We all have dreams we want to fulfill. Your dream could be becoming an entrepreneur, going back to school, landing that dream job, travelling the world, or starting a family. Whatever your dream may be, it will certainly come with some form of opposition.
This force conspiring against you can be in the form of family, friends, co-workers, haters, unexpected circumstances, or the daily occurrences of life. Even you, yourself, can get in your own way and cause unnecessary obstacles to block you from achieving your goal. This opposition is life’s way of determining how bad you really want it, what you’re willing to do for it or go through to attain it, and how long you’re willing to wait until it comes to fruition. What you believe about yourself and your dream determines the outcome. If you really want to see your dreams come to pass, you MUST protect your dream.
Believe in Yourself
One of the most important things you have to get down deep in your spirit is to believe in yourself. It’s easy to do that when everything is going great and you’re well on your way to accomplishing your dream, but as soon as life happens and everything you’ve been planning doesn’t work out or is delayed, you may begin to feel like you're not good enough. I received hundreds of rejection letters from damn near every sports organization within the NFL, NBA, WNBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, and NCAA from the time I graduated from grad school in December 2007 until I received a part time, event driven position with Van Wagner Sports Group in March 2011. Ultimately, the connections that I made at that job led me to a full time position at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ in April 2013. Trust me when I say my self-esteem took a major blow during that time period! I was also having family issues, (see my previous blog post – Fuck It, Let’s Go to New York), so I was feeling constant stagnation coming from all sides. It’s especially important during these low points that you have to remind yourself exactly who you are and whose you are! You are intelligent. You are beautiful. You are unique. You have something to offer. You are a go-getter. You are going to do what you set out to do! You are a child of the Most High God! Besides, if you don’t believe in yourself then no one else will!
Faith Over Fear
Having faith that you will conquer your goals is just as important – if not more important – as believing in yourself. When you believe in yourself, you are also believing in the God within you! "What is it you think you see when you see me, when you see me..." – had to take a Mary Mary praise dance moment! I’m a very spiritual person, and my faith in God means everything to me. My faith and prayer life has gotten me through some very tough times – homelessness, abandonment, and broken relationships among other things. Through faith, I overcame what I thought would break me and derail my plans. I boldly believed that God heard my requests, and that what I prayed for – which seemed like the impossible – would come to pass. When you choose faith, you allow positive energy and good vibes to flow through you. You become confident in God’s promises, your purpose, and that everything will work out even if it may not look like it will right now. When you choose fear, you become skeptical of your vision. The negative energy you harbor creates a blockade around your blessings, and you begin to doubt the very thing you want to occur. Don’t let fear control you and make you miss out on accomplishing your dream. Have faith!
Have a Vision
I’m a huge advocate of vision boards. To protect your dream, it’s important that you have a visual focal point that inspires you every day to achieve your goal. The first vision board I created included the New York City skyline, a football, a huge trophy, a pen and a book, a Bentley, a mansion, and the qualities that I want in my soulmate. Now, I’m still waiting on the last three items to come to pass, but the first four already have. I live in an apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn with an expansive view of the city. I’ve worked in the sports industry – specifically in football – on the collegiate, semi-professional and professional levels. I received a 2005 SWAC championship ring for Grambling’s win over Alabama A&M, and I coordinated facility operations and managed stadium wide communication for Super Bowl XLVIII. I’m also a published author, and now I'm blogging - something I thought I'd never do! I believe it’s vital to create a vision board for your dream. When you’re having a bad day and need motivation, your vision board will give you the drive you need to push forward! I know one day I’ll have a brand new, red Bentley parked in front of my mansion, and the man of my dreams to share it with. It’s only a matter of time!
One of the biggest adversaries you will face while protecting your dream is timing. We all want our dreams to happen microwave fast. You pop it in, heat it on high for three minutes, and in no time you’re ready to eat. In reality, most dreams have to be jotted down on the grocery list, purchased and bagged, brought home and stored in the freezer for a few days, thawed out, prepped and marinated overnight, then slow roasted in the oven until the skin is crisp and evenly golden, and it reaches the right juicy tenderness as it cooks to perfection. That description of divine timing may have made you hungry, and that’s exactly how you should continuously be on the path to your dreams – HUNGRY! It’s imperative that you stay hungry to reach your goal because the moment you become full and tired from waiting on it to happen, you catch “that itis”, and you fall asleep. Don’t sleep on your dream! More than likely, you will experience delays on the path to success. Just remember, the delay is not denial; it does not mean “no.” It just means “not right now” or “something better is coming.” God won’t give you something you're not ready to receive - no matter how much you may pray, shout, plan, or try to bargain to get it. Only He can foresee the road ahead, and the delay is to ensure you proceed safely. He only wants the best for you! The truth is… slow progress is better than no progress, and things take time. Even if you aren’t where you want to be, always remember you aren’t where you used to be. Be patient, you are right where you should be. Keep going!
Trust the Process
I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to trust the process. For example, when you buy an item online, it has to go through a shipment process in order for it to be delivered to you. Let’s say you finally decided to purchase that pair of heels you’ve been eyeing for the past few weeks. Once you place your order, your size 8.5 heels have to be taken from the inventory of other heels in stock. It’s then packaged, labeled with your address information, and shipped to you. When your heels arrive in the mail, one of the first things you do before you wear them out is break them in. You walk in them around the house until they feel comfortable enough to be worn outdoors so you're not tripping over yourself or praying your baby toe doesn't go completely numb and fall off while you're trying to be cute! Protecting your dream is similar to ordering heels online, and for the men that's reading this - think of it as a pair of Stacy Adams. When the size 8.5 pair of heels was plucked from the inventory, it was chosen. It was its season to be removed from the pack. Not the size 7. Not the size 9. Not the other size 8.5 heels. Only one size 8.5. Your size 8.5! Oftentimes, you go through isolation before elevation. You may start having conflicts with your friends, your significant other, or even your family while you are protecting your dream. That’s OK; some people in your life are only meant to be there temporarily. Everyone is not supposed to go with you to the next level.
The heels are now being packaged. The sales clerk makes sure the heels are neatly secured inside the shoe box. He inspects the heels to see if they are stuffed with paper so that they hold their shape. If they aren't, then he stuffs them. Next, he places them back in the shoe box, covers them with the thick paper or bubble wrap the shoes were already wrapped in, closes the lid, and puts it in another box for shipment. God will use people, situations, and things that will result in you experiencing an internal transformation. You undergo a chrysalis that matures you while you build character and strength for the journey ahead. You will have to grow a thick skin because you will be labeled before you are shipped out. People will call you names and say you’ve changed - that you're acting brand new. They try to tear you down and say you will never attain your goal. They want to put you in a box, but they don’t realize you won't be in there long. You are going somewhere; you have a destination. Listen, you are already covered! Everything you need, you already have, and whatever you don't have, God will provide. You already have confirmation!
Once the heels arrive, they need to be broken in for comfort before they can be worn for a night out on the town. Those new heels will be worn with your favorite dress - or suit. It's been hanging up in the back of the closet, and you’ve been dying to wear it again since you lost five pounds. Oftentimes, we put our dreams in the back of the closet or on the back burner. We forget that we have them, and wrongly believe we can't achieve them. Go pull that dress from the back of the closet! This is akin to the test you will undoubtedly go through right before you reach your dream. See, you’ve already arrived, but you can’t be seen publicly yet - you aren't acknowledged. No one knows you have these fabulous shoes to go with your favorite dress or this gift you want to share with the world. You are waiting in the wings preparing for everything to come together, so don’t give up! You must endure what it takes to break through, and lose whatever weight that has been holding you back. You’re almost there!
The moment you've been waiting for has come! The heels fit perfectly, that dress you love hugs all of your curves just right, and you are ready to hang out with your girls. You've come into your season, and now it's time for you to enjoy it to the fullest! Please understand, the moment you prayed and committed yourself to work towards your goal, it was already delivered to you. Don’t let doubts, fears, lack of vision, or timing discourage you. Trust the process, and protect your dream!