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There has always been an appeal to the Academy Awards for me. To this day, I still envision myself holding that Oscar for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor (I am not picky), giving thanks to those who have helped me realize this goal. It’s not because I want to be a mega-huge superstar but because I enjoy acting, and I know I have the talent for it. I can’t sing, so there won’t be musicals in my future, but a good dramatic role that I could sink my teeth into is right up my alley. Who knows? Now that I have put this out into the world, someone might offer me a spot in their next major motion picture! (I won’t be waiting by the phone)

The truth is, many of us have unrealized dreams. Your dreams and hopes are special, even if they do not come to fruition. If the Oscar isn’t handed to me, my life is not a failure. I am grounded enough to know that there are more components to my life than one fantasy. While it would be fun, it won’t make me any more “something.” I am something now.

You are dealing with your own dreams. Are you “less than” because it hasn’t happened or happened yet? How are you defining yourself, and how are you defining success? The rub here is that our stability is oft influenced by visual reminders of what we don’t have. Spend any time on social media, and you will be convinced that your life is not where it ought to be. You aren’t as fabulous as the chiseled, fit bodies flexing on Instagram Stories. You aren’t as brilliant as those teaching LinkedIn Live webinars. You aren’t as “something” as what you see. The visual reminders can be debilitating.

Firstly, do you have the dreams you have because of the pressure from outside cues or is it because of your own internal motivations and desires? Authentic aspirations are exciting, motivating and captivating. That does not mean they are easy to achieve, but the motivations are genuine. Instead, if the aspirations are because of what you see, you may live too much in comparison. Unhealth can set in. Those pressured aspirations can set you up to fail.

Secondly, motivation towards your dreams isn’t about being preached to, but rather to be encouraged towards. There are those making a living by berating you into go-go-go mentality of achievement. Listen, I am all for some directed push. I can be lazy. I can grow tired, so I do need a few to remind me of the dreams I am working towards. Those relationships are dear to me. That’s a far cry from the half dozen podcasts you might be listening to where your existence is questioned at every turn. Those people should not serve to minimize or belittle you. If they rightly motivate, then stick with them. If you feel like a piece of crap after you listen, stop listening.

A final thought is that delayed is not denied. Today might be the day your dreams are actualized, but it might happen farther the road. Keep walking towards it. Again, it’s not a total failure if it never materializes, but you don’t know what might happen in the future. Resigning yourself to maintaining a “less than” frame of mind can lead to poor self-esteem and worth, even to mental health strains. You are still traveling along the road. You are not there yet. Keep walking.

In the past month, I have heard from at least a handful of people who are saddened by what’s not yet true of them. They are struggling to see the value in what they’re learning along the way. If this is you, use the sadness. It might jolt you into more focused activity towards those aspirations. The sadness might give you reason to review and to redefine, if necessary, those dreams you have. The sadness is a tool, not a state of being, in this perspective.

When I win that Academy Award, I will be thanking those who helped me to run after what I said I wanted to run after. I will feel satisfied with the accomplishment, and I should. However, the realized dream doesn’t mean I am done. There are other dreams to birth to fruition. I am an active being; so are you. And so are those you work with. We’re all running after it. It’s better to be a partner to as many as possible. Realizing this should influence your compassionate view of family, co-workers, even your boss! We all have dreams. What’s your dream?

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