Dream Transformation: Do One Thing Different

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Dream Movement: Do One Thing Different

Dreaming requires transformation.

And transformation is the Rubik’s cube of dreaming – the puzzle you must solve; the skill you must master; the muscle you must strengthen, and the conversion you must execute. Much to our dismay, we must change in order to succeed at dreaming.

If we were ready for our dreams to happen right now — we would be living our dreams right now. This is the painful answer to the dreamer’s puzzle. There is no such thing as the overnight dream success. We must become masters of our craft and rise above whatever is needed to arrive at our cherished outcome. There’s much work to be done.

We must become different than who we are today.

And in order to be different we must do our dream work over and over until we burst through our dream glass ceiling.

Sociologist, Malcolm Gladwell argues that it takes 10,000 hours of determined practice to rise to the top of a craft. He points out in his book, The Tipping Point, those who put in 10,000 hours of practice effectively make their own luck because they work harder than the rest of us, so when opportunity knocks, they are ready.

The rest of us drop out before we reach the coveted 10,000 hour place. When opportunity knocks at the top of the hill, we’re still at the bottom deciding which backpack to take.

What does the 10,000 hours give you? It takes you from being a beginner at whatever you seek and turns you into an expert by the end. Think about how great a public speaker you’d be after you give 10,000 speeches.

Does it really take us 10,000 hours to finally change?

I have some terrible habits that aren’t good for me. I eat bread when I am not suppose to; I drink wine too late at night and suffer heartburn into the wee hours of the morning; I put off dream tasks that need to be completed; and I am terribly hard on myself at times. Some call this vices, or bad habits. I call them dream-delayers.

What if I traded the time spent indulging my shortcomings for something that takes me closer to my dream? Could I comment on more blogs? Maybe finish the Marketing Kit I’ve been working on for two months? Execute the email newsletter that patiently waits to be finished in Mail Chimp? What about the bloggers I need to write and ask if I can guest post? By completing my dream tasks I’d take steps toward my dream while whittling down my 10,000 hours.

But why do I turn away from my dream tasks for a slice of toast with butter, or browse the Internet looking for photos of the places Anthony Bourdain has been lately, while contemplating getting out the cinnamon and sugar and a tall glass of milk?

I didn’t hike this weekend. I didn’t walk around my neighborhood. It is just as easy to surmise that if I spend 10,000 hours indulging my vises instead of my dreams, I’ll be Jabba The Hutt inviting women to blog with me in the year 2020 — with this blog no more a success than it is today.

How do we change?

How do we put in as many hours as we can to get to our sweet 10,000 finish line as quickly as possible? How do we turn away from our shortcomings and turn into the habits that will serve as the foundation to our dreams?

It came to me this weekend as I laid on the floor of my bedroom, with my legs flopped over my mattress at 2:00 in the morning, due to the fact that I’ve discovered this Yoga exercise that takes away the pain in my shoulders from spending too much time sitting at a computer (another vice), and I must simply get out of bed and do this whenever my shoulders bother me at night.

It’s at this point in my 2am ritual that I decide to meditate. I pull the blankets from my bed over my body and relax into the floor. Midway through meditation a voice in my head reminds me that if I did this exercise every day I will be pain free. Catherine – just do this one thing.

One thing.

One moment of self care – no matter how crazy I look to everyone in my household when they discover me storing loudly from the floor with some Indian meditation mantra playing continuously in the background.

I realized that by meditating and taking care of my body at the same time, I feel more energy the next day and a sense of peace guides my actions. I feel like accomplishing one more dream task. It’s just one change – one ritual that helps my day go better. It’s one thing different that breaks up my routine.

Where would our dreams be in 6 months if we just did one thing different?

One thing better. One thing healthier. One promise kept. One move forward. One small change. One meeting attended. One dream started. One phone call. One email. One opened book. One moment of self-care. One.

Then when I consider the slice of toast, I might be inclined to eat just half, or only have the milk ,or decide on a big glass of water instead. One change. Nothing more. In 6 months that small change might make the difference in me writing one more column, emailing an inquiry, submitting a guest post that tips 8 Women Dream into the stratosphere.

Not to mention my butt might shrink.

Instead of beating ourselves up for our vises and making ourselves out to be weak, what if we just look at how we can subtly change the vice? When I haven’t walked, maybe I decide to wake early the next day to stretch . . . maybe I stretch before bed . . . maybe it’s only 2 stretches . . . but it’s change. Just pick one little thing Catherine.

Famous athletes try different training techniques to break up their workouts, along with different ways of eating, and new ways of taking care of their bodies. They try one thing different to fine tune their quest. They understand that one small difference can change the way they feel, then the way they think — and before they know it, their 10,000 hours have passed and their dreams are coming true.

What one thing different can you do this week that will take you closer to completing your 10,000 hours?


Catherine HughesCatherine’s dream is to be a motivator and published writer. She is testing her theories on motivation with this blog and the seven other women who have volunteered to be a part of her dream project. Catherine also writes about her life as a mom at the blog A Week In The Life Of A Redhead. She would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck. Catherine posts on Monday mornings and fills in when needed.

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  • Heather Montgomery, CEO & serial entrepreneur

    I’m with you – 10,000 hours is a lot of time, so there’s got to be change along the way or we would be bored to death.

    Great post as always Cath – H

  • Andrea

    Love this! Thank you for sharing. Making tiny steps is actually way more important a huge than we often think! :)

    • Katie

      Thank you for reminding us of Gladwell’s “Rule of 10,000.” Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the to-do list for a dream, but these things take time. If you think about it, there’s only 8,700 hours in a year. We need to remind ourselves to not be so harsh on setting unrealistic dream expectations. If we want to do it (semi) right, factor in a few years.
      One thing each week, like you said, is my current focus.

      What small thing am I doing this week? Taking a video workshop ;)

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      Andrea, you are a wonderful addition to 8 Women Dream. xo Cath

  • Mariska Smith

    Nice Catherine!! You make me laugh aloud at my computer. I like this alot. This kind of writing is my fav from you. -M

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  • Why miss Shelly thank you.

    I think the New Year can send us sideways on our dreams – so much pressure out the gate to change so many things.

    I look at your life in the country in awe. I know there will be a day when I say, “I knew Shellie when . . ”

    Hugs, Cath

  • WOW! I really needed this one Catherine. This was expertly written and the important message conveyed, yet you didn’t advise me to do a specific thing outside of my own “me-ness” or personal dream.

    Your words and the whole feeling behind the sentiment make me think of my favorite song by the Counting Crows called, “A Murder of One.” The dominant word is “Change.” Although I love my life and am grateful for all that it offers, I find that my persuit of the Dream part has come to a halt. Now, thanks to you, I know why…

    Thank you for this post!


  • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

    Or snoring?

    Will do coach.


  • Remy G

    I’ve decided to not let my connection to photography happen in fits and starts. I can do one thing a day to move towards it. Make a call. Take a shot. Clean my stuff. its all the small unsexy stuff that works towards the big goals. Thank you for the reminder and KEEP relaxing. xox REm