4 steps to overcome life’s obstacles & live your dream


image via Mystery Wallpaper

Many of us have a hard time giving ourselves the gift of realizing big dreams.

Life gets in the way.

When the kids leave…when the house is paid for…when I finally unclutter my work space…when I finish school…

I do believe that there are appropriate times for going for it where big dreams are concerned, but it is always a good time to steer ourselves in the general direction of where we want to end up. A huge part of it is eliminating the obstacles that pop up like moles on the lawn of life.




1) Practice “If it’s not a yes, it’s a no”.

The principle is that if you’re hemming and hawing about something…can’t make up your mind to start that painting class or enroll in book writing 101 or even make a massive career change, it might be a no. Is it possible you are picking this path because you feel you should? Or someone expects this of you? Or is it truly a passion? Or is it burning desire that keeps you up at night? The yes is there, but the plan is not. AND THAT’S OKAY. If it truly is a giant, big ‘ole pink elephant that follows you around, the plan will come if you devote some time and energy to it.

Ask yourself: “If fear was eliminated, would it be a yes?”

Take a deep breath and commit yourself to micro-movements, which are small steps to get closer to doing this thing that just might make you deliriously happy.

2) Embrace time management

168 hours. That’s what makes up your week. Laura Vanderkam literally wrote the book about this topic and came up with some interesting stats about how we spend our time. Her blog can get you started to begin the process of tracking your own. Trust me, it’s enlightening and scary at the same time. Committing to making small steps is going to cause a shift in your time management tectonic plates. If you value sleep, cuts will need to be made somewhere. I suggest starting with Facebook and Twitter and then take a look at the reality TV crap-ola time that is flushed down the ‘ole john each week. Take inventory of what you’re willing to give up to get closer to making time for your dream to happen. Write it down in your planner as an appointment with yourself.

Your goal is worth being written into your life…in pen.

3) Truly let go…for good

Toxic friendships that suck you dry…the quest to have the perfect house…the expectation to keep up with the rat race in your neighborhood…volunteering your time in places you know you’re not appreciated…doing a job you absolutely despise…

Give yourself permission to release relationships that are detrimental to your dream. I realize the whole job thing is a tough one, but I can honestly say that with the other issues, you’d be doing yourself a huge favor if you simply and directly released it from your life. Such hard things…believe me, I know. ‘Been there with at least twice and it is terribly difficult, but it was so worth it. It freed up such a huge space in my brain for things that really mattered to me.

You can do it. It will mean magic for your journey!

3) Give yourself permission to be alone to map out a plan

This is a hard one for women with kidlets hanging from their very limbs, but it is not selfish to ask for this time. I hear it so much from friends (especially women who work and are uber-moms upon walking in the door) that they feel like it takes too much time away from their family to bring a dream into the fray.

I beg you not to believe this for a second.

You must ask for this time and take it. Even if there’s risk of people (small and large) living on your planet giving you a hard time. You’re not flying to Tahiti for two weeks, for cryin’ out loud. You simply want time to test out or even (yah!) pursue a dream. Remember? That little friend who seems to be sulking in the corner while you stir the spaghetti sauce?

Yeah–her. She’s calling you.

4) Pursue Courage and Bravery with wild abandon

This involves deciding to move forward when moving forward seems completely draining and awkward. Bravery doesn’t make a list of negative what-ifs. It only brings on the mojo to do what needs to be done. Courage means stepping out and looking forward…not casting your peepers side to side to see what others in your profession are doing or making or writing. Yes, we can support friends who are realizing their dreams too, but be mindful of what’s stirring in your heart when you go about realizing yours.

Does the success of others make you anxious?

Does it make you feel like you’re not doing enough?

Does it make you feel small?

Recognize it and don’t go there for awhile. Stay right in your own space with your own lovely, beautiful, talented self and make plans. Revel in just being present with that pink elephant. Don’t let the small voice of doubt creep in.

Know thyself. And if thyself can’t handle looking at the amazing fast-track success of others, be okay with it. Abandon Facebook and Twitter for a few weeks and see if it helps.

* * *

Give your dream the space in your brain, your home, and your life that it deserves. If you nurture it and believe that growing this beautiful thing is worth the effort, the rewards will be more than you ever could have dreamed.

I promise.


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20 thoughts on “4 steps to overcome life’s obstacles & live your dream

    • It seems my ever-growing bucket list needs to be weeded out a little. There are so many wonderful things to experience in this awesome life, aren’t there? Here’s to dreaming big 🙂

      • Gosh–your response just had me weed mine. I have some serious things I really am passionate about, but I had “ride a mechanical bull.” I’m 40…if I don’t ride a mechanical bull, it’s not going to disappoint me. Delete. Also, I am not sure I’m ready to commit to that volunteer work as I already am volunteering a lot of my time in two other areas that are more important to me. Delete. Thank you, wise woman!

  1. As always….you hit the bulls-eye! I keep so many of your posts and this one is certainly a keeper to revisit when I get stuck in the room with the pink elephunk!

  2. My daughters are always saying they don’t have enough time, I tell them “168 hours, it’s how you choose to use them.” Have you read You Can Buy Happiness: and it’s cheap? Wonderful book for making you pause and consider what is important to you.

  3. I love this – and it’s very timely for me as I struggle with trying to let go of some of my commitments/activities that I’m just not passionate about. I really like the “if it’s not a yes, it’s a no” – that needs to go on a post it on my mirror or something! 🙂

    • That phrase certainly worked for me. As a former yes-girl, I finally decided that my time was precious and I was going to take a no guilt stance on saying no (politely, of course). I don’t let anyone make me feel that I’m less because I say no.

  4. I love this. Saying no and letting go make life so free! I really appreciate that your post is both reminding and empowering women to take hold of their life and responsibility for their time – and not feel like they are doing a selfish thing. We are all better off when individuals make healthy choices for their own lives first! I have so enjoyed reading your posts on Freshly Pressed.

    • Even though we’ve come so far, don’t you think there’s still that mentality that as moms we’re selfish if we have our own dreams? I’m hoping that my daughters will not know what this feels like because their big plans are valued as much as their spouse’s. We have to take the time to make it right! 🙂

      • I do agree with you. Although I am not yet a mom, I know so many “conservative” women around me who can’t shake their insecurity about taking charge of their lives in the context of a relationship, even with friends, co-workers, etc. All out of confusion over how to be generous/selfless. So silly! Sounds like your daughters will grow up to be savvy secure women 🙂 Amen to following dreams! They are worth chasing.

  5. Pingback: {What I’m Into} May 2014 – Parchment Cadenza

  6. Hi Laura, I want to say thank you. For months I have been indecisive about whether to leave my well paid safe job (that I even like a little) to start my own business. I’ve tried no end of ways – practical, spiritual to help myself decide what to do. I happened across your site by chance and read this sentence..

    “Ask yourself: “If fear was eliminated, would it be a yes?”

    And with that simple sentence things fell into place. Yes I want to do this, and yes the only thing stopping me is fear. Now with that clarity – I can move forward and start working on those fears.

    Thank you!!

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