THE BLOG
10/13/2014 11:56 am ET Updated Dec 13, 2014

Chasing a Dream

Many individuals have a dream, but the number who actively pursues it isn't as large. The difference in these numbers can be due to a lack of belief, not having confidence, being afraid to take a risk, bad timing, not knowing the best way to begin, and more. Notwithstanding, it's great to have a dream; however, a dream without action to achieve it can lead to missed opportunities for the dreamer and others.

Lessons learned during my writing journey:

#1 Don't Be Afraid to Dream

An ability to achieve a dream oftentimes won't happen without a readiness to TEE OFF ideas in terms of allocating the (T)ime, (E)nergy, and (E)ffort (O)n (F)ulfilling (F)antasies.

  • My dream to become a writer started long before I was ready and committed to write a book. It wouldn't be until years later that I had time allocated and also had my mind dedicated to write my first book.

#2 Share Your Dream

An important step toward a dream is sharing it with others. This is important because: (1) a dream that's communicated to others can help to hold someone accountable, (2) anyone who learns about a dream can help to achieve it, and (3) by declaring that an idea is important the brain captures it and will periodically check on its status.

  • Many years before I started to write my first book, I told a select group that this was my dream.

#3 Take a Chance

Progress toward a dream can be more complicated than it needs to be due to unnecessary doubts, fears, and worries about others' considerations.

  • In August 2013, I published my first blog entry on my website. This sharing was a significant event because my work was available for public consumption and critique. My first entry took about an hour for me to gather enough confidence to post it. These misguided thoughts and fears were inappropriately more important than my desire to pursue my writing dream.

#4 Others Can Identify Unrecognized Talents

Following a suggestion can lead to expediting a journey toward a dream that might otherwise be delayed or not achieved at all.

  • My cousin (Virginia Smith) told me to attempt to get booked as a radio show guest, which I hadn't previously considered but quickly pursued once the idea was communicated.

#5 Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

By managing fears, dreams can be actively pursued.

  • This adjustment gave me the courage to contact various SiriusXM program directors to attempt to be scheduled to discuss my books. During my initial calls, I spoke to a program director (Chris Colbert) who directed me to submit my One Sheet (one-page profile about an individual or their work). Fortunately for me, Mr. Colbert was willing to provide me with guidance to develop my One Sheet --- which I will forever be grateful.

#6 Take Chances

An ability to move past fears, doubts, and worries is driven by a desire to be successful, along with a willingness to take chances.

  • After creating my One Sheet, I contacted a few program directors without considering the possibility of rejection. My strength to push forward was driven by my dream to be a successful writer, which I wouldn't let go of without taking chances to become more well-known.

#7 Take Action to Obtain an Opportunity

Many times progress doesn't happen without someone offering an individual an opportunity. Therefore, don't halt a pursuit of a dream because many noes were received. The word "no" can often lead to dead-ends, but it can also be redefined to mean "new orientation" that can lead committed individuals to identify other options to begin.

  • My first opportunity for a media appearance was given to me by Maggie Linton of the Maggie Linton Show on SiriusXM. Ms. Linton gave me an opportunity to showcase my talents while other shows quickly dismissed my interview requests or didn't return my phone calls. It's important to remember that a "no" by an individual doesn't mean that a dream shouldn't be pursued.

#8 Continue to Make Forward-Progress

The pursuit of a dream isn't always easy and there will be setbacks along the way, but the potential rewards to achieve a dream make the journey a lot more bearable. It's important to remember that a dream might not be achieved, but there's always value in the journey -- even if the outcome isn't as expected. By continuing to make forward progress and communicating dreams to others, the probability to achieve a dream is increased.

#9 It's Okay to be Vulnerable

Sharing personal challenges can be considered a weakness, but it can also be a strength. By letting others know about someone's struggles, it can lead to opportunities to obtain assistance, connect in more personal ways, and can also help others who face similar challenges. Furthermore, additional opportunities can be created by a willingness to be open about efforts to achieve a goal or to share a personal story.

  • By publicly sharing information about my past challenges with depression and a near suicide attempt, several things happened: (1) others contacted me about my story to help themselves or others and (2) an opportunity came about to post on a major media contributor's blogging platform: The Huffington Post.

#10 Don't Be Afraid to Capture Opportunities

Working hard to achieve a dream is great, but once opportunities arise... there must be a willingness, preparedness, and focus to maximize efforts to capture it. Oftentimes, dreams are achieved by a willingness to take a chance, a desire to take calculated risks, and sometimes by having strength to be vulnerable enough to let go of a little control.

  • My writing journey started a little over two years ago by having a willingness to publicly risk myself. Over the last year, I've learned that achieving a dream starts with an idea, builds with a desire, increases with taking chances, and is achieved through commitment.

No matter the length of your journey, always be your best!

This post originally appeared on S. L. Young's blog on his website at: www.slyoung.com

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Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.