13 steps to follow your dreams

1. Have a Clear Vision of Where You're Headed

What is your dream life? What does it look like, feel like, and smell like? When you imagine yourself in the future, where are you, and what are you doing? What is it that you really want your life to be?

Having a clear vision is so vital! Don't be afraid to dream. Your dreams were planted inside of you for a reason! God has amazing things that He wants to do through you, and your dreams are an important part of His plans coming to pass on this earth!

Pray, and be honest with the Lord (and yourself!) about what you desire. If you dream of being a TV producer, or a ballerina, don't listen to the lie that says it's not "spiritual" enough. Doing what God has created
you to do, is going to make a huge impact. You don't have to be a missionary in Africa to totally change this world!

So write the vision, and lay it out before your eyes, so that you can see it every day! Make a vision board with inspirational pictures and words on Pinterest, in your journal, or even on a cute corkboard in your bedroom!

2. Establish Your Why

What is your why? Who is the unique group of people that you want to help? Do you want to influence the medical field, the arts and entertainment industry, moms with new babies, struggling teens, or orphans in India? Who do you feel like you're really supposed to focus on, and bring solutions to?

Sister, you are an ANSWER. There is a unique group of people that need your dream to come to pass! In the same way that Joseph’s dreams of becoming a ruler saved a whole nation from severe famine, your dreams are going to impact a people group in the same way! So who do you feel like you're called to reach? Get specific about it! Be able to explain what you're all about. Ask the Lord for a life verse, and write out your own mission statement! Know what your purpose is, and be laser focused on it.

3. Take Action Steps

Work toward your dream every day! Honestly, going after dreams requires some hard work and "stick-to-it-ness"! God will give you all the Manna that you need in life, but when it comes time to enter the Promised Land of your dreams and desires, you're going to have to stand up and fight for it. Don't let a day go by without taking another step toward your dream!

What is your action plan? If you dream of being a published author, then write every day! If you want to be a travel blogger, then get that blog started, Girly! Don't wait for the "perfect time" to start something. Seize the day! Your time is now!

4. Network with Dreamers

Network with people who have a similar dream! Sadly, a lot of people make the mistake of seeing people with similar goals and aspirations as their "competition." If you're a Christian blogger who dreams of having a ministry, writing books, and doing conferences...don't be intimidated by people who are doing the same thing as you! They are not your competition, but they could be your companions!

Remember Ruth? When she arrived in the field of Boaz, she stayed close to the women there. She didn't say, "Oh no! Look at all these beautiful women! I'm never going to get the attention of Boaz if I hang out with them! I’d better go to another field and do my own thing, so that I can stand out more!" That would have been very dangerous, and discouraging for Ruth to venture out all by herself.

Sister, you cannot afford to journey through this life on your own. Especially if you are a dreamer! So network with the dreamers. 
Connect with them, encourage one another, learn from one another. We are so much more powerful when we are united. Be committed to helping them succeed!

If you're an artist who’s been dreaming of getting a breakthrough record deal, but your friend gets it before you do...then rejoice with her! Celebrate the successes of those around you! Remember, this is an upside down Kingdom. Wash someone’s feet. Go low and serve someone else. Humility is royalty.

5. Say "So Long" to Jealousy

Nothing will kill your dreams faster than a spirit of jealousy. Stay clear of dream killers like un-forgiveness, strife, and comparison. God is doing a beautiful, unique work inside of your heart. Choosing to wallow around in jealousy and ungodly attitudes are only going to delay your Promised Land victory. So how do you overcome jealousy?

Sister, you have to remember that God is enough for you. He has an extremely unique plan for your life, and it's not going to look like anyone else’s around you. You have giftings that nobody else does! So when someone else 
gets promoted and appears to have "stolen" your dream, this is a huge opportunity for you to pass a test of character! How are you going to react? Do you believe that Jesus truly is enough for you?

Just because someone else is given an amazing opportunity that you've always dreamed about, doesn't mean that they "stole your spot" and God ran out of good gifts! That couldn't be further from the truth! Don't be like the jealous brother in the story of the Prodigal Son. The “good son” (who stayed home, was a wise steward, and didn't do anything wrong) was upset because his wayward brother (who totally didn't deserve it!) was having a HUGE party and celebration thrown in his honor. How unfair was that?!

But Dad told the "good son” who had a stinky attitude, "You are always with me, and everything I have is yours!" {Luke 15:31} When someone else is blessed, you have to remember that Dad has MORE than enough goodness to go around. Remember what you've been given. Everything He has is yours! It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom! So don't let your heart get caught up in this stumbling block.

Choose to rejoice and celebrate when someone gets what you want, because your blessing is coming, and this is a huge test to pass!

6. Use Social Media! 

If you're an aspiring writer, actress, YouTuber, or in any sort of profession where it is important to build up a following, than do just that! Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and a program to enroll email followers are a must. Connect with people on these platforms!

Again, connecting with people is so huge! You never know where a new connection will lead you. It may just open up a life-changing opportunity, or a life-changing friendship! We've connected with so many amazing friends on social media, and God has used this platform to open up a lot of doors for Crown of Beauty. No matter what your dreams are, connecting with people is a skill that we all need to learn how to do. 

7. Bloggers, Writers, and Anyone with a Web Presence...

Depending on what your dream is, there's a 99% chance that you should look into setting up your own blog or website. Why?

Because having a web presence opens you up to so many more opportunities. You can only connect with so many people in a day; at school, at church, at volley ball practice...but when you open up your own .com, you've just opened up doors to connect with the whole entire world. You never know when someone from Hong Kong, Sweden, or South Africa will stumble onto your website, and feel a stirring in their heart to connect with you!

(Check out our tips for starting your own website!) 

If you're an author, blogger, or business owner, you probably already have a website. So how can you grow your traffic? Again, the answer is: connect with others online! Network! Guest post on other blogs, join Facebook groups, and crash some link-up parties! Your website is like your calling card. So get it started, get it out there, continue to grow it, and you never know who will show up on your virtual doorstep! 

8. The Thing Nobody Likes to Talk About: Money 

How are you going to fund your dream? Coming up with a game plan for this is something to think about! Especially if your dream is to go into an area that is not financially self-sustainable, such as ministry or missions. Sure there are always bake sales, t-shirt selling, and other ways to fund-raise, but what if you could earn some residual income?

What is residual income? Basically, residual is doing something one time and then earning money from whatever it is that you built, for the rest of your life!

So think about doing the things that you only need to do once, then it's done. Such as writing a book and self-publishing with a program like Create Space (after it's on Amazon, sales continue but the work is done!)writing a song and selling it on iTunes, working on a TV show with a residual pay-check, or creating a niche blog or website (with Google ads, affiliate links, and other tools that will bring in daily income). Most people trade their time for money. But as God's people, we should be working smarter, not harder! We should use wisdom to leverage our time, and make sure that what we're spending our energy on right now, is going to be rewarding in the future as well!

9. Create a Calendar with Goals 

Time flies by SO quickly. We have to take advantage of each day we are given! You know what your why is, and what your action steps are. So now it's time to write out goals with deadlines on your calendar! Yes, I said deadline. The big D word!

Written goals are a great way to make sure you're always moving forward. And remember, goals are exactly that; goals.

If you miss a goal, don't beat yourself up! Just the fact that you tried your best to reach it, is amazing in and of itself! If your deadline arrives and you didn't make it, then just brush yourself off, and set a new deadline!

If you've never given yourself written goals before, try for one a month. Or even one every two months, depending on what kind of goal you are setting. And just think, even if it takes you a whole year to reach your written goal...you will be so much further along at the end of the year, than you would have been if you didn't have any goals at all! 

10. Remember Joseph

As dreamers, we can learn so much from Joseph’s journey. The favor of God was on his life, but his brothers hated him. They were jealous, and nobody believed in him. They rolled their eyes at his dreams. His dream was so glorious, so promising and full of hope! He would be a ruler someday, and touch the lives of a whole nation! But first he had to be sold into slavery, have his character attacked and falsely accused of a crime, sit in prison for two years, and be forgotten about until the appointed time.

What a life! Joseph’s journey had so many ups and downs. And so will yours. Why?

Because God is more concerned about your heart and how you react, respond, and relate with Him during those low times, than He is about that final destination! He wants your character to be greater than your calling! If you cannot steward the things that happen in life; like betrayal, heartbreak, false accusations, and time in "prison," then how well are you really going to steward your dreams when they come to pass?

God is all about your heart. So He puts you in all sorts of situations and "refining fire" moments. He gives you moments with applause and with no applause. Times when people love you, and when people hate you. Promotion, demotion, highs, lows, and so much more, to watch the secret movements of your heart. The refiner’s fire has a purpose. He is burning away everything evil, so that your heart will come out as pure gold! 

11. Learn From the Experts The key to being successful in anything is being a really good student! So learn. Soak in everything you can, from people who are doing well in the field that you want to be involved in! Google, read books, and do as much research as possible! Don't expect High School and College to teach you everything you need to know about where you are headed. You have to be really intentional about becoming an expert in the field that you're headed into...and the best way to do that is by becoming a disciple of the experts! Become their student, model them, interview them, hang out with them if you can, look for open internships and opportunities to get hands-on experience!

12. Keep the Fire Burning

Passion is like a flame. When you're first ignited with a dream, you don't feel anything expect overwhelming excitement and energy! But once you start to travel down the road and enter the Promised Land filled with giants, there are so many places that you're tempted to give up. Fear, burn out, lack of results, feeling like you're all alone...all of these enemies try to sneak in and steal your joy. But there is only one way to keep that flame of passion burning: Return to the One who placed that dream inside of you!

Jesus has eyes like blazing fire. He wants to see these dreams come true, even more than you do! He has just the words to say when you feel like giving up. Sister, it's important to know what inspires you. Do you feel strengthened when you read the Word of God out loud, and declare His promises over your life? Do you feel passion and excitement flicker inside of your soul when you belt out worship songs? And what about taking a break from your crazy schedule to decorate some cupcakes, or take your dog for a walk? Know what energizes you, such as singing and dancing around in your bedroom, or Skyping with your best friend!

Don't be a work-a-holic. Take time to breathe and enjoy life. Hop on your bike, take a dip in the ocean, or go play some tennis! Do the things that you love! Take care of yourself. Because if you're burned out, tired, exhausted and crabby...then what will you have to give? If you're not giving true, genuine love, then everything is meaningless. If you're not loving God, yourself, and the people around you, these dreams are so utterly pointless. Chasing your dreams is not a sprint, it's a marathon! So keep that flame of passion burning. Continue to gaze into the eyes of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your Faith, and the Burning Flame of Pure Love!

13. Never Ever (Ever!) Give Up

It is simple but true, you must determine to never give up! Even before you start, make the choice that you are going to be faithful to finish. It doesn't have to be perfect, and you don't even have to know everything about what you're doing. But you DO need to choose to never ever (ever) give up!

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