Trust me, I know what it feels like to have a dream and to not be sure if that dream is worth holding on to. Should you be relentless in the pursuit of it no matter what or is there a point where you should just let it go? Life can often feel like it's standing in the way, thwarting you at every pass. You take some steps forward and then boom, another road block. You get a burst of energy to chase your dreams again and it feels like something shows up to knock you right back down. Or worse, you feel like no real progress is being made at all.
My relentless salsa dreams
I have dreams like that. A lot of them are dreams about my dance career and the things that I wanted to happen.
When I first started dancing, I danced purely because I loved it. I *had* to go where the music was. I was your classic salsaholic. The opportunity to express a part of myself that had been hidden and packed away most of my life was intoxicating. Finally feeling beautiful, sexy and powerful all at once - that's what salsa did for me. You have to remember that I was a chemical engineer who always felt awkward doing almost anything phyiscal. Except for dancing - I was your closet mirror dancer every day. So when salsa welcomed that part of me out into the light - wow, the transformation couldn't help but begin.
So that was always my driving force.
I wanted to give this part of me full reign to express everything that I was feeling in the music. And when I was invited to join a dance company, I joined because it was the opportunity to do learn more so that I could express more. And so all of my dance dreams were built around learning and performing new choreographies because within choreographies, the whole idea was to express something. I wanted to work hard and perfect my skills. I was willing to be in the studio everyday for hours, just for the opportunity to dance. I loved it that much. And I loved working on choreography and performing that much.
But I slowly realized that in my current situation, I was not going to be able to fulfill those dreams. My team director chose another dancer as his main partner and all of the other partnerships I tried to create never materialized to what I envisioned. And so because I was determined, I made the difficult decision to leave the team and my hometown - all to chase my dream.
Making difficult choices to stay relentless
So how does one do that? How do you make a choice to chase your dreams at all costs? How do you know if it's even worth the sacrifice? How do you keep unwavering faith when it looks like you are nowhere close?
Below are a few key ways that I've done it.
Checking In with Self
One of the most important things for me has been checking in with myself. Dreams can change and dreams that were once really important can lose their luster. From experience, you don't want to be chasing a dream that doesn't even matter to you anymore. Some dreams are just meant to be bridges to get you to other phases and circumstances in your life. The dream itself was never meant to be fulfilled; it was solely about the path that it led you down. Check in with yourself first and often and see if the desire for that dream is still constant. If yes, great, continue on. If not, it's time to do some soul searching to figure out what you *really* want.
Even though this is second, it's probably the most important shift I've made. Learning to forgive myself for my perceived shortcomings (whether I've pointed them out or someone else has) has been life-altering. Think about all the tension you've built up thinking that you *should* have gotten somewhere other than where you are right now. The stress and anxiety that comes with that is just one more road block in your way - not helpful at all. Instead, learn how to forgive yourself and celebrate what progress you *have* made. Celebrate your tenacity and appreciate your ability to persevere. If that dream happens to no longer be that important to you, forgive yourself for that also and forgive yourself for not getting it done while it was important. It's really ok :-).
Reinventing My Dream
This one has probably been the most paradoxically difficult. Sometimes we want to hold fast to the exact way that we envisioned something happening. If it changes in any way, we see that as a failure. What's more helpful though is seeing that change as evolution and even possibly refinement. I've had to really work with this concept to grow into believing it. As an example, I'll use one of my dance dreams of moving to Montreal to work with a team I admired. Things just didn't work out for that to happen. At the time, it felt devastating. But in hindsight, I see how much of a blessing that was. It forced me to shift my dream a bit and it resulted in me remaining independent in my dance career choices. I ended up developing a whole other set of leadership skills that I'm not sure would have came about otherwise. Most importantly, it forced me to get to the core of the dream while allowing the actual details to shift. And that's the process of reinvention. I willingly allowed myself to reimagine how I might achieve my core dance dreams and that's when new opportunities opened up for me. It was all about my perspective and what I was and wasn't placing value on.
These are just a few of the keys that have helped me to stay true and relentless in the pursuit of my most coveted dreams. This only touches the surface though, since knowing what to do and knowing *how* to do it are two completely different subjects. That's a topic for another blog post but, if you feel like you want to jumpstart that process now, feel free to click here to schedule a clarity session chat with me. I'll gladly share with you the techniques and strategies I've developed over the years to have unshakable faith and vision and we can explore how I can help you develop that within yourself.
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