07/10/2013 11:09 am ET Updated Sep 09, 2013

From Rejection to Redemption: 7 Steps to Making Dreams Come True

Whatever your passion is, do it! Do it not because of a desired outcome, but because your soul depends on it." -- Your Spacious Self

In 2007 I published my first book. It was a thing of beauty.

What most people don't know is that bringing "my baby" into the world took about 10 years. And then some.

It was a journey that looked something like this:

  • I wrote. A lot. I completed three versions of my book before I knew that most people don't write books (they write proposals).
  • I studied. I took courses on how to write a stellar query letter. I researched and compiled extensive lists of agents "actively looking." I read about writers who made it big by starting small.
  • I pitched. I sent my stellar query letter to two dozen literary agents.
  • I cheered. I received promising requests for my manuscript from a handful few who found my concept "highly engaging."
  • I crumpled. I was (graciously) rejected by every one.
  • I revived (somehow). I found the strength to pick myself up, gather what I'd learned, and press on.
  • I recommitted. I took the entire book apart, opened up a new Word document on my laptop, and started all over again.
  • I prevailed. I published the book myself nine months later.

The real story that this tedious chronology is not telling could be more simply summarized with these simple truths:

  • Journeys -- no matter what they are -- do not always add up, make sense, or go in a straight line.
  • Every obstacle informs and every step matters.
  • When you feel lost, you aren't. You just can't see what's up ahead.

It would take me years to see this bigger picture, of course, and hindsight to appreciate the potential impact of bailing on my dream.

If I had quit, there would be no book to build the platform that had gotten me rejected in the first place. There would be no community of readers who would inspire me with their stories. If I had stopped there would be no book sales, teaching opportunities, and companion resources that would lead to a surprise book contract from a (highly-engaged) publisher. Without the experience of a "no," I would never experience the sweetness of a "yes" -- a yes that could help me reach and support a whole lot more people.

So you see, it doesn't pay to give up on your dreams.

If I could offer my best tips for how to realize your dream (or anything for that matter) -- whether it is writing your memoir, shedding those 20 pounds, or living in a clutter-free home -- it would be these:

  1. Be clear on what it is you really want: Write it down and define what it looks like. Feel your desire down to your bones. Once fired up, the intention machine will deliver the goods. Be sure you want them.
  2. Act as if your dream (job, home, relationship, body) has already come to pass. Enliven it with all of your senses. If it's publishing a book for example, see yourself at a book signing, feel the soreness in your hands from signing hundreds of books, hear your fans gushing over your gleaming book cover and beautiful headshot.
  3. Do one thing a day (preferably the same time every day) that moves you closer to your dream: write a chapter, adopt the phrase "I choose ease" as your mantra, declutter an outfit that no longer fits the new you.
  4. Keep your tasks simple so as not to elicit a stressful (fight or flight) response. If you notice yourself feeling overwhelmed or losing steam or hope, dial it back. Think "doable" just for today and allow the next step to reveal itself.
  5. Stay true to yourself and try not to let other people's opinions and your own critical mind sway you. The part of the mind that doesn't like change has a way of derailing our best efforts by drawing to us people and situations that don't serve or support us. Try not to give into the noise.
  6. Be aware of transitions. Sometimes as we get really close to realizing our dreams, we might bump up against some resisting behaviors and patterns. As George Leonard once wrote: "Our resistance to change is likely to reach its peak when significant change is imminent." If you feel more cranky than usual, or ready to throw in the towel, this could be a sign that you are about ready to birth something big. Hang in there.
  7. Let go of attachment to the outcome. Attachment stops the flow of energy. Letting go frees it to create openings and opportunities (that could lead you places beyond your wildest imaginings). Be open, have fun, and allow the magic of your deepest intentions to reveal itself!

Stephanie Bennett Vogt is the founder of SpaceClear. Her first book Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are was picked up and re-released in October 2012 by Hierophant Publishing.

For more by Stephanie Bennett Vogt, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.