I had a lot of time this week to think and contemplate … I drove to Savannah, GA and back twice – to drop off my son at a summer seminar and then to pick him back up. It’s a wonderful eight-hour drive through the beautiful Tennessee hills and Georgia’s freeways lined with trees lush after the spring rains and decorated with Spanish moss.
 
And if you time it right (which I never do), you might even breeze through Atlanta and not get caught up in traffic.
 
On my way, I listened to a book that I read as a teenager – right before I had my big ‘encounter with God.’ This book was my first spiritual guide, and it provided me with confidence and strength to discern the path ahead of me. It’s a book about pursuing one’s dream by following one’s heart – and learning to listen to God’s guidance in the stillness of the heart.
 
The story took me back to where I began – as a four-year-old child having clarity about a dream I felt was put into my heart: to tell stories through music and move hearts (and make our world a little bit of a better place.) In the long hours of my drive, I reflected on my journey so far.
 
When I came home, a memory from seven years ago popped up on my Facebook feed. It was of a show I performed in Florida with Stanley Yerlow (who is an amazing pianist and entertainer, who for many years worked side by side with Regis Philbin).
 
Seven years ago, I was in a very difficult place emotionally and mentally. It took all of my strength to put that show together and stay true to my heart.
 
I sat down and thought, why didn’t I ever give up? What has kept me going through some incredibly challenging times over the years – when I was depressed, when anxiety and panic attacks felt paralyzing, when my marriage was falling apart, and, finally, through my husband’s illness and passing?
 
What was it that helped me stay true to that childhood dream of mine – which I grew to believe was not only a dream but also my calling and vocation?
 
I quieted my mind and allowed God to remind me of the answers.
 
What came to me were 10 things, which I then posted on Facebook, read to my sons, and, now, offer to anyone looking for ‘the secrets to making your dreams come true.’
 
So here they are (the wisdom is not mine, it was only revealed to me through experience and contemplation):
  1. Persistence. Persistence. Persistence.
  2. Faith and 100% confidence that what you are after is not just a self-serving goal, but something that you believe wholeheartedly will benefit another human (or millions).
  3. Discipline to get up when you fail.
  4. Having at least one soul beside you who will confirm to you that the world truly needs your dream to come true.
  5. Creativity to see your dream in different forms. And find ways to adapt.
  6. Openness to recognize paths that might not look like direct paths to the realization of your dream, or look like a path that YOU had in mind
  7. Wisdom and mindfulness to help you discern when a path is simply a wrong one for you.
  8. Humbleness to never forget that the fulfilment of your dream is not so you can be a winner and feel great about yourself, but that by following your dream you might have a chance to touch someone else’s life and help THEM realize theirs.
  9. Willingness to show up ready to move mountains AND also the willingness to often sit still in sweet surrender (not grumpy surrender) in which you allow God (your higher power) to lift you up and carry you over the unmovable mountain.
  10. Love and Gratitude to be your fuel and your guide.
 
That’s it! (In my original post I also listed ‘Persistence’ after every two listed points. Without it, it’s a lot simpler to give up.)

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