Six Tips for Living Your Wildest Dreams
It’s summer time here in the USA and I’ve been on the road, traveling for two weeks now. I love traveling. I might go as far as to say, I live to travel. I’ve been all over the world, on four continents and over 30 countries. The road is where I learn, where I grow, where I confront my fears, and where I live my wildest dreams.
Right now I’m traveling in my 2003 Ford Econoline van that my family helped me fit out to live in comfortably. Her name is Lady Van. I have put a heck of a lot of miles on the Lady these past two weeks, driving from Vermont to Alaska. I haven’t kept an exact record, but that’s over 3,000 miles in two weeks. Vroom zoom!
I decided I wanted to do this trip back in December when I was going through a lot of personal suffering. When times get tough, plan a trip. That’ll cheer me up! I reached out to a friend in Alaska and she said, “Yes, come visit! Park that big old van on the flat spot in my driveway!” I figured I would have no problem getting it all planned out in six months.
Then that thing happens that is all too common for introverts (and perhaps to everyone!). You say, “Yes!” to a thing in the future, imagining it will be great, but as it comes to be next week or tomorrow, it suddenly feels like maybe too much. You’re tired, or busy, or it doesn’t sound like that much fun anymore. And perhaps, well, maybe you’re just a little bit scared.
Fear is a creepy little monster that lurks inside of all of us. It’s just a part of being human. As the Alaska trip got closer, I had more anxiety, more doubts, more fears about the road. I have traveled by myself before but never in the Lady Van. I’d maybe done one or two nights in the van alone before, but now I was looking at 3 months.
Okay, quick disclaimer, I do have my dog, Cosmo, with me. So technically I’m not 100% alone. Unfortunately, Cosmo can’t drive, doesn’t make human level decisions, and is a limited conversationalist. I love having him with me, but he doesn’t count. I even tested this out on a man who asked me if I was traveling alone the other day and I said, “Well no, I’m with my dog.” He looked skeptical.
Anyway, I’ve been experiencing some lessons about what it takes to go after your dreams during these last couple of weeks. I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you in case if helps you get your ass in gear to do that big scary thing you’ve been dreaming of doing. Here we go with my six lessons from the road:
#1. You can’t let fear stop you. You just can’t. You have this amazing dream. You’re working towards it, taking actions steps. Progress is being made! And then you peter off or just stop dead. That’s a sign that you’re letting fear take over. And you just can’t let that stand.
When you notice yourself making excuses or losing interest in some project or plan that you were once really all into, it’s time to examine yourself for fear. Ask yourself, “Am I giving up on this or abandoning this because of fear?” It’s a simple question, but it moves mountains. When you can say to yourself, “I’m letting fear stop me from doing my dream,” you open up the awareness to be able to say, “I’m going to face my fear and keep going.” Which leads me to the next thing you can learn while going after your big dreams.
#2 You can’t ignore or deny fear, it will manifest. There’s no way around fear. You might have answered no to the above question of whether it is fear that is stopping you from living your dream. You might have been all, “No way, this is just boring now. I’m interested in something else. And besides it was a stupid idea to begin with.” Well, if you’re in denial you won’t have to wait long for a wakeup call because your fear will take physical form.
Often the physical form that fear takes is anxiety. Your stomach gets all twisted up, or you get a headache, or a backache, or you come down with a cold. It could be more of an existential dread, thinking that nothing matters and there is no point to life. Anxiety leaves you feeling like dreams aren’t worth all the hassle.
When you find yourself in physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual discomfort when confronting or denying your fears about living your best life, you need to check in with yourself. Honestly, you could check in with yourself everyday through meditation and it would be a beautiful thing. Create deeper awareness within yourself by checking in often. When you know your baseline “good”, you’ll be better equipped to notice when things get wonky with anxiety and fear.
#3 Unfortunately, you can’t out plan fear. You may hold the belief that if you make a very detailed outline of everything that you’re going to do to reach your dream, that this foolproof plan can keep you from making mistakes and failure. Perhaps you’ve even gotten stuck in this planning phase: researching, gathering information, detailing possible plans of action, and then never done anything with those plans. You’re waiting to have all the information before you proceed smoothly towards your goal.
Yeah, all the planning in the world won’t hold up to what happens in reality. Things do not go according to plan. It is a very rare thing indeed when you hear someone’s life story go along like this, “I planned A, B, and C. First I did A and it was great. Then I moved on to B and totally nailed it. And finally C just came about naturally as a result.” Nope! Most people look back and see a series of good luck, random events, trying all kinds of things, backtracking, slip-ups, and then wondering how they got to this point.
Well, the way they go to that point was by not being too attached to the plan. I’m not suggesting you jump into your dream sans plan, I myself love a good research and planning phase. All I’m saying is that even the best laid plans often get sidetracked and the dream can happen in a million different ways. There are endless ways that you can create your best life, and the less attached you are to a certain way of doing it, the easier it will be to ride the wild waves of what actually comes along.
#4. It’s okay to make mistakes. Of course it’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, mistakes might be required. Actually, how can you even be certain that a you’ve even made a mistake anyway, since the ultimate meaning and goal of your life is unknowable? Perhaps it seems like leaving your wallet at that gas station bathroom and then having to double back to retrieve it when you’re three hours down the road really seems like a major screw up. But who knows!? Maybe it was the perfect lesson to make you more travel aware. Maybe if you hadn’t doubled back you would have met some terrible accident down the road. Maybe you needed to listen to that song or that podcast at that time. There is no way of knowing if you even are making mistakes or if they are the actual journey itself!
I do think mistakes are an important part of the any life. When you make a mistake, or you just aren’t good at something, but you keep moving towards that goal anyway, that is the most beautiful thing. No failure is possibly if you haven’t thrown in the towel and given up on the whole dream. Each mistake is just a part of it, it’s necessary and perfect in its imperfection. When you catch yourself about to give up because something is hard and you keep messing up, be sure to question that desire to abandon the dream. What’s another year of practice or another hundred tries if the end result of all that trying is the life of your dreams?
#5. Fear can actually be useful and helpful sometimes. There are definitely situations where your spidey-sense kicks in and the fear antennae get activated. Perhaps you feel like you are putting yourself in bodily harm or dealing with people or events that are dangerous. There’s a big difference between being afraid to succeed and being afraid to sleep in a sketchy Walmart parking lot. You need to make smart decisions to keep yourself intact and alive.
Exploring the difference between fear of danger and fear of leaving your comfort zone is crucial. You need to be able to differentiate between these two fears. This shouldn’t be too hard. Ask yourself if you are in immediate physical danger. Will you die if you make that phone call to a prospective client? Will you receive some bodily injury by publishing your website, or book, or blog post? You may have the same physical reaction and hold that fear in the same place in your body, but you need to use your brain to make the distinction between what’s actually going to kill you and what is just outside your comfort zone. Which leads me to my last point:
#6. Sometimes things get uncomfortable and not so fun when you’re working towards your dreams. Yes, it’s been a blast driving across Canada and hiking in beautiful places and seeing wild animals and soaking in beautiful hot springs. But there have been many times when it hasn’t been fun, when I’ve been challenged, when I’ve had to get outside my comfort zone. There are going to be all kinds of situations that you have to go through that will challenge you and bring you to tears along your path towards your dreams, but you can’t let that stop you.
What happens when you let fear stop you is that you live a pretty boring and unfulfilling life. What that means to each of us is different, but it all amounts to the same thing: letting fear of what you don’t know keep you trapped in a cycle of what you do know. You’ll stay safe, but you won’t keep growing and expanding. Well, maybe you’ll stay safe. In my experience, life sends safe people shakeups all the time so they have to move because the old safety net is gone. You can wait for the rug to get pulled out from under you, or you can get off that rug yourself.
To me, it’s worth the uncomfortableness. It’s worth the moments that are very unfun. No matter how many challenges I face on this road trip, the idea of not doing the road trip was completely unthinkable. The lonesome stretches of road, the times when Cosmo exasperated me with his pulling, the uncertainty of finding a good campsite, the cold that zapped my energy for days, all of the discomfort was worth it. And it will continue to be worth it because I’m confident that this is my dream and that I am living my best life.
The New Moon is coming right up again on July 2nd. Tune back in next week for the reading for setting intentions for the month ahead. If you never want to miss a New Moon reading, sign up for my newsletter that goes out each New Moon. In the meantime, if you would like to order an email tarot reading, my turn around time right now is quick!
And lastly, if you haven’t downloaded my free Guide to Setting Intentions with the New Moon, you can get your hands on that now by clicking here! I’m thinking of jumping in the ocean today. The water is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit…