Some Straight Talk About Time And Your Big Dream

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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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Did you know that it takes more than 1,500 hours a year to climb to the top 10% and make your dreams come true?

It’s an extra 4 hours per day.

Read this again: an extra 4 hours per day.

But how many days will it take at that extra 4 hours a day? 2,500 days . . . give or take a day.

And number of years? An average of 7 years.

Time is the currency you pay for dream achievement. There is no other way. There are no overnight successes. Dream achievement comes after years spent practicing your craft passionately over and over until it’s second nature. For every dream, there is a price you must pay, in full and in advance, before that dream can come true.

Many dreamers don’t want to hear this.

They want their dream to come true the minute they decide on it. It’s like they want some sort of  McDream drive-through to magically appear so they can order up a perfect life in less time than it takes or order a coke.

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t work that way.

You have to pay your dues.

I was thinking this week about a conversation I had with a new blogger some years back who wanted to know how long it would take to become a well-known blogger. “At least 3 years if you blog every day … maybe longer,” was my response. Her eyes popped out of her head and rolled around on the table before she got mad at my answer.

I could tell by her stare that she thought the rules to getting a blog big enough to be found on the Internet didn’t apply to her, and if it did, she was determined to quit if it took THAT long.

I pointed out that the 3 years was going to pass by anyway, so why not spend it working her dream?

I could tell that she thought I was crazy choosing to be a blogger if I was going to have to blog for years to achieve any sort of success.  To her, the idea of instant publish meant the possibility of instant success and I couldn’t convince her otherwise.

You know, doctors don’t think this way. A doctor will tell you, “To become a doctor it takes about 12-15 years, including college. Add another 3-5 years to pay off your student loans.” They go ahead and enroll in college anyway.


That blogger would be at her 2-year point now if she had stuck with it and blogged everyday, but as you can probably guess, she gave up on it in less than six months. One might argue that she didn’t have the tremendous desire to overcome all that is needed in order to have a popular website, and this is probably true. But it’s still important to understand that success takes time … plane and simple.

The definition of self-discipline is, “Do what you should do when you should do it, whether you want to or not.”

And that’s the promise you must make to yourself when you decide you are going to make your dream come true. You must look at your face in the mirror and tell yourself that you will do what you should do when you are suppose to do it — whether you feel like it or not. You must resolve to do whatever it takes — that you will not quit — even if it takes 15 years.

Best-selling author Brian Tracy says, “To achieve something you have never achieved before, you must do something you have never done before. You must become someone you have never been before. Whatever you want, you will have to pay a price measured in terms of sacrifice, time, effort and personal discipline. Decide what it is and start paying that price today.”

Your ability to pay the price of time, in advance, and to continue paying it until you achieve your dream, is the right mindset of a successful dreamer. Without it, you should never begin working on your dream. It will just be a colossal waste of time.

Brian Tracy likes to share the story of Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University who studied the many factors that were thought to contribute to individual financial success over the course of a person’s lifetime. He found that there was one primary factor that took precedence over all the others.

He called it “time perspective.”

What Banfield found was that, the higher a person rises in any society, the longer is the time perspective or time horizon of that person.

People at the highest social and economic levels make decisions and sacrifices that may not pay off for many years, sometimes not even in their own lifetimes. “They plant trees under which they will never sit.”  (Brian Tracy The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success)

Time will pass whether you work on your dream or not, but think about how much richer your life could be if you spent just 2 hours a day on improving something in your life.

Imagine where your life would be in a year?

As this year rolls to an end, maybe we shouldn’t be thinking in terms of New Year’s resolutions but in terms of picking one thing we are willing to work on for two hours a day for the next year — rain or shine — good or bad — something we will do every single day until the year ends.

Imagine the stories we could tell…

Time just might surprise you in a good way.


Here’s Brian Tracy on Goal Setting —

  • Katie

    Thanks for this post, coach! I need to bookmark and print this one out.
    I agree and think it takes 10 years to be an expert at something–the rule of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. Bottom line: it takes TIME. A whole lotta time. Patience and persistence go a long way.

  • Well my first response is, “WHAHHHH!” But yea, I takes lots of time – and when I’m knee deep in all the crap, I just have to remember this post! Thank you! xox Rem

  • LOVE THIS POST CATH!!! Such wisdom. So true! so thankful that I found 8WD two years ago :) and haved watched the blog grow exponentially under your leadership… still growing <3

    love you so! what an inspiration you are! <3

  • TC

    You should also point out that no one ever makes it alone. you need to involve other people in your dream for you to be a success.