In 2014, I released an indie book, "Purple People Leader." While the message (leading without bias) is hugely important to me, I actually published it because it was a personal goal. Publishing a book is a lot of work, which is why statistics show that most people who say they want to publish a book, indie or otherwise, never do. Nevertheless, at that time, I committed to pursuing whatever was necessary toward accomplishing my goals of becoming a writer and speaker, and making dreams like self-sufficiency and becoming debt-free a reality in the coming year.
While 2015 was an interesting year, and I got a pretty good start, I haven't quite met those goals. However, with every action step I take toward my personal, spiritual, health, and financial goals, no matter how small the step, I'm still light years further along than I was before. Below I've listed four reasons why dream chasers better run in work boots:
You're no different from anyone else. Personally, I have plenty to work on and to work toward, I'm no better than anyone else and I've finally realized the only difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people take action. I want you to know that if you'll commit to taking at least one step every day toward whatever it is you're dreaming about, then your dream will become a reality eventually. I know you have valuable messages worth sharing, as well as purpose, and calling.
While I have yet to "arrive" in my pursuits, I'm still chasing my dreams and I'm on their heels. I refuse to live a day without taking at least one step forward. Sometimes I don't get in bed until 2 or 3 or even 4 a.m. and I typically set my alarm for 6:15 a.m. I'm committed to my job and my "side hustles." I'm not saying you should do that. I know it's not good for me. But chasing a dream is hard work.
Chasing a dream is hard work!
My side hustles include contributing to Edutopia, The Good Men Project, blogging on the Huffington Post, guest posting for Learning Ally, and submitting pitches to other sites (and being rejected by a whole lot more than I'm accepted by), advocating to make physical, digital, and faith-based environments accessible for the disabled community, speaking, working on book two, and trying to establish a platform and presence within my niche "leadership, learning, and life" spaces.
There is always more to learn.
Though some might pretend, none of us know everything. I've stayed busy. I've joined mastermind groups. I regularly enroll in webinars and online courses related to all the things I'm working on and things I need to learn. I'm constantly connecting with other people I trust in the field at conferences and online so I can bounce things off of them and learn from them. Iron sharpens iron you know. I also regularly try to help others launch their own books, products, or dreams. Whatever your dream, there's always more to learn.
It's not about you. It's about the value your message or work can bring to others.
You may find me anywhere there's coffee and free Wi-Fi. I go there to write, and to pursue networking and to connect with people because I love people. God's given me a heart for loving people, serving people, and finding ways to use the platform I'm building to help people.
I remind myself daily of the first line in The Purpose Driven Life. "It's not about you" (me). It's a drive, passion, purpose or calling that I can't put my finger on -- but ultimately it's a need and desire to serve. Every opportunity I'm given to speak, interview, or contribute in some way is viewed as an opportunity to give back.
Sharing that message and getting it out there can be a challenge. It can be emotionally draining, and your efforts may even misunderstood. In a recent interview, I was asked a question that led to a discussion on maintaining humility while you pursue your purpose or your dream. The fact is, one of the struggles for anyone pursuing a dream, especially a person of faith, is running the risk of seeming self-serving or narcissistic. Anyone pursuing a dream or a goal especially in the crowded and noisy "leadership space" as I call it, knows that platform-building requires a certain amount of careful promotion.
If you believe your message has potential to bring value to people's lives, then it's crucial to stand up and take forward steps to get your message out there. So yes, that requires what some may see as self-promotion but it's not about self. It's about others. And it's about your message, and hoping to make a tangible difference.
Building a platform requires building what some call "social proof"... in other words, proof for the world (other than your family or friends of course), that you're accomplishing something, and that you might have some knowledge or unique insight into whatever your niche might be. So staying engaged in person or on social media is a necessity. I've grown to view my readers, friends, and family as partners in my life pursuits, and they hold me accountable. Be sure to surround yourself by a team of witnesses who can hold you accountable to what they see you doing or not doing.
What dream are you chasing? I'm wishing big, BIG, amazing things for you this year! Go after your dream. Take at least ONE step every day no matter how small. Just one (or 10) toward your goals, and never stop walking or running toward your purpose. If you're still reading, what are you waiting for? Get moving! Take steps toward chasing your dreams and I promise someday you'll catch 'em! Just don't forget to lace up those work boots nice and tight.
-- All my best, all the time, Chester
Original post appeared on ChesterGoad.com.