Following Your Dreams Is Hard Fucking Work

If no one else is going to say it, I will. Following your dreams is hard fucking work.

As an entrepreneurship-obsessed twenty something, I’ve read a lot about quitting your job and traveling the world or starting a million dollar business before you’re 30. I own every Tim Ferris book and surely should have mastered the 4-hour workweek by now. I paid off my car, got rid of all my furniture, and started an online business. I bought a shiny new macbook and had big visions of blogging my afternoons away from a sunshiny villa, sipping on a coconut and sending my family post cards from Costa Rica.

Fast forward to present day. I live exactly two and a half miles from the beach. My apartment is pretty damn villa-like and I’ve got a clear view of tropical paradise from my desk, where I sit here blogging in yoga shorts, sometimes in no shorts, feeling tremendously blessed.

But.

Here’s what they don’t tell you, and should. When I launched this website less than a year ago, it had been four grueling years in the making. I cried rivers over my keyboard trying to learn WordPress so I could have a platform to build my brand from. I hired consultants, designers, friends and coaches. I bought all the books, subscribed to all the magazines, listened to all the podcasts. I wrote a business plan, had a content plan, laid out an editorial calendar, made an epic vision board, meditated, wrote intentions and shouted my dreams to the universe.

Then somewhere along the way, I got stuck. I changed my mind. I overanalyzed. Doubts surged. I got in my own way. Distraction hit. I stumbled off my path. My confidence dwindled. I burned out.

I studied an income report published my one of my favorite bloggers. It outlined how she made $10,000+ in a month. “Sweet!” I thought to myself. “Let’s do this.” My first six months with a formal website up, I made like $4. Not quite the success story I’d imagined. I thought maybe I had failed. Maybe I wasn’t doing it right. Maybe my dream sucked. Maybe I wasn’t ready.

Why wasn’t I making $10,000 a month? Why wasn’t my audience growing faster? Why were all these teeny bopper YouTubers writing books and getting to be on Ellen when I could barely manage to pay rent? Why didn’t anyone tell me that the struggle wasn’t glamorous and that being desperately unsuccessful is clearly a prerequisite to becoming successful?

Why didn’t anyone tell me that following your dreams is really fucking hard. That you’re constantly going to question yourself. That at times you’ll feel devastatingly alone, inescapably doomed, and painfully unworthy.

Louis C.K. mentioned in an interview that there is no such thing as overnight success. He talked about how comedians spend decades in dingy clubs until one day, twenty years later they arise from the shadows and step onto the big stage. People create the assumption that their fame popped up out of thin air, when in reality they had been hustling like crazy, day after day, year after year to make a living doing what they love.

What I’m here to tell you is this. Dream chasing is hard, y’all. Kudos to the mega success stories for keeping us inspired, but before the success? Failure, fear and doubt. Some days no one will have your back. No one will buy your products, show up to your event or tell you that you’re good enough. You’re gonna fuck up, get stuck, and start over. Over and over and over again.

The good news is, you are good enough, and with a little grit and a whole lotta guts, you’ll remember why you set foot on the most terrifying, heart testing, incredibly transformative journey of your life: dreams do come true.

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