“Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel ain’t a train.” – Cody Jinks
Choosing to pursue your dreams can be practical, but it requires you to be unrelenting as you walk through uncertainties. October 1st 2019, exactly one year after I had left the USA, I decided I wanted to pursue the dream of being a public speaker. I had spent the previous year spending six months with my family in Barbados and six months traveling the USA and Europe. In previous articles, I have chronicled the thoughts and concepts that I developed during this year, but on October 1st, 2019 is where the most instrumental period of my life started.
Pursue your dreams in the midst of Uncertainty
On that day, I decided I was going to live all of my ideas and concepts wholeheartedly. I moved to England, where I knew no one professionally, and honestly had no idea how to become a public speaker. I had enough savings to live for six months and absolutely no network or knew a way forward. I woke up every day and reminded myself why I started, as I discussed in “Find Purpose In Your Life Using This Simple Equation.” Or when I emailed 30 agencies and 15 TEDx organizers and got zero replies, I reminded myself of the cycle of intentional action and negative feedback in “How To Fail Well To Discover The Art of Success.”
Pursue your dreams in the midst of Doubts
My friend and colleague Ryan told me the quote that started the article on a call where I agreed to my first major public speaking contract, and I think it is incredibly relevant to my six months in England. It is difficult to accurately express how isolated, unsure, and terrified I was. Doubt from friends, doubt from agencies, doubt from myself were constant themes daily. Many mornings, I called the Good Samaritans, because my family in Barbados were still asleep four time zones away, to talk to strangers about how I was feeling. I wanted someone to listen to me and say that someday everything may be okay. In the listener’s unique way, they said, “maybe the light at the end of the tunnel ain’t a train.”
Pursue your dreams because It’s worth it.
It was a beacon of hope, the 2 TEDx talks, speaking contracts, writing jobs, time in Barbados, and sharing whatever financial treasure may come my way in the future.
So today, as I talk about how to pursue your dreams in my final article, I want to share with you some lessons I have written about in previous articles:
- No one knows what they are doing, and that’s completely okay. We wake up every day, and we do our best to move towards our purpose. When things go wrong, take a rest go easy on yourself. When things go right, take a rest, then look for ways to improve them while remaining humble.
- In your darkest moment, remind yourself that “you are planted, not buried.” I saw this on Facebook during that time, and it is such a simple visual that helped me see all the struggle as a part of the process. As cheesy as it sounds, the oak tree was once a buried seed. If it had always been in the sunlight, it would not have grown. Some time in the darkness was the right condition to set it on its way to a fruitful life.
- “Good timber does not grow with ease: The stronger wind, the stronger trees.” – Douglas Malloch. Small exert from his poem Good Timber. Even after the tree starts growing, strong winds make the tree more resilient. You were the seed, now you are the tree, and it is not always easy or without stress, wind, but if you evaluate your actions honestly and with vulnerability, you can continue to grow stronger.
- Share your hard days. Social media has become an echo chamber of highlight reels. Only sharing the photos of the walk in the park or fun time with friends is an inaccurate representation of real life. Without sharing hard days, how are we to know we are all just living the human experience, and all go through good and bad times? Further, it is good to look back on those times and see how far you have come. Every October and November, I get time hop notifications from 2013 when I was waiting for my US H1B work visa approval in Barbados. It reminds me of the work that was necessary to build my life and all the intentional steps along the way.
- Continuously express gratitude. I can’t emphasize this one enough. There are so so many people who are there for us when things are difficult. When things go eventually succeed, we often forget to reach out and let them know how important they were in our struggle and success. It is a humbling experience to recognize those who join us on our journey, and they will greatly appreciate the gesture, memories, and kind words. With that, Sandra, Stanley, Thomas, Joel, Andrea, Eve, Gary, Zach, Sherry, Terre, Fi, Angie, Daniel, Mummy, and Daddy Clarke, thank you very much. Beale Family, you welcomed a man you never met for Christmas into your home for a few days, and I am forever grateful. I was incredibly close to giving up and leaving England, but your kindness to me and excitement in my career choice and ideas kept me going.
- Bless This Moment. Terre told me this in 2016 during a stressful period, and I had no idea then how much this would encapsulate so much of the human experience. Trust me, write it in your notebook, on your whiteboard, on your mirror. It is such a simple reminder of the beauty in every moment. Life is hard sometimes. Then it’s joyous, and success is at every turn. In both states, and every day it is important to bless the moment. Sit in a quiet room and breathe. Think about what you are thankful for, what you are nervous about, what makes you excited, and take a moment to find areas of contentment. Freeze time for a bit and quiet all happening around you and be gentle with yourself. Find the joy in the journey and bless the moment you are currently in, where you have been and where you are going.
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As I discuss how to pursue your dreams, I am thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts, concepts, struggles, and successes with you. I hope my writings have been helpful in exploring ways to move closer to your purpose, growing though failure, finding contentment, and seeing that light at the end of the tunnel a bit more optimistically. Always feel free to email me with a question or share a story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a wonderful day!
Born in Barbados, Marlo Clarke played for the national rugby team until he moved to Iowa in 2012 to become a Youth Program Director. After seven wonderful years, Marlo moved to Europe for a year to travel and craft his TEDx talks “How was your day today?” and “What now? What next?” Currently, he is a global public speaker, teacher, and writer.
“I don’t always have the right answers, but I eventually find the right questions!