Will 2010 Be A Year Of Awesome Success For You

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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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My dream is to discover the different ways people motivate themselves to achieve their dreams and write about it.

To do this, I study the whys and hows of successful dream achievement.

Why do some of us make it – while others give up and quit?  What does it really take to achieve a dream?

Can we break it all down into steps?

I am compiling my findings into an ebook  to share with anyone who is interested, and will be placing it on 8 Women Dream.

A secondary dream of mine is to turn A Week In The Life of A Redhead into a book about the funny conversations we have with our kids.

My other big dream is intertwined with the 8 Women Dream ladies themselves by gaining attention for the group; turning the blog into a popular online woman’s movement and having the group be invited as guests of Ellen and/or Oprah.  This dream depends on the group to make happen.

Ultimately I hope this dream path of mine peaks with being invited to speak at TED about my experiences studying people as they dream, why they give up and what it is like being the person people sometimes resent for offering the opportunity to achieve their dream.

Beyond these larger dream goals, I have a myriad of little dreams common to many: get in shape, eat healthier, meditate, run a marathon, make more money, travel to Ireland, buy my dream home, successfully help my son get into the college of his choice and live a more adventurous life.

In my Sunday evening posts I write what I have found during the week about motivation, where to find inspiration, and what amazing obstacles have been overcome my people in their quest to live a more meaningful life.

Here are some of the things I have discovered about successful dream achievement so far –

1. Be clear about our dream and write it  down.
We must write our dreams down and keep them someplace where we see them every day. Lee Iacocca said, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” I have seen this at work with Heather. Once we place our goals up on a wall for all to see  – they miraculously get completed.

2.  Once our dream is identified and written down, create action steps to follow.
Identify a critical path down to the tiniest steps. Ask ourselves daily, “What is the one thing I can do today that will take me one step closer to my dream?”

3.  Be willing to take small steps toward our dreams.
Marcia Wieder says, “Willingness is essential in any initiation or in making an dream come true. I can’t often means I won’t. You can change I won’t to I will with will power.” We must be honest with ourselves and answer the question, Am I willing to to everything in my power to achieve this goal?

4.  Have a system to assess progress, or lack there of.
Here at 8 Women Dream we check in each week by writing about what we have completed, discovered, uncovered, procrastinated and felt towards our dream.  Without regular assessment we can’t tell when we have gone off course and are drifting away from the steps that take us closer to our dreams.  We acknowledge when we procrastinate, and when we are using excuses like: I’m too busy – the timing wasn’t right – it’s too difficult.

Mark Victor Hansen said, “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”

5. Have a clear understanding that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
In Seth Godin’s new book The Dip he points out that all projects of any kind (from weight loss to getting a promotion to launching a successful product) go through the dip. The dip is the time spent in the middle before successful goal achievement. It’s the work part.

It is the valley floor on the way to the mountain – the valley where obstacles and setbacks dwell.

Godin argues that setbacks can be overcome with persistence, but if we are not willing to persist, then he insists that we don’t even start the trip to the mountain in the first place: 

“If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start.”

Because we will always have to spend time on the valley floor.  There will be set-backs.  There will be obstacles.  It’s in the overcoming of these interferences that we gain momentum, confidence and skills we need to be successful at getting to the top of our mountain.  There is no getting around the dip, so accept it and continue anyway.

6. Remember to reward ourselves by celebrating small accomplished goals.
Even the accomplishment of a minor goal is cause for celebration. Stop thinking about all we still have to do towards our dream. Celebrate what we have done. Thomas J. Peters said, “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” This is why 8 Women Dream meets in person every 4 – 6 weeks.  We celebrate our progress over good food, wine, water and laughter.

I’ve learned that paying attention to these six dream guidelines listed above can make all the difference in the achievement of our dreams.

Do I think about the possibility of failure? No, I do not think terms of failure. I think of things as either working or not working. If something isn’t working then I am willing to look at how to change the circumstance and improve. Success is achieved by those who are willing to take risk and lose.

Often my biggest “not working” problem is lack of resources – not lack of trying.

I understand that I am better off knowing in my heart that I have given something by best effort. Quitting is just too easy and something we always regret.  “Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.”

Now where is that list of mine . . .

How about you?

Will this year be a year of awesome success for you?

Keep on dreaming –


(Catherine’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. Someday, she would also like to be invited to speak at TED as the next Erma Bombeck  Catherine usually writes the weekly motivation posts which are published late Sunday evenings for the following week)


  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Thank you both for your comments.

    I know Remy – Seth Godin kills me. I am grateful for him, Darren Rowse, and Brian Clark for their help in teaching me blogging and social media.

  • Great post Cath!!! And great tips… I think you conveyed it all well… Resonated completely with me.

    Love what Seth Godin says about “the Dip” and loved this quote from Mark Victor Hansen: “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”

    I do find for me that as you said there is “magic” in writing down my dreams – when I do they are somehow 1000 times more likely to happen! I commit to doing that this year again with ALL my dreams, no matter how big or small… and to be willing to be in action on them!

    I think what Remy said is true too – that self-defeating thoughts can get in the way of success… Important to change our thinking as well and to know that we are capable of creating amazing things in the world (we ALL are when we set our minds to it!).

    Thanks for the inspiration!


    Also love all that you said about YOUR dreams…

  • Kim, the traveler

    This is a great list to come back to now and then and get inspired. Thanks for your hard work!

  • Remy G

    I got it!

    But I also know you, and am one of your biggest fans, and we think alot alike. I like that you use Seth as an example because some of the best a-hahs I’ve ever read were within his blog and sometimes he writes 3 sentences. I leave with a sense of wanting to learn or do more…How does he do that?

    With all that being said, and with your incredible insights above, the thing that I feel is fundamental to any goal setting and change is the way we think. The Dip you describe has obstacles and issues and dark and icky things we have to face and eventually over come. Most of those are self imposed obstacles. Too hard, too much money, too extreme, too whatever…and we can literally talk ourselves back to unproductive thoughts…

    My big issue in the past was not making decisions until I felt ‘comfortable’. Risk adverse was hardly the word, that would be too kind. So I started changing my thinking. Asking things like “what if” versus sizing it up and deciding even before taking a step that it was impossible. Its still hard, it’s still challenging, it’s still alot of things – but Im willing to honor that fear, move it aside and try anyway. The simple idea of “mistakes are a part of learning” is so easy to say and so difficult to embrace and actually act on.

    But what if mistakes were necessary for success? That the more mistakes I make, the more I information I get, the more I learn, the faster I reach my goals?

    If that’s true, then why am I still sitting here staring out the window, not trying to taking action?

    Ah, Mondays!

    Thank you for an amazing post!

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Do you ever work you friggin butt of on writing a post and then wonder if it conveys the message you are trying to say? People have no idea how hard some weeks are to write on a blog.

    Even when you love to write.

    That being said, sometimes I can’t help but think about something Stephen King wrote, “Remove every extraneous word. You want to get up on a soapbox and preach? Fine. Get one and try your local park. You want to write for money? Get to the point. And if you remove all the excess garbage and discover you can’t find the point, tear up what you wrote and start all over again . . . or try something new.”

    Yeiks – it leaves me thinking cut more, say less. Did I even clearly make the point of what I’ve learned studying motivation?