As we celebrate the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday today, I am reminded of his historic “I Have A Dream” speech. In front of a captivated crowd, Dr. King shared his dream of freedom and equality in an electrifying speech that advanced the civil rights movement and cemented his place in American history.
Now imagine yourself in front of the Lincoln Memorial ready to address a crowd of thousands, or maybe you are at home sitting at your computer. What would you say? What would you write? Do you have a dream?
I’m betting that the answer is yes. I know I do. Having a dream is easy. Realizing your dream is the hard part. There’s a lot of hard work and sweat equity that goes into making a dream come true. So much so that some people never even get started. Or maybe you’ve started, but it seems like nothing is happening. But it is possible to turn you dream into a reality. Not sure where to start? Ask yourself these four questions:
1. Do you want it bad enough?
In pursuit of his dream, Dr. King had to leave his family quite often. He was arrested, beaten, and threatened—and still he did not give up. Through it all, he stayed focused and persevered. His commitment to his dream did not waver. When you are chasing your dream, you will have to make sacrifices. You will get tired. You will make mistakes. You will have setbacks. You will cry. You will want to give up. But before you call it quits, remember that you are closest to your dream when you are facing your biggest opposition. So keep pushing!
2. Are you bold enough to share it?
Think about the magnitude of Dr. King’s dream. Although it was optimistic, at the time, his dream seemed insurmountable. But that didn’t stop him from boldly sharing it with the world. Part of fulfilling your dream is being brave enough to confidently share it, no matter how crazy or unbelievable it may seem to others.
3. Do you have a plan?
Until I saw the move Selma (a must see, by the way) I did not realize how strategic the civil rights movement was. Think about the planning that went into each protest, sit-in and boycott. In a time before smart phones and social media, it took a great deal of coordination to organize each event. In order to move your dream forward, you must have a plan. As you write your plan, be sure to set specific goals and action steps to achieve them. Create a timeline for your action steps and spend some time each day working on your plan.
4. Do you have a dream team?
Much of Dr. King’s success could not have been achieved without teamwork. He assembled a team of like-minded people who shared his vision of success. When you are pursuing your dream, it is so important that you surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and what you are trying to achieve. Ditch the Negative Nellies and develop a dream team of friends, family and mentors that want to see you win.
Often times, the biggest obstacle separating you from your dream is YOU. One of the most important things you must do to make your dream come true is to give yourself permission to pursue it. Let go of all the excuses that are stopping you from achieving your dream. No one ever judges you as hard as you judge yourself. Just remember this:
Release your fear and go catch your dream!