9 Tips To Keep You Going When You Are Contemplating Giving Up Your Dreams
I finished The Shine Blog two weeks ago. I have gone from so excited to share it with the world while it was in development to “Oh shucks, what on earth was I thinking?!?! Who on earth would want to read anything I write?!”
Has that ever happened to you? You were hell bent on achieving a goal. You got close to making your dream a reality and then……you get the jitters…..you start doubting yourself……..you think that living small and safe would be a much better option instead. Why be open to the world’s criticism when you can rather choose to live quietly without bringing your passions to the world. Yes, maybe the world won’t benefit from your gifts, but at least your heart will be safe.
If I am the only one to experience this fear of rejection and judgement, well I am rather unusual, so that wouldn’t surprise me. But somehow I doubt it.
I think the greatest need of every human is to be loved and to belong. But I have learnt that in the cross roads of wanting to belong, there is an opposite force that pulls as well: the need to learn and to grow. In order to do that, we need to stretch ourselves. We need to reach towards dreams. We need to make ourselves vulnerable.
And when those dreams start to materialize, the enemy is going to turn up the volume. He wants you to keep living small and so he starts reminding you, over and over, how weak, how full of sin and how totally insignificant you are.
I want to warn you that you must expect this to happen. The enemy cannot take the chance that you step into the world and make a difference, even if it’s just to one person.
So what do you do when fear and doubt raise their ugly heads and threaten to jeopardize your dreams?
Here is a list of 9 things that helped me and I truly hope they can help you too.
1.) Focus on love
The opposite of love is not hate. It’s fear. Fear keeps us from going out on a limb. Fear keeps you small and safe. But God is not about fear. God is about love. God wants you to be salt and light. He wants you to shine so brightly that it encourages others to do the same.
As Marianne Williamson said: “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
Tell God about your insecurities. Tell him your fears and then ask Him to feed into your life and remind you who and whose you are. You belong to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and if God is for you, who could possibly be against you?
2.) You Can Either Be Judged Or Ignored – Your Choice
In the age of social media everyone has an opinion and they feel they need to share it. People say things on social media that they very often wouldn’t dream of saying to someone’s face. Expect it. And try grow a thicker hide. Remember that you are not here to win the approval of mankind. You are here to be true to yourself and answer the calling on your one little life.
James Clear, author of best seller Atomic Habits says it best in this powerful quote below.
3.) It Is Better To Stand Alone With Your Truth Than To Be Wrong With The Masses
Society often gets things completely wrong. Instead of being a people pleaser and going along with the crowd, find the courage to stand apart and listen to your truth.
I could give thousands of examples of how we have got it wrong in the past and continue get it wrong today, but here is a powerful example to prove my point:
Do you know that until 1967 women never considered running marathons? They were afraid they would get big legs, grow a mustache or that their uterus would fall out!
But Katherine Switzer loved running and she was determined to prove that a woman was just as capable as a man of running long distances. On the 19th of April 1967 she entered the Boston marathon with just her initials and not her prefix (Miss). All was going well until a race official spotted her on the route. He attacked her and tried to rip off her race number, shouting at her to get out of the race! Lucky Katherine’s boyfriend didn’t share the same limiting beliefs about women and pushed the official out of the way. She carried on as fast as her legs and heart could carry her, determined to finish the race even if she had to crawl over the finish line so she could show women around the world, that they too could run marathons.
Watch her incredibly inspiring 4 minute video story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO2ChjVGL7c
Dig deep. If there is a calling on your heart, listen to it and go for it. Break rules. Be criticized. Make people feel uncomfortable. But do it anyway.
4.) Be Encouraged By Someone Who Supports Your Dream
When you decide you are going to make your dream a reality, keep it close to your heart. King Solomon said in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life.”
BUT! In order to make your dream a reality, enlist the support and encouragement from someone who you know will support you.
In my case, I shared my blog dream with my best friend, sister and my Mum. They get me and they believed in my idea. When I was ready to give up and walk away, they absolutely turned up their notch of encouragement. They even became fierce about it, telling me that they wouldn’t talk to me again until I had pulled myself towards myself. Then they sent scripture after scripture and quote after quote about NOT GIVING UP!
Enlist your tiny team of warriors. You are going to need them to believe in you when you don’t.
5.) Take the Next Step Anyway
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Take one tiny step. If you only take 5 teeny steps a week, it may feel like nothing but it’s still further ahead than you were at the beginning of the week. You will be amazed at the power that action has. It draws resources and people into your path that would never have been there had you done nothing.
6.) Cast Yourself Momentarily Ahead
Okay so this may seem contradictory to the above, but when I am battling to take just one step, it’s also incredibly useful to jump forward a couple years and ask myself:
“A couple years from now, if I look back, will I regret not taking a step today?”
What if everything works out? What if your dream actually becomes a reality?
You will never know if you don’t start.
There is a remarkable iconic brand in the eco-tourism space that I have had the pleasure of learning from. For every major decision they face, they ask themselves: “Will the decision we are facing now have a positive future impact on conservation 100 years from now?” If the answer is yes, they go for it, no matter how much discomfort it may create now.
7.) Quieten The Noise
The world is throwing messages at you all day, every day:
A.) You switch on the radio and you hear ads selling you all sorts of promises. Buy this and you will be happy. Of course you are not happy now because you are old, fat, smelly, ugly, have no dress sense, you eat and drink the wrong things and you live at the wrong address! Buy from us. Buy from your place of insecurity and our products will change your life. They will bring you HAPPINESS! Oh wait, they didn’t? It’s because you bought the entry level product. For five times the price, you surely won’t be disappointed! (No wonder depression is at the highest it’s ever been in human history).
B.) Oh and then it’s the News: negativity sells so let’s bombard the human race with the worst facts about the world! Let them consume bad news in unprecedented proportions. Let’s make them terrified for their lives. Let’s keep them living at home behind walls and security bars.
C.) “Yikes,” you think, “let me escape this dismal world to the polished world of social media but the torture out there is even worse!!!” Filters, effects, thumbs up, likes, emoji’s. This place is a far cry from reality! Perfect people, on their perfect holidays, with their perfect families, building their perfect businesses and making all their perfect dreams come true!
All of these are the world’s stories. They are wholly unbalanced, but they are the stories the world wishes to share.
How about listening to your own voice? How about allowing your own dream to take root? How about being still for long enough, so your creator can talk with you? He craves time with you so he can remind you just how precious you are, how short life is and what you need to do to take the next steps.
8.) Remember That You Have Done Hard Things Before
The recency effect is the tendency to remember the most recently presented information best. If you are starting to think that you can’t do hard things because of your current challenges, you are wrong, wrong and wrong again.
Do you remember when you said goodbye to a loved one for the last time before they sailed up to heaven’s shores? Do you recall patting your dog for the last time? Can you still feel the pain of leaving cherished family and friends when you emigrated? Do you recall the shock and hurt of being retrenched? Or the humiliation when you were fired? Dumped. Failed an exam. Got divorced. Had that difficult conversation or took that life changing phone call. Those things suck epically.
But guess what? You did it and you lived to tell the tale. You are stronger for it.
9.) Know Where Your Responsibilities Start and End
The world may love your work. Or it may be totally ignored. That is out of your hands and that is fine. Be clear on where your responsibilities start and end.
Please Do Not Give Up: Keep your Eye On The Prize!
My friend. I know what it’s like to want to give up. Two weeks ago I nearly did.
At the intersection where one road is easy and the other is the path less travelled, take the latter. The hard road is often the more fulfilling road. If it was easy, more people would do it. But the world will be done an injustice, if your unique dreams are never brought to fruition.
Do not give up. I repeat: DO NOT GIVE UP.
I see you. I know how hard it is but keep your eye on the prize and finish the race.
Other Quotes That Inspired Me: