“When you really want something, the world conspires to make a dream come true.” – The Alchemist
Have you ever been told that you’re not good enough?
I remember the exact moment I was told I would never be able to write anything solid. It came a few days after I had poured an impressive amount of time and effort into a high school English paper. Sure, it wasn’t going to win a Pulitzer Prize, but it was one of my strongest papers to date. And it was particularly meaningful because writing did not come easy to me.
I am dyslexic, though at the time schools did not recognize and understand dyslexia. Instead, teachers opined about my laziness and lack of focus. We have come a long way since those days.
To be truthful…… I was a pretty lazy student. Fortunately—or unfortunately—I could muster up decent grades despite investing proper time and attention to studying and prepping. What’s more, since I had perfected the art of sight-reading to overcome my dyslexia, I could get by without proper accommodations.
But for some reason this 40-plus research paper on Tsunamis was the one I felt compelled to tackle more purposefully. This was the one that I would painstakingly edit, and re-edit, repeatedly until I could convey my thoughts clearly, concisely and accurately. This was the paper that would not fall victim to incomplete thoughts, inverted words, and misspellings. It was good. My strongest ever.
When the graded paper was returned, it had a big red zero on the first page and no other marks. A ZERO!
When I asked about the grade, my teacher said, “You would never in your life be able to write such a solid paper.” In essence, she was accusing me of plagiarism. Can you believe it?! In front of administrators and educators, I successfully defended my work by bringing in every book and research paper used to complete the assignment. It was at that exact moment that I resolved that I would one day write something and have it published… simply because I had been told the word “never.”
To date, I have written and published more than 150 blogs filled with more than 150,000 words for others to consume, critique and celebrate. I’ve been accepted into prestigious publishing communities like the IDG Contributor Network and BTOES Insights. I’ve even written long-form content in the form of short books, essays and white papers. Recently, one of my essays was published in the book “What Would Henry Do?”, and you know what—I LOVE writing.
It doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with dyslexia. As anyone with dyslexia will tell you, it is a severe and debilitating challenge that you never outgrow; you just figure out how to not have it control you. It still creates all kinds of daily obstacles. For instance, if you leave me a voicemail with your telephone number, I struggle to get the numbers down in the correct order. When I do write, it takes me two to three times longer than the average person. Simple emails and handwritten notes are challenging. I cannot always guarantee I won’t miss a letter here or there (even spell check can’t catch dyslexia). But I keep writing.
I write because I made a promise to my 15-year-old-self to achieve the seemingly impossible—to become published—and since then I’ve never lost sight of that dream. What’s more, I use that dream as a constant reminder that when someone tells you can’t do something—or worse, you tell yourself you can’t—you must embrace the challenge and persevere. Intentionally decide to impress yourself.
In the business world, we are faced with what appear to be “impossible” hurdles every day—whether that’s being asked to speak publicly for the first time, starting your own business venture or suddenly changing careers. But if you dare to dream and set high expectations with intended outcomes, you start to explore a world of limitless possibilities.
Because I love it, I often reference Paulo Coelho’s quote from The Alchemist: “When you really want something, the world conspires to make a dream come true.” When you look at life in general, we all have plans and things we want to accomplish, but many times we keep them closely guarded. We are afraid to put these sentiments out there due to fear of failure. But my fundamental belief is that we must share our dream because the moment we do, we carve it in stone and then the world listens and starts to conspire with us.
We can make the impossible ordinary by facing our fears and fighting for your dreams. Sure, it takes courage to expose our hopes to possible cynicism and skepticism, but you will be surprised at how positive forces do in fact rush forward to help you fulfill your promise.
So today, never let your fears, inhibitions or others define you—chase your dreams. But more importantly, write them down, share them and express them out loud. Announce your dreams to world and witness how things start to happen.