ignored in your imagination, you are neglecting your potential. So why is this? Do you believe it is unachievable? Do you believe you are not good enough? Do you think it is frivolous or silly? If you have not bothered to try despite the inspiration to conceive of your dream, then it is likely your beliefs and judgements are getting in the way.
This is not a call to all dreamers, asking them to drop everything and follow their dreams with complete abandon. There are plenty of starving artists in the world who have thrown all caution to the wind. I encourage people to make their dreams more concrete. Determine if this is a dream or just some fantasy about how your life could be different. (Apparently, the most common dream or aspiration among young people today is internet fame, i.e., becoming a YouTube star.) If you are driven by more than fame and fortune, ask yourself, is your dream something you want to make real? If so, what is the first step to begin pursuing your dream? Can you set some measurable goals and timelines? If you are not willing to take the first step now or in the near future, then it may be time to stop dreaming and focus on what you really want from your life.
I have known many people who were aspiring writers, actors and musicians. I was also an aspiring musician many years ago and did not achieve the success I envisioned, but I will never regret having tried. Neither I nor any of the people I have known who pursued a dream and did not achieve it are failures now. They are not destitute. They have changed course and are richer for their experience. Maybe they made poor choices or didn’t work hard enough, but they made steps toward their dream and then decided it was not as important as other priorities.
Admittedly, I have some dreams that I am not yet pursuing, but I currently have other priorities. In my philosophy, I have dreams and goals. When I am ready to start working on a dream, I will move it into the goal category so I can map out the steps to achieving my goal. The first step in pursuing any goal can be as simple as gathering more information and making a plan. This has little or no risk. If you have a dream, don’t fear it. Get clear on what it would mean to realise your dream, turn it into a goal and work to clear away your mental roadblocks. When you do the mental work to gain clarity, the path forward will become obvious.