We all have dreams of what we want to do in life, and very clear images of who we want to become. We picture ourselves doing our life’s work with this unmatched sense of energy and optimism. However for some reason those dreams always seem too distant from the reality of our day-to-day lives. Complications get in the way; responsibilities hold us back, and an inherent fear of all that could go wrong blinds us from everything that could go right.

One of my favorite authors and speakers Leslie Brown quotes many times in his talks that “It is necessary to live our dreams”. That quote sticks with me everyday, and whenever I am doing the work I am passionate about, because when I am working on my dreams I am at my absolute best, and truly feel that is when I have the greatest impact on the world. I can see why he thinks it is necessary.

Achieving your dreams may be difficult, but all you need is to truly believe is that they are possible. Then all that matters is the steps you take to bring those dreams to a reality. My dream is to be a writer, speaker, and teacher; and here are the steps I have taken to make that dream come true.

Stop Waiting For Permission

We go through our whole lives waiting for permission or approval from someone, or some authority, to tell us what we are, or are not, capable of. It happens in school, in university, or at work, there is always some sort of judgment on what other people feel we are ready for, and all too often we believe it.

However I have found that people who truly live their life’s calling are able to silence the voices that surround them, and focus on the voice inside them that is telling them to go for it.

I had always wanted to write about social and cultural issues in the world, but was waiting for someone to tell me “you should write”, or “why don’t you write something for us?”, I was waiting for permission.

Then I got home on the evening of January 15th 2011 and told myself enough is enough, I am going to write an article today. I was up all night, full of energy and life, researching, thinking, writing and repeating, it was everything I wanted to do. Two weeks later the article was published in Abu Dhabi’s largest newspaper, and I haven’t stopped writing since. So never wait for permission, especially to do something you love, or you will be waiting forever.

Quit Making Excuses

When I wanted to launch a website, and start holding speaking seminars to share lessons and inspire others, the only thoughts that would come to my head were reasons I shouldn’t do it. “You are not prepared”, “nobody is interested”, “it takes too much time”, “you will probably fail”, are just some of the excuses I would repeat to myself over and over again. Then I would just keep going about my day to day life, pushing my dreams aside.

Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we default to the negative? Instead of thinking about everything that could go wrong, why can’t we imagine everything that could go right? Positive energy has a huge impact on what we do in life, and how it projects on other people. When we are positive about what we want to do, and then do it, other people feel that energy and are automatically attracted to learning more.

When you have a dream, list down all the reasons you should do it, and use each reason to replace an excuse. Soon enough you will have all the excuses replaced by reasons, and all the energy you need to get started, and that is the hardest step.

Wake Up Earlier

Waking up early has had one of the greatest impacts on how I live my day-to-day life, giving me more time to spend on my craft, and working towards my dreams. My aim is to be up by 6am every morning to clear my head, fuel it with knowledge, and spend uninterrupted time working on something that takes me one step closer towards my goals and ambitions.

When you wake up early, you are telling yourself from the very start of the day that you will be the manager of your time, instead of letting time manage you. You are saying to yourself that you are going to be responsible for what happens throughout the day, and whatever else comes your way you will be prepared, because you have already dedicated time to what is important. Time is so precious, it is a resource we will never get back, own it, make every moment count towards the life you want for yourself and the people you love.

Prepare To Work Harder

Work ethic might be the greatest factor that differentiates a majority of the people who realize their dreams, from the ones who don’t. In an amazing short talk, Will Smith says “There may be people who are smarter than me, more talented than me, or even sexier than me, but I will never be out worked. If me and another person get on a treadmill together two things are going to happen, either they get off first, or I am going to die on that treadmill”.

These are our dreams we are talking about, the work and life that fills your heart with joy, and energizes your spirit. Giving your dreams anything less than everything you have got and you might have to ask yourself if those really are your dreams. Never be outworked in the pursuit of your dreams, give it everything you have got, every second, of every hour, of every day. Make every drop of sweat, and every tear that drips down your face, mean something, then something amazing starts to happen, those dreams start becoming real. Hard work fails nobody, and it’s not going to start with you.

Surround Yourself With Believers

When walking the path towards your dreams, it is important that the people walking beside you want you to achieve them. You are essentially the average of the people you spend the most time with. Therefore if you surround yourself with people who just want to relax and take the easy road through life, it is very likely that you are going to turn out just like them.

If you are not spending time working on your dream you should be around family, friends, and mentors who believe you are going to make it, and want to see you succeed. You want to surround yourself with people who are going to guide you when things get tough, and will show you love when things go wrong, because it is inevitable that at some points they will, and you will need all the support you can get.

People who keep you focused and give you a reason to achieve your dreams are critical, the energy you give to each other keeps multiplying, then more and more doors of opportunity start to open, so keep those people the closest.

Take Baby Steps

Some people become paralyzed by their dreams; they feel the dreams they have for themselves are beyond them. To take the case of myself as a public speaker, I would paralyze myself if I thought to be a speaker I had to speak to a sold out crowd of 10,000 people. Just like anything you want to achieve in your life, the road to your dreams will never start at the destination; you have a road to travel to get there.

I have found that starting small allows you to do the most important thing towards achieving your dreams, and that is simply starting. There are so many tools in our hands today for us to work on our craft while sharing it with the public.

Want to be an actor? Create a short YouTube or Instagram series, Want to be a writer? Start a blog and share it on twitter, Want to start a business? Build your product or service and start testing it with family, friends, and a small number of customers. It’s really that simple, so just go for it, and always remember that baby steps are still steps in the right direction.

Keep Moving Forward

The only direction you should be going when working on your dreams is forward, there may be turns a long the way, or changes in the plan, but you should always be moving forward. Whatever happened in the past, keep it in the past, you have nothing to gain by walking backwards to the person you were, the things you used to do, or the circumstances you were in.

You are on a journey to change your life, to shape a new future for yourself and the people you love, so stay focused on the goals that are ahead of you. Those goals need all the focus and energy you’ve got to make them a reality, and any time spent looking back is a moment lost looking forward and preparing for the future.

Whatever hardships that come your way, keep moving forward, whoever tries to hold you back, let them go and keep moving forward, when you are exhausted and feel like you can’t go on, keep moving forward. There is a special moment when you have passed all these hardships, because you kept moving forward past the pain, and that is when you break free and nothing can hold you back. Always keep the momentum on your side, keep moving forward.

These are the steps that have helped me work towards making my dreams a reality. They may not work for everyone, and some of you may have better ways of doing things. All I am saying is have a plan, and identify those steps to creating the life you want to live, and doing the work you love. As Les Brown said “It is necessary for us to live our dreams”, so we must stop thinking of our dreams as a distant option, or something that might happen. Our dreams can happen, and they will happen, all it takes is the right attitude, belief in yourself, support from others, and no matter what, never giving up.

Here is to all of us realizing our dreams, and bringing our magic to the world. Go Forth.