Is Worry a Part of Dream Success?

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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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Is Worry a Part of Dream Success: Don't worry be happy Cover

As 8 Women Dream becomes a top blog my worries intensify.

I’ve worried all week. As the 8WD visitors easily tipped over 25,000 a month, I worried what it’s going to be like when the figure hits 50,000, then 100,000, then 250,000. I’ve seen this coming, but the realization that it was happening kept me from falling asleep.

I worried about everything each night – down to noticing my house was short on toilet paper. It’s like I’m the headliner for Worryfest 2011 and my bed is my stage. Funny, I don’t remember signing up to be the headliner.

This week I fretted most about the content on 8 Women Dream.

Is the writing compelling enough? Are we clear? Are we engaging? Should I move that? Add this? Delete that? Should I have said more, moved the photo, or changed the title? Am I being clear? Am I saying too much? Does it even matter? Will our visitors stay longer? Will search engines find this? Should I write that?

I get that our dreams (and the writing about them) are far less important than our ability to fulfill our 8WD visitors needs. This is the thought that kept me awake in the middle of the night.

Visitors can be like that perfect middle-of-the-nigh-crying-6-week-old baby that you’ve bathed, fed, diapered and cuddled – yet they still cry. There is no way to understand what the baby is crying for, so you try everything from stripping them naked, to changing their clothes, to putting them on the dryer in their favorite carrier and turning it on — hoping on a wing and a prayer that the movement will lull them to sleep — why they look at you with those big teary eyes begging you to solve their problem.

You stand there hopelessly lost.

That’s what it’s like when you are a blog owner trying to figure out if you are adding value to your visitors’ lives. I want to add value to the Internet conversation. I want people to understand that dreaming big dreams is possible for anyone, even if it drives them to obsess about the amount of toilet paper in their house.

Why I chose to focus on the content is anyone’s guess. We have amazing writers on this blog, and the middle-of-the-night thinking about the content gave me writers block.

Maybe part of this worry comes from the fact that I have, for the first time since college, the opportunity to get paid for writing – in many areas of my life. There’s a web development company selling my content copy-writing abilities and Internet marketing expertise, while this blog is climbing the charts. Clients are slowly crawling out of the woodwork, as if some cosmic plan is unfolding right before my eyes.

I guess we could say my dreams are coming true.

So why is it that I am in a constant state of code-worry?

Dave Navarro, a popular product launch coach and internet marketing consultant, states the following about worry (which is really fear) and success –

All your mentors are really, really screwed up. And they are, just like we are. They have baggage just like we do. Naomi Dunford of Ittybiz admitted it perfectly in What To Do When You’re Scared Sh*tless. She freaks out, just like I do, just like you do, just like every single one of your heroes and mentors do.

Successful people (who I define as action takers, not rich people) experience worry, terror, and what I often refer to as “pants-wetting fear.” Sometimes we are absolutely, positively sick to our stomachs with stress before we click “Send” on that email or “Publish” on that blog post.

But the thing is, we actually follow through and click “Send.” We click “Publish.” And that’s what puts food on the table.

Sometimes, the results are amazing. Other times, (and to be honest, often times) the results are disappointing or even embarrassing.

But we do it anyway. And that’s why we (I’m including you in this “we”, by the way) — that’s why we have what we have. Not because we haven’t failed, but because we took action.

Oh look Mom, I’m normal.

The best cure for worry is to expose the fear – bring it out into the open to see the light of day.

I worry that the money I need won’t come together fast enough to prevent me from living in a tent with my son. I worry that the situation I have been living in to make 8 Women Dream possible will never change. I worry that I am not giving enough to my son. I worry that I will die before 8 Women Dream gets a TV interview. I worry that I am not capable of being the publisher of my dreams (I have an online publishing empire in my head). I worry that there’s this funny sound coming from my vehicle that I need to ignore for just a while longer.


The trick when we are doing this is to ask ourselves if these statements are true. Once you’ve explored whether the statement is really true, then ask yourself if the opposite could be true. For example, deep in my heart I know that Brian and I will never live in a tent, and the opposite scenario could be that I make so much money that we move into a new place.

Which is the better vision to hold for my son and me? One is definitely more likely than the other, so why do this crazy dance in my head? Why listen to the crazy worry?

Once I’ve placed worry in this context it usually subsides, but this week it was persistent.

So I tried other ideas for beating back worry –

  • I hiked 6 miles.
  • I meditated twice a day – once in the morning and at night before falling asleep.
  • I began reading a great book on Internet marketing.
  • I decided to blog about my worries.

And when all this fails, then there’s always Bobby –

Did I buy toilet paper?



  • Jess

    If I had my life to live over, I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I’d have fewer imaginary ones …

  • Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson

    If my experience is any indication, the night sweats and doubts are completely normal. I had a stable job in the family business and I side-lined as a storyteller before becoming a full-time speaker six years ago. And yes, I still wake up in the middle of the night. My worries aren’t the same worries that you have. I’ve gotten past the concerns that my audiences won’t like what I do (although I went through that for years). My concerns come when I look at empty months in my calendar in a down economy, and in an environment where I get bookings as close as two weeks from date of the event. Nerve wracking.

    I calm down when I realize that, despite the economy and watching my friends struggle, my business has grown every year. Take a deep breath. The fact that you worry shows you care. As you and your business grow, I think you’ll find that the worrying will decrease.

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      Kelly thank you for such great advice. I imagine your dream is not easy because I bet it includes travel away from your family. Since joining Toastmasters I have a new-found, deep respect for public speakers. Thank you for your comment and wisdom.


      • Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson


        Yes, there is some travel when my family doesn’t accompany me. I haven’t reached the point in my business where I can afford to have my family accompany me on trips that involve air travel (or the “diva power” to get clients to pay). Mostly, however, we travel together. Since the majority of my business is still within driving distance we go as a family. My husband works in the business – creating websites, managing several blogs, editing video clips, pushing me to get involved with other blogs ;-) …

        We also home-school our six year old, so he can travel with us as well. While it’s tough to juggle the business and home-schooling, we are hoping that in the end our son will be able to look back on a unique and exciting childhood.

        Thanks for sharing your fears. The world is changing. No longer is admitting a fear something that will hurt your business, but something that makes you human and makes you someone that others feel comfortable connecting with. The way you expressed your fears in your post is the very reason that you don’t have to worry. Your readers come back to your blog because of the very personal connection that they have with you through your writing. I think that everyone putting their heart and soul into building a business experiences the 4 AM doubts and demons until the business gets sufficient momentum. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

        • Wow, how lucky were we to pick you up as a reader? I explored your website, and you are certainly an inspiration. I couldn’t find a blog – I think you’d be great at it . . . hint. Hint.


          • Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson


            Thank you for the kind words. Actually, I do have a blog Oops. I had a link in the sidebar, but I must have removed it by mistake. My husband says he has to “hard code” it into the top navigation. Maybe he can fit in a couple of other website honey-do’s as well.

            I’m open to do guest posts. Let me know if you’re interested.

  • Katie Eigel, Travel & Wellness coach

    I love your honesty. I think I’m lined up to play on a side stage for Worryfest 2011!

    I look up to you because you in the face of your fears, you continue to hit publish anyway, and guess what happens, you populate the Web with amazing content.

    Next time you worry, think that worrying is nothing more than praying for what you don’t want to happen. Then after you breathe, follow Bobby’s advice to just be happy :)

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      Ha! And I am so amazed by you – lol – and I’ll get you there. Sometimes I think we need to say what is happening in our lives so that other women understand that we are all very much the same and if this can move one of them to take a small step towards their dream then I am thrilled. I like this, “think that worrying is nothing more than praying for what you don’t want to happen” Great advice.


  • Mariska

    I worry when there isn’t a set routine to my life. I like things to be the same, which is crazy, but I do, and I don’t do very well when my routines get interrupted. I’m terrible at the beginning of a serious relationship because of the change it brings and my reluctance to go along with it. I worry the first few months at a job because everything is different! I’ve been driving the same car for 8 years and I love getting in it knowing everything will be as it was yesterday. I don’t worry about toilet paper, but I worry about my pets all the time!! You are not alone!!! -M

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      But I do like change, especially change that comes with travel. Your statement about routine is interesting — maybe that’s what i need to set up for myself. Maybe that is where some of my fear is coming from? Hmmmmmm I’ll have to think about that. Thanks for your comment.


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  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    In my first year at Emyth Worldwide, I had the rep of being the coach who would barf before really challenging client calls. (after a while I would schedule those first to get them out of the way). I felt like such an impostor! I’m absolutely convinced that there are a few who would have been better off NOT working with me. But I had nowhere to go but on the phone with them and not calling was not an option. What I began to realize is that they were just people too, just like me, and once the expectation to know everything was put away, we could just talk about what was important…the client and their business and making sure we did everything possible to get them the “more life” they were craving. And I always forgot the TP. xox Rem

    • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

      Well I’m not barfing yet, but that could have its weight-loss benefits! ;-) C