What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?Or fester like a sore--and then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over--like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
— Langston Hughes Delayed or deferred dreams are infuriating and disappointing. We work our asses off, and it feels nothing is happening. However, does this mean we should give up when our dreams are on hold? Tiffany Haddish, a well-known, American female comedian and actress took over 20 years to achieve her dreams. Peter Dinklage who played Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones also took many years to reach his career success. Even Coke® only sold 25 bottles of soda their first year in business. Many companies, CEOs, entrepreneurs, politicians, and celebrities will tell you that building their brand, reaching their goals, or manifesting their dreams was not an overnight action. It took them hard work, failures, rejections, and lots of patience and time to get where they are today. They didn’t give up on their dreams, no matter how long it took, or how bleak things looked!
As an entrepreneur, especially if you are a solo-entrepreneur with a small team (or no team), it can seem like you will never reach professional success. Your dreams can feel out of reach and on hold. Although researchers and business professionals report most businesses fail within their first 3 years of operation, we want to see our dreams realized immediately. We want to be the exception to this 3-year rule. When some of us don’t generate enough clients or struggle building brand recognition, we get anxious and possibly desperate. My dream has been to own my own coaching business. I planned to create a company that was an innovator in the coaching industry. When I first started, I thought I’d achieve my idea of success within 2 years. I remember that first year I didn’t get any clients at all. None! The second year, I had three clients. I had left my 9-to-5 and was working solely for myself. There was no other income except my husband’s salary. Trust me, one income was not good for our household. My savings and reserves were depleted. I had a part-time temp helping me and I was still behind and short-staffed. I freaked out! I started taking the last bit of money I had paying others to help me figure out what was wrong and how to reach my target audience. Interestingly, they told me no more than what I already knew, and I was implementing the strategies they suggested before I hired these professionals. Nevertheless, nothing I did was working. I wanted to give up. I felt like a failure. I kept asking myself what am I doing wrong. I have a great service. I am an expert. I have the skills. I educate more than promote and sell. What is the obstacle? Why weren’t my dreams coming true? What's in the way of you realizing your dreams?
Then I realized, after hiring a coach (yes, coaches need coaches) and doing some soul-searching, the process takes time. My problem wasn’t doing something wrong. The issue was no one really knew who I was or even understood the efficacy and benefits of what I offered--coaching services and coach training. I learned my dreams were deferred because I had to work the process and build brand recognition. To be the powerhouse in the coaching industry I dreamt of being, it could take a long time to see my dreams come true. I also had to realize that I was a solo-entrepreneur and didn’t have the same impact as a bigger business that may have been around for 20+ years. You would think knowing this would make me feel better. It didn’t! My dreams were still on hold, and I still needed money to survive during this process. No client’s equal no money. No money means my business was in jeopardy and my dreams could be deferred. I had two choices, give up, or keep going. Both were acceptable decisions. However, I choose to keep going.
What I have learned over the years is that we give up on our dream too quickly because they are delayed in manifesting. If profits aren’t increasing, we think we failed, and our dream was really a nightmare. Yet, this is not always true. The truth is creating, maintaining, and realizing your dreams take work and patience. There will be bumps and heartache along the way and you will question if you are doing the right thing. Someone reading this article will give up. Some of you are thinking about if you should or shouldn’t. I am going to share a secret with you on when to determine its time to give up:
You should give up on your dream or purpose when you no longer have the energy to continue to pursue it.
That’s it! You must determine if you want to keep going, or not. If you no longer have energy or patience, then give up. However, if you want to keep going, here are a few things you must do:
Assess what’s in the way of successfully manifesting your dreams. If you have done all you know how to do, then the issue is patience with the process. If there are things that you need to implement then do that.
If you run out of money or resources, scale back without giving up. Its ok to do only what can afford to do while you work through the process. You may need to get a job or project work to keep you afloat, but that’s ok.
Build a board, team or support circle of knowledgeable folks in your field that you can talk with, get support from, and strategize with. A team of people, a mentor, a coach, can all help you maintain accountability and patience.
Be patient. I love using the analogy that it takes a tree 5-7 years to grow and bare fruit. Other people who have a similar dream as yours also had to wait and work for their success.
Focus on building relationships and your niche/target audience. We don’t get to where we want to be without others. So, be a good friend, affiliate, partner and supporter. Connect with people on a personal level. Know who will resonate with your brand (personal or professional).
Start small and strategically map out your road to achieving your goals. This is where having a coach can really benefit you, too! Know what you need to realize your dreams and purpose and make SMART-R™ goals to ensure your success.
Be open and flexible to change. Nothing is permanent. You may need to reinvent yourself or perceive your dream and purpose from another vantage point.
I now have over 10K subscribers and followers across my social media platforms and site membership. I have over 30K visitors to my site in a year. My company has reached 6+ figures and a steady stream of income. I have spoken at prominent events and worked with major companies, government agencies, and influential people. I am not in the millions yet, but I hold fast to my dream that I will be. It has taken me five years to get to this point. I still see myself being on Oprah’s Soul Sunday show. I still see myself coaching high-profile clients and being interviewed by various respected media outlets. I will have best selling books, too! I know that my dreams will flourish and I have the energy to pursue them. So, I am not ready to give up. Remember, a deferred dream still has potential. But, if you decide that you have had enough and want to give up, don’t feel guilty. It's perfectly acceptable to change your mind and choose to do something else. You can always redefine success, your dreams and purpose. However, if you choose to keep at it, then be resilient. Be determined. Be patient!
Dr. “Coach Dawn” Reid is the CEO and founder of Reid Ready Life Coaching, a premiere provider of coaching services and coach training. As a coach, Dr. Reid helps women entrepreneurs create SMART-R™ goals and work-life harmony, while growing profitable businesses. She will partner with you to identify how to find solutions and resources to overcome obstacles that block you from achieving your goals and realizing your dreams. Book your Complimentary Discovery Session today to see how she can help you live your purpose.
To learn how Reid Ready Life Coaching helps aspiring coaches or coaching professionals within organizations develop core coaching competencies, implement peer-coaching programs, and create compliance and ethical awareness through policy and protocol coaching. Visit: www.reidreadycoaching.com.