7 Tips to Help You Realize Your Passions and Live Your Dreams

Posted on December 13, 2021 in Inspiration

If You Believe It, You Can Do It

We all have passions and dreams, things we believe in with the whole of our being, things that we want to make manifest in the world. But the world is a complicated place, and the paths our lives take can be winding and uncertain. In the face of the natural adversity inherent in all life, how can we achieve the beautiful visions that exist in our minds and souls? Take solace in knowing that just asking the question and seeking out avenues of success already means you’re on the right track to living the life you most desire! While there’s no set list of rules for running down a dream (sorry, Tom Petty), we hope we can at least provide you with seven pieces of advice to help you plan for success. 

Tips For Following Your Dreams

Know Your Dream

The first step in realizing your dream is knowing and understanding the dream or goal you’re trying to achieve so that you can realistically plan for success. It’s important to know up-front what your dream requires in the long term. Do you need special skills? Specific qualifications, certifications, or a specialized degree? Coming to your passion from a position of preparedness is one of the most important aspects of turning a dream into a reality.

Work on Your Craft

Malcolm Gladwell famously asserted that after 10,000 hours of practice, anyone can reasonably reach expert-level at a given craft or skill. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to all situations and disciplines, but it’s an important thought exercise in realizing that mastery is attainable. When standing at the base of a gigantic mountain and looking up, it can be difficult to imagine ever reaching the summit. But how are mountaintops reached? One step at a time. Every step in improving your knowledge and skills is a step in the right direction. 

Know When It’s Right to Take Financial Risks

Dreams take money. You can feel however you want about that, but at the end of that day, it’s the truth. The vast majority of us need to have a paying job in order to provide basic needs for ourselves and our families, and jumping straight into trying to wrestle-down your passions can put those basic needs in jeopardy. It’s important to be realistic about your goals and act on them when the timing makes sense. If the time isn’t right for you yet, don’t fret! Just because you haven’t found total success at your perfect career doesn’t mean you aren’t taking important leaps in the right direction. Day jobs are stepping stones that allow us to build our skills and knowledge while also obtaining the necessary financial support our dreams need for fuel. Even the world’s biggest corporations started in their founder’s garages.

Be Adaptable, Be Ready for Difficulty

Working toward your dreams isn’t as clear-cut as following a yellow brick road (though, even that journey had its fair share of setbacks). As entrepreneur, record executive, and songwriter JAY-Z said, “You learn more in failure than you ever do in success.” Beneath the storm clouds of a mistaken project or venture, it can be easy to feel that victory will never come, or that all you’ll do is fail. But, the most powerful successes are built on the sturdy foundations of lessons taught in failure. It is your failures that will teach you who you are as a human being, how to handle adversity, and how to best succeed next time. If we’re failing, we’re learning – as long as we’re capable of adapting and growing, and capable of seeing the opportunities that even negative moments can provide.

Recognize That Some Factors Will Be Out of Your Control

Unfortunately, hard work alone is often not enough to catalyze true success in our dream fields. An additional element plays a significant role, despite many successful figures claiming otherwise: luck. Luck doesn’t discount the enormous amount of blood, sweat, and tears you give every day, and it shouldn’t take credit for any of your hard-earned achievements, but it does need to be acknowledged. Being in the right place at the right time is often all that separates those that are living their dreams from the many talented, qualified individuals that are not. But don’t feel helpless! If you tossed a coin expecting it to land heads-up, but it landed tails-up instead, what is the only way to attain your desired outcome? Flipping the coin again. Over and over, if needs-be, until chance finally surrenders to a force more powerful: persistence.  

Understand That Following Your Dreams is Not “One Size Fits All”

No single path will work for every individual. No motivational speech from an actor you like, how-to guide, or list of tips online is ever going to perfectly tell you how to succeed at your dreams. If your dream was to do something that no one has ever done before, who would be fit to tell you how to do it best? Turns out, no matter what your dream is, you are doing something no one else has ever done before or will ever do again – you’re your own unique person, living your own unique life, working to attain a dream that in some way, shape, or form is uniquely yours. Take advice where you can, but take it with a grain of salt – what you’re reading right now included. Ultimately, only you will know what’s best for your forward progress.

Know That a Dream is a Journey, Not a Destination

Finally, the most important step to living your dream: understanding that by knowing your passion, deepening your skills, and moving toward your goals – whatever your pace or situation – you are already living your dreams. Every bit of progress is important, and the exciting possibilities of the future shouldn’t rob us of the enjoyment of our present successes. Do you want to be a writer? Do you write? Well, then you’re a writer. Do you want to be a painter? Do you paint? You’re a painter. Want to be an astronaut? Sure, maybe you aren’t an astronaut yet, but if you’re working steadily toward that achievement and working steadily on bettering yourself, then you are engaged in the process of living your dream. Life is what happens all around us every day, and every movement toward achieving your greatest goals is beautiful, and worthy of celebration. 

Go Forth and Prosper!

We at the Kirby Foundation wish you success in all of your endeavors, and we encourage you to never stop believing in your passions — more importantly, we encourage you to realize what’s possible when you never stop believing in yourself. Happy dreaming!

Learn more about how Paul Kirby followed his dreams of mixing engineering and art, learn how to marry your greatest passions through “fusioneering,” or join the Kirby Foundation mailing list for more tips & inspiration.

Are you interested in hearing the complete story of Paul and Dulcinea? Watch the video (nominated for Best Short Film at the 2021 Vail and Portland Film Festivals) for more info.

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