How Dreams Actually Come True
I had no idea I was sitting next to a dream maker. After all, he looked just like any other father watching their kid at a sports practice.
We'd gotten friendly while sitting through our kid's martial arts classes and, once, while his wife and I clung to each other while our kids competed in their first jiu jitsu tournament. We'd never gotten around to finding out how we each made our living, until one day we did.
He is in publishing. I am a writer.
The next thing I knew, he was reading my blog and wanted a book proposal. What seemed like a few minutes after that, a space on a shelf at Barnes and Noble had been reserved for my book, PAUSE: Making Time To Walk With God, beginning in September, 2017.
How many times did I wander through book stores, imagining my name on a cover as I ran my hands across the various titles, and yes -- I even breathed in the smell of the books. I love book stores. I could live in a book store and never get bored. And now, I would, sort of. In the form of a book of my very own making.
But here's the thing -- the book itself? It's not the book I ever thought I'd write. It's a devotional (SO not my thing). It is not the brilliant tome of pithy quotes and gut-wrenching emotion I always imagined I would someday write. And in fact, the whole thing is so different from how I imagined it to be that sometimes, I have to remind myself that oh, yeah, actually, this really is a dream come true.
The thing is, God had plans -- and I do trust that the Holy Spirit will do God's work and insure that PAUSE touches each and every soul it's meant to touch. Just because it's different from my original idea doesn't mean that it isn't within God's purpose, or that it won't be successful. If anything, I look at the whole thing and I feel a deep sense of awe at God's handiwork. If I were the heroine in a story God is writing, I'd be thrilled at the way the plot has been weaved together so far, and I'd be anxious to turn the page and see what happens next. And that's exactly how I feel right now.
Because God sends dream makers in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
And here's the thing about dreams -- when they finally show up, they look different than you ever expected. Here's three things I've noticed about how this dream came true. Maybe you can use them to work with intentionality toward your dreams.
Do It For Free.
My guess is if something is a dream of yours, it's because you love it like crazy. If you love it like crazy, you would do it for free. So I say, go ahead and do it for free.
I have been writing and blogging for YEARS and never got paid a single cent. My first official check for my writing was a whopping $50. I laugh when people tell me now they want to write to make "extra" money. You're probably better off getting a job in pizza delivery. You'll make the extra money, and you'll get more exercise to boot.
The point is, I did write. I wrote for free for a very long time. And when I wrote for free, people read it and noticed it and responded to it. And that's how I built a following that was almost big. And that made a publisher want to work with me. But it started with the doing the thing for free.
Pay Attention To Responsive Energy.
This is something I always work with my coaching clients on -- noticing what I call "responsive energy". So what is it?
Think of the one thing you do that other people are in awe of, or the one thing you always receive compliments on. Maybe you're great at putting outfits together or cooking amazing meals. Perhaps you're an amazing artist or a whiz with spreadsheets. Whatever it is, it's the one thing about which multiple people have said, "How'd you do that?" or "I could never do that!"
That's responsive energy.
For me, it was writing. I'm good at a number of things (and really, really bad at a lot of things) but when I wrote, that's when people I didn't even know would reach out to me and say, "Wow." And when I look back on my life, it's always been that way. As I write this, I'm remembering my sophmore year in high school in which I had to take -- God help us all -- geometry. I'm not sure I can accurately express here just how much I suck at geometry. I knew it, my teacher knew it, and so he avoided me appropriately. But I was also on staff at the school newspaper, and had written an article of some sort that had just been published. When I walked into the dreaded class, the teacher walked right over to me, the paper in his hand, and said, "Did you write this?" I nodded yes, and he said, "It's really good." He went back to ignoring me after that, and I continued to suck at geometry, but now we both knew that I was good at something.
Make Opportunity, Seize Opportunity
My friend once said to me, "What I notice about you is that you always place yourself in situations in which you create opportunity for yourself." While I hadn't really thought about it that way, she's right.
Very often, and especially when I'm feeling stagnant, I make intentional decisions to scare myself silly. Usually, this involves hanging out with people who scare the bejeebies out of me. That means I do two things:
1. I go to the events or places these people hang out. For an introvert like me, this takes conscious effort and intention, and no, I don't like it or look forward to it. What I do like, however, are the results and the experience it gives me. Even if a particular event seems fruitless, the experience is not, and every experience I have grows my confidence. The results? Because of this habit, I count amazing, powerful 7-figure business owners as my close personal friends. I traveled to Jordan for ten days with some of the most influential Christian writers of the day (and now count these amazing people as my friends) and I journeyed to Canada for an amazing event in which I ended up doing an ice breaker exercise with one of my all-time favorite writers EVER as my partner. (EEEEK!!!)
2. Once there, I look for the connections that can be mutually beneficial. That means I'm always on the look-out to create relationships in which I can help the other person -- not just the other way around. This approach has led me to seal not just my book deal, but also a $36,000 business deal, and a network of relationships that I know I can count on in a pinch.
Incorporate these kinds of habits into your daily life -- doing what you love, even if you have to do it for free; pay attention to what people respond to, and make and seize your own opportunities in life -- and you just might be surprised to discover that someday soon, your dream is coming true, too.
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