Dream Achievement Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

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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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It’s been an interesting two weeks in the land of dreams.

While it’s not impossible to achieve our dreams, the achievement part of dreaming is definitely not for the faint of heart. I tell people, “Don’t expect it to come easily; expect it to be hard.”

Having the right expectations at the start of our dream path makes the journey itself much easier. This way, we aren’t surprised by the roadblocks and lose heart when we encounter these obstacles along the way.

In this dream group experiment of mine, I have found that the biggest obstacle to our dreams so far have been ourselves.

We are the ones who get in the way of our greatest dreams. There is a quote I love, which is written in the front of my journal, “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains. And we never even know we have the key.”

Unless we accept full responsibility for the current state of our dreams, we’ll use excuses, blame others, and complain about our lack of achievement. None of these behaviors move us nearer to dream achievement. They only take us farther away from our dream, and they do so at a rapid pace. Whether we like our current dream situation or hate where we are in the process, we only have ourselves to thank.

When we come to terms with the fact that we created whatever dream experience we are having right now, we can then take responsibility for changing it. And the only way to make the needed changes is through our individual actions.

No one can walk the path for us, no matter how much we’d like them to.

Even when we are a part of a support group, we must still take our own steps to achieve our dreams.

In the past 17 months there have been dreamers who have questioned the value of being a part of a dream group.  Sometimes I think they expect the blog, and just the fact that they joined a dream group to automatically make their dream happen.

It can’t.  I can’t.

But we can support someone’s dream process, and we can connect a dreamer with an incredible opportunity, but we can’t walk through an open door for them.  They must do it themselves – on their own.

And, they must want their dream more than the air they breathe.

There’s a story that further illustrates what I am saying and it goes like this –

The Young Man Who Wanted Success

There was a young man who wanted great fame and fortune, so he went to visit the wise medicine man in the next village who was known to have the secret keys to success. Upon visiting the wise man, the young man says, “I want to know what you know about success. I want to be as wise as you. I want to be rich and successful.”

The wise man replies, “If you really want to know what I know about success, meet me on the beach at 4:00am tomorrow.”

The young man thinks to himself, The beach? The beach isn’t going to help me be a success. This is crazy. Maybe he isn’t such a wise man like people say.

The wise man notices the look on the young man’s face and presses, “If you really want to be rich and successful and know what I know, then you must meet me at the beach at 4:00am tomorrow morning.”

So the next day the young man shows up at the beach at 4:00am still wondering what this has to do with his dream of success. The wise man greets him and says, “Now just how much to you want this dream of yours?” The young man replies, “More than anything in the world.”

The wise man grabs the young man’s hand and leads him out into the water. He drops his hand when they are waist deep in water. The young man is thinks maybe this wise man isn’t so wise after all. What does standing waist deep in water have to do with being a success?

Just then the wise man says, “Come on, let’s go out further,” and he leads the young man out until the water is chest deep. The young man looks at the wise man like he is crazy.  Here they are standing chest deep in the ocean. The young man is starting to feel fear.

The wise man says, “Come on out just a little further.” The young man hesitates, but remembers how everyone says the wise man holds the keys to success, so he moves further out until the water is at his nose.

He begins to think about all the things that could be in the water, how difficult the waves are and how cold the water is.  Fear begins to take over his thoughts. He is about ready to swim back to shore when the wise man says, “Are you ready for the keys to success?” The young man hesitantly says, “Yes.”

The wise man suddenly grabs the young man by the top of his head and pushes him under the water. He holds him under the water while the young man begins to fight for his life. Fear and confusion overtake the young man.  All he can think about is getting his head out of water and taking a breath.

The wise man continues to hold the young man under water until he is about to pass out. At the point of black-out the wise man releases his grip, and lets the young man come out of the water. The young man is gasps for air.

The wise man asks, “When you were under water what was racing through your mind? What did you want more than anything – despite your fear?”

The young man answers, “Breathe. I just wanted to breathe.”

The wise man then says, “When you want your dream – your success – as bad as you wanted to breathe when I held you under water – despite your fear – despite everything – you will achieve success.”

The wise man continues, “But there’s a catch. You must think about your dream like you thought of breathing under water. You didn’t think about your parents, you didn’t think about food, you didn’t think about your neighbors. You were focused on one thing: breathing.”

The moral of the story is when you get to the point where you want your dream as bad as you want to breathe, regardless of how afraid you might be, then you will achieve it.

How badly do you want your dream?

Are you willing to step past your fear and comfort zone?

I am.

Just keep 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)


  • H

    Yeah, that getting our of our own way is highly over-rated ;-) I know we are in the land of The Dip (thank you Seth Godin) and it’s only a matter of time – as long as we don’t give up on our dreams.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    J- Yes I know you are here and thank you for always checking on me -C ;-) xo

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Thank you Remy. You are such a great help to me.

    Wet jeans are highly over-rated.

    I am enjoying the journey too, even though sometimes it exhausts the hell out of me.

    Thanks for your great comment.

  • Remy, the photographer

    “Be afraid, and do it anyway.” I like your story but it brings up ocean comfort zone issues for me which are always fun to reflect on.

    I almost drowned in the ocean once. I was 14 and traveling with my youth group to Monterrey. We stopped at the beach on a cold, stormy day. I was walking along a sand berm and it collapsed. I fell in right as the undertow was headed out. It pulled me down fast and all I could remember was how heavy I felt with all my clothes on, and how loud it was. I was panicking and I felt like I was spinning around. I heard a voice say “just wait till it’s quiet and stand up”. So I held my breath, waited for the noise to stop and stood up.

    I was about thigh high in the ocean looking back at my friends who had run down on to the beach, keeping me in their sights from the shore. They came in and got me at the expense of their dryness.

    I learned a few things – Respect the ocean, its a very powerful force and it doesn’t care if you know how to swim, it will take you if it wants to; When I’m filled with anxiety or fear, I stop and listen, the answer will always appear; Appreciate the value of friends who will never leave you no matter how much you are drowning; and, always pack a extra set of clothes so you don’t have to ride home in wet jeans. Chaffing sucks.

    Thanks for the inspiration every day, Cath. Every day I’m able to sort thru my list and I know my non negotiables. Being a part of this team has helped me in ways you will never know. Appreciation and love to you, Rem

  • J

    Nothing you do is easy, or for the faint of heart. I expect to see great things from you. I have never known anyone who tries harder to prove to the world that if we try hard enough, and stick with it, we can be anything we set our minds on. You know there are a bunch of us from your past secretly reading your every word, waiting for you to make it big, so that we can claim we know you when. I don’t think you ever quit anything. -J

  • Shirlee Guillory

    This is because the fear of success with their dream can be just as paralyzing as fear of failure. Many people fear success because it tests their limits and makes them vulnerable to new situations. Even worse, a successful outcome can expose weaknesses and force people to deal with their flaws. It’s nice to pretend to have a dream, but it sucks if people expect us to show up for that dream.

    Success with a dream is scary because it involves change. Success can be intimidating and hard to handle. With success comes more challenges and responsibilities – and that can be threatening to some people.

    Sometimes people fear success because they don’t know if they can live up to their achievements. They don’t think they’re good enough or smart enough. They’re afraid they don’t have what it takes to rise to the challenge, and they don’t know if they can sustain their success once they have achieved their dream.

    And that’s where self-sabotaging behavior comes in. It sounds like some of your dreamers were self-sabotaging their dream so as not to have to deal with the change needed to achieve the dream.

    Happens all the time. This is why there are so few millionaires compared to the rest of the world. Nice blog.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    lol I know. Every time I think of this story, I ask myself if I love the process that much. But I get the point that it is something we simply must do, it haunts us every day.

    Thank you sweetie! You are the best!

  • Veronica

    I really like to breathe. :-) And I want success. :-) Let’s do this together girlie. :-) I will hold you under, just joking.

    I am so blessed to be a part of 8 women dream.

    Have a wonderful day, you deserve it.