I’m not usually an emotional person, but on the 28th of December 2014 (the day after the very first Dream Nation Gala) I found myself sitting looking at the floor with tears running down my cheek. 2014 had been one of my toughest years, but it taught me a lot of important lessons. I wrote this so you can learn without having to experience it for yourself, as well as an opportunity to get some things off my chest.
The days leading up to that moment was extremely difficult, and to be honest I’m only just mentally and emotionally getting back onto my feet. Which is why I’d like to take a moment to apologise to everyone still waiting for an email, phone or text from me. I just wasn’t in the right place, and I hope after reading this you’ll understand why.
At around 9:30pm on the last Sunday of the year I watched as my grandmother took her last breath. It was a moment we knew was coming, but it didn’t make things any easier. She had been sick for the last few weeks, and the doctors had informed us that it was her time. In fact, she defied all of their expectation and made it to Christmas and then even hanged in long enough for me to see her again after my big event.
In the days that followed, I knew I had a lot of work to do for Dream Nation, this included wrapping up our last event properly and preparing for 2015. However experiences throughout 2014 & 2013 have finally taught me important life lessons. Which is what I would like to share with you here.
1. Don’t Neglect To Grow Your Character
A few months ago I sat down to have a few drinks for the first time with Paul, who had agreed to become one of my mentors. I was nervous because unlike all my other mentors Paul wasn’t interested in the progress Dream Nation has been making. Instead he had been assigned to mentor me as a part of a course I’m taking at my church designed to help me grow both in my faith and in my character. Seeing as the meeting had started 30 minutes late because I had just arrived, I knew he would have a lot to say. I was right, but he spoke with sincerity and care.
I walked away from that meeting understanding that, yes I can get away with giving my business the best of me and everyone else the rest, but that’s not how I want to live my life. Since that day I’ve come a really long way and I have had a lot of mostly private victories, but hopefully soon the fruits will be obvious.
2. Be Vulnerable
We live in a society that views vulnerability as a weakness. The truth is that we are all vulnerable anyway, but it takes so much more strength to embrace and address those vulnerabilities. If we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable we reject the opportunity to grow.
But how can you turn vulnerability into a strength?
- Find the people you trust
- Be HONEST with them, e.g. don’t try to spin the truth
- Listen to what they have to say
- Work out a plan on how to improve
- Continue to be honest with those people so they can keep you accountable
3. Good Intentions Are Meaningless
I can confidently say my heart is (normally) in the right place. Everything I do with Dream Nation comes down to the fact that I want to see people progress. I believe that most people understand that about me. However, all of this is meaningless if my actions never reflect this.
As humans, we can’t see each other’s hearts or hear each other’s thoughts. So if our behaviour doesn’t show it, people will never know how we feel. Actions like simply replying to a text message, being the first to call or even just being on time to a meeting can go a long way. I’ve found the people around me have really been patient with me… but thats not an excuse to take them for granted! By me not taking the time to demonstrate my love for them, my actions were saying that they aren’t as important to me as my dream. I’m working to change this, and I’ve seen big changes in my relationships.
4. Understand Your Value
I’ve noticed a common theme in the Dream Nation community and after doing some soul searching with some individuals, I uncovered a powerful yet sad truth. It seems as if part of what drives many of us is the idea that we are only as valuable as our accomplishments, skills, popularity, paychecks or possessions.
I understand where the mentality comes from, its one of the darkest sides of capitalism. Allowing this mindset to become the norm is in the best interest of a lot of companies so you can be tempted to spend or to stay in that job that you actually hate. I also understand how easy it is for people to believe this, because I did too not so long ago.
Not valuing yourself will mean that you become a slave to your ambition and the expectations to others. It means you won’t look after yourself, neither physically or emotionally. In the best case scenario it will mean that one day you wake up and realise you have everything you wanted but none of what you needed. In the worst case, it means you spend your life chasing an illusion and when its all said and done you’ll realise you either have no money or happiness.
Dream Nation exist to empower you to become a Practical Dreamer, and a large part of the practical side means learning to become balanced. So in 2015 don’t neglect to grow in all areas of your life, be successful but also be happy. Don’t worry if that’s a struggle for you as we will be right here to support you every step of the way.
If you found any value in reading this and you’re interested in hearing more from Dream Nation then join our mailing list below. You will be added to our free Insiders Club, meaning you’ll hear more about us and the Practical Dreamer movement.
Until next time, stay blessed and keep dreaming.
Claud Williams is the Managing Director of Dream Nation, a holistic personal development brand. Our mission is to empower a generation to be practical about the pursuit of their goal through education, community and technology.
You can find out more about Dream Nation and read more editorials via our website: Dreamnation.co.uk