If we think back, many of us had big dreams early in life. I think young women are the best dreamers in the world! When we’re young it’s a time of limitless dreams and possibilities. Want to be a firefighter and a ballerina? Done. Want to be a mermaid who flies through the water? No problem.

Whether our dreams were big or small, as life started to happen, many of us (me included) put some of our dreams on a shelf. Your dreams are still living somewhere in your mind but you don’t think about them and you definitely aren’t doing anything to make them a reality. You haven’t given up on them entirely, but you put them away to protect your heart.

The Secret Behind Shelving Your Dreams

Putting our dreams on a shelf works for us because our shelves hold onto items that we aren’t using right now, but that we aren’t ready to part with. Pick a shelf in any room in your house (maybe the bathroom) and think about what’s on it. You may pull items off that shelf from time to time to use them, but then you put the items right back. You’re confident they will be there on the shelf when you want them, so it’s a little out of sight, out of mind.

Compare this to the items that are on your desk or work station. These are the items you use often throughout the day. It wouldn’t make sense to put your every day items on a shelf because you need them too much. You wouldn’t dare think about ‘storing’ them.

Your Dreams Hate Being on The Shelf

That language is harsh, but it’s true. Your dreams hate being put on a shelf. And your dreams don’t care about the reasons you had for shelving them. They do not want to be there. And these sassy dreams believe that your ‘reasons’ are really just excuses.

How Do You Know if Your Reasons are Really Excuses

Excuses can be tricky, and they often masquerade as reasons so you just can’t trust them. Excuses keep you trapped and living in a way that is much less successful than you could be and definitely much unhappier. The truth about excuses is that they’re limiting beliefs that keep you stuck where you don’t want to be in life. If you want to pursue your dreams and goals, you have to stop using excuses. Here are 4 common reasons that are really excuses:

Excuse #1

The number one reason that women give for not pursing their dreams that is REALLY an excuse is… that they’re too busy to do what needs to be done to make life-altering changes.

They look at their lives and think about everything they’re responsible for and decide that there’s just not enough time to pursue what they really want. To get over this, you have to look at time as a commodity – like dollars.

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You spend your money on things you want to have, not on things you don’t want. (If you do, that’s a different movie, hit the contact page and holler at me.) You can look at time the same way. You can and do find time for the things you truly want to do. It’s just a matter of choosing what’s important.

Look at all the women you know who are where you want to be in their careers. They didn’t have a magic wand that gave them more hours in the day and yet, they made their career moves happen. They reached their goals, and you can too.

Excuse #2

Another excuse that women use for not creating the life they truly desire that they don’t have enough money.  There are hundreds of people who succeeded in reaching their dreams when they were flat broke.

Look up successful businesswomen who started out poor – or people who didn’t even have a home but they had goals and now they’re living their dreams. The woman who relentlessly pursues what she wants will achieve it. Focus is soooo important.

The key is making a decision not to allow anything to hold you back, regardless of what that anything is.

Excuse #3

Some of us use the excuse that we just don’t know enough about what we want to do to pursue our dreams and goals. Deep down we’re afraid that we will fail because we don’t believe in ourselves. What would you say if I told you that you MUST go after your dreams – even if you don’t know everything you need to know at the beginning.

Take a leap of faith. You learn to swim while you’re in the water, not on dry land.

Excuse #4

Maybe the excuse that you’re focusing on is that you’re too old or too settled in life to chase your dreams. To be clear, you think it’s too late. Really, girl?

As long as you’re still here, it’s never too late. Time is going to pass anyway, why not do what you really want to do? Remember how you googled people who had humble beginnings when we talked about Excuse #3? Now look up the stories of people who started businesses or became wildly successful in their 50s or 60s. There are even people who run marathons in their 90s.

And while we’re talking about age, don’t let age limit you whether you think you’re too old or too young. If you are tackling your dreams when you’re young, you don’t need to have all the knowledge that an older person has, or their experiences. You just need a dream.

Women of all ages have created lives they love because they passionately followed their dreams.

You’re no different than anyone else–except you haven’t taken a step forward to start going after what you want. Stop holding yourself back. Don’t let you be the one who robs you of the life you’ve always wanted to have.

How Long Have Your Dreams Been on the Shelf?

Now that we looked at how your reasons are really excuses, think about how much time has passed since you put those dreams on hold? Months? Years? Have you taken ANY steps toward making your dreams come to life? If you’re like most women, the answer to that last question is probably no.

Once dreams go on a shelf, they have a tendency to sit there quietly, never trying to get your attention. Abandoned dreams are the saddest dreams in the world.

They’re the ‘I almost’ and the ‘what if I had’ thoughts that have been patiently waiting for you to breathe on them so they can make you wildly successful and happier than you’ve imagined. These shelved dreams have the ability to change your life – but not if you stay stuck.

Ready to Stop Making Excuses

Your dreams are too important to be put on a shelf. If a limiting belief about your education or training is holding you back, get started with what you know now and keep learning as you go. Act as-if you have permission to get started without knowing EVERYTHING in advance.

Take the first step in faith

Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Go for it – even if you don’t have the money. Figure out how much money you need and find a way to get it. Sell something. Borrow it. Give something up. Ask for help. Your dreams are worth the risks you have to take.

Your dreams are worth whatever you have to give up and whatever you have to do to get started. Dreams end up on a shelf because women tend to put aside what they want and what they need for the needs of others.

You have been telling yourself that you’ll get to your dreams ‘someday’ and yet you haven’t. That’s because someday isn’t on any calendar. Your dreams are just as important as the needs of other people – whether those people are your friends, family, or coworkers.

Be prepared to punch fear in the throat

Make the decision today that you are taking your dream off that shelf and you’re not stopping until you see it come to life. Sure, you might experience some fear – but that’s to be expected. Punch that fear in the throat and move.

The thing about fear is that it grows through inaction. We fear what “might” happen. When you start taking action and take your dreams off the shelf, fear turns into courage and courage into determination.

Need help dusting off your dreams? Ready to stop making excuses? Working with a coach can help you shorten the ramp to take-off. Get on a 15-minute quick call with me and we can talk about your desire to make changes and how I might be able to help you with your goals.

Allegra Sinclair

Allegra Sinclair is a professional coach and confidence expert. She hates to see women living small and loves to help them change how they show up in the world.

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