Dreams Don’t Always Obey Your Plans

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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dreams that fail

When dreams take a left turn

People ask me all the time how they can become a motivational speaker – how I got to where I am today. And I scratch my head and wonder how to answer that question.  I didn’t really have a plan, and what little plan I had, didn’t go the way I planned. In most businesses, you know the path to take. Want to become a teacher? You get the degree. You fill out the application. You interview. But this business doesn’t work that way. Every speaker follows a different path and a different business model – each one as unique as that speaker. So it makes it hard to figure out how to make this business work. But today I don’t want to talk about how to make this business work. I want to talk about when it doesn’t. When the plan veers. When your dream doesn’t come true.  Here’s the cold hard truth:

Dreams don’t follow our plans. Ever.

It’s just the way it is. Accept it. Embrace it. Own it as part of the process. Doors you wish would open won’t. Doors that open get closed again.  And sometimes you can’t even find the damn door. But here’s the hope:

When one door closes, another one truly does open.

I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. Dreams rarely turn out the way you envision, but you still find yourself somewhere cool.  Sometimes you even find yourself someplace even better than you had imagined or planned.  I set out with goals I never reached, but I reached places I never even knew existed. So keep dreaming. Keep planning. Keep going.  And here’s your homework:

When an unexpected door opens – walk through it. You never know where it will lead. And often it’s somewhere really cool.

I didn’t map out every road I took. But now that I am here, I look back and see that every step worked into where I am today. No step was wasted. No lesson not applied.  I was given everything I needed, when I needed it. And not a second sooner. So keep up this faith:

Dreams don’t die. They just take a different shape.

Sometimes I wonder if we will get to the end of our days – to that somewhere over the rainbow – and get a chance to peek back at our life. And instead of seeing the things we didn’t get behind the closed doors, we’ll see all that we were protected from because the door was closed.