HOW TO RUN?
Whenever I get the opportunity to share with groups about the themes and creative process for my Speedsuit Powers story, one question almost always arises: "Allen, how can I pursue my own dreams?"
Do you need help to run your dreams? We all have dreams - even if we haven't fully discovered them or are too afraid to share them. For many of us our dream seems so monumental we would rather sit on the couch "dreaming and wishing," instead of rising up and engaging in the pursuit of the dream. Believe me, I know. You have a reason (or several) for sitting on the couch. You may be afraid. You don't know where to start. Whatever your reason, keep reading.
RUNNING SPEEDSUIT POWERS...
Running is a major component of the Speedsuit Powers Trilogy. Not only is it something Curtis has always wanted to do as a kid (but couldn't do because of his asthma), but it also serves as a metaphor for life. All Curtis wants to do is "run his dreams," but in Book One, Treyshawn gets in the way. And in Book Two & Three, others get in the way. In fact, everyone major character in this Trilogy is trying to run their dreams, but encounters some type of internal/external opposition.
I used to minimize and downplay the fact that I am an author. One day a person emphatically replied, "Do you realize how many people dream of doing something but never do it? What you have accomplished is huge!" This person said I had "broken through the barriers" and was now on the other side of my dream... walking in it. So, I've taken the time to look back over my own journey in order to provide an answer to the question: "How can you pursue your own dreams?"
SEVEN STEPS TO RUN!
Below, you will find 7 STEPS you can take to pursue your own dreams. If you follow this blueprint, the likelihood of you reaching your dream will dramatically increase! Are you ready to go? So, what does it take to Run Your Dreams?
STEP ONE: Break your dream down into manageable chunks. Spend time thinking through all of the components of your dream. Research it. Find out what it requires: How much schooling? How much of a financial investment? Where are the best places to learn what you need to know? Who is already doing what you desire to do? Write down each aspect in as much detail as you can. Categorize it! Put a timeline to the achievement of each step. There's a process to achieving a dream and it starts with getting a good look at what you desire and breaking it down into manageable chunks.
STEP TWO: Realize no one can run your dreams but you. You can be inspired by someone else to think your dream is possible. You can be motivated by someone else to start pursuing your dream. You can be educated by someone else about how your dream works. But only YOU can Run Your Dream. You have to decide if you want to be a spectator or a participator in your dream! Do not expect any other person to do more for your dream than you are willing to do. For example: if you want to write a book, you can look at the blank pages all day, but the book will not write itself. You have to write it. People can help guide you and help open doors of opportunity for you, but you are the one who will have to run in the direction of your dream.
STEP THREE: Do the work. There's a reason why Nike's "Just Do It!" pushes so many people to take action in their lives. Sometimes we do more talking and dreaming than we do working. Talking and dreaming about the dream can help us stay focused and can provide us with some much needed accountability from others. But nothing replaces work. As much as you are waiting on Destiny, Destiny is waiting on you. God will do His part, but there is a part for you to do. Your part is to focus on developing the skills that are required to carry out the dream that lives within you and to be diligent in the work. Diligence means you are consistent in your work - even when you don't feel like it - because you have a goal you want to accomplish.
STEP FOUR: Use your opposition to make you better. YOU WILL ENCOUNTER OPPOSITION TO YOUR DREAM! It's just the way life works. People are going to get in the way of what you are trying to do. Situations and circumstances are going to get in your way. YOU are going to get in your way. (YOU meaning your fears, preconceived notions, ego, bad habits, pride, and biases). When you encounter opposition, do not allow it to make you bitter; determine to use it to make you better. Learn from opposition. What truth does it present? Sometimes your greatest criticism can be a doorway to your greatest opportunity. Don't get bitter... get better.
STEP FIVE: Build a team to help you move forward. No one - no matter how successful they are - is "self made." No one really pulls themselves up by their own bootstraps. Don't believe me? Just put on a pair of boots, lay on the floor and pull on the straps. It doesn't work. As the saying goes, "No man is an island unto himself." Now, we need to do the work. But at some point, we will need help from others. Find people you can trust, who believe in you and the direction you are trying to go; people who will tell you the truth and not just what you want to hear. Surround yourself with key people who work hard in their own endeavors and want to see you succeed in life. Get a mentor. Also realize as much as you receive from "your team," you have to give back as well.
STEP SIX: Stay away from DreamKillers! Now this is more about your internal disposition than it is about any external opposition you may face. There are plenty of people who had prime opportunities but failed miserably due to their negative internal disposition (stinkin' thinking). And there are also those who faced tremendous odds that would crush others, yet because of their internal fortitude and depth of character, they were able to endure and overcome adversity. So, stay away from DreamKillers. Sometimes they may be other people who are jealous or envious of the direction you are trying to go. Stay away from them at all cost because they will suck the life out of you! Meanwhile, be mindful of your own internal DreamKillers. Here's a short list: Laziness. Stupidity. Ignorance. Pessimism. Victim mentality. Fear/Anxiety/Doubt.
STEP SEVEN: Realize that "Delay is just another word for Preparation." You think you are ready. You've prepared (or so you think) and then the BIG OPPORTUNITY falls through or is pushed back. You become sad and discouraged because things are not happening according to your plans and timetable... When this happens, sadness and frustration is natural, but DON'T STAY IN THAT MINDSET! You have 5 minutes to sulk and then you've got to get right back to work before you get caught in a rut. You see, a delay can be a gift from God. Perhaps you are going in a direction you shouldn't be going and you need to tweak things a bit. Maybe you're moving too fast and are about to miss a critical element that's necessary for your success. Maybe you are not as ready as you think you are, and the "big opportunity" would swallow you whole and spit out your bones! When you encounter a Delay - regroup! This is the time to "dive deep" in your preparation (character building, skill-set development, communication skills, etc.) so when the right opportunity comes, you'll be ready. Remember, "Delay is just another word for Preparation."
If you put these SEVEN STEPS to work in your life, you will increase the likelihood of you reaching your dream destination. Even if you find yourself at a different endpoint, you will be further along than if you merely stayed on the couch of your life and daydreamed all day. So, grab your Mach-1 Speedsuit and start running! I can't wait to see how far you can go!
You can RUN YOUR DREAMS!
-Allen Paul Weaver III, Author - Speedsuit Powers Trilogy