Backburner Dreams: 3 Reasons Why You’re Delaying And What To Do About It

In Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones, she has a chapter called “Doubt Is Torture” in which she talks about a conversation between her friend and their Zen teacher, Katagiri Roshi:

A friend of mine was planning to move to Los Angeles with the hope of connecting with the music industry. He was a musician and songwriter, and it was time for him to follow his aspirations. Katagiri Roshi said to him, “Well, if you’ve decided to go, let’s see what your attitude is.”

“Well, I’ll try my best. I figure I have to give it a shot, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. I’ll just accept it.”

Roshi responded, “That’s the wrong attitude. If they knock you down, you get up. If they knock you down again, get up. No matter how many times they knock you down, get up again. That is how you should go.”

Roshi makes a good point. Dreams come true because of perseverance. But before that comes the most essential step in making a dream come true… getting started.

There are many reasons why you put your dreams on the backburner and delay going for it until that nebulous time in the future called “someday.” However, there are three main reasons most people have: time, money, and fear.

Here’s a breakdown of each reason and what you can do about it… that is, if you truly want to manifest your dream:

#1 Reason: Time
Do you feel like you don’t have enough time in your busy life to do what you think it would take to go for it?

We all get to work with the same measure of time: 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year. How we prioritize our time is the key here. Usually when you say you don't have the time, what you are really saying is, "Something else is more important right now than my dream." That is fine if it really is true. There might actually be more important things. Some of them could be matters of illness, transitions, or even life and death. However, if you really do want to give more importance to your dream than you are right now, then what you need to do is prioritize your time.

The easiest way to make space for your dream is to make it one of the first things you focus on each day. For example, let's say your dream is to write a book. You can get up a little earlier than usual every morning and write for 30 minutes. Think you can't get much done in 30 minutes? Think again. Let's say your book will be a novel at the average length of 80,000 words, and let's say you plan to write for 240 days during the year because you’ll be taking off for vacation, holidays, weekends, etc. All you would need to do is write 333 words per day to complete your book in one year. That's very doable, especially when you consider that this article that you're reading is more than triple that word count.

#2 Reason: Money
Maybe you can’t see a way to make money doing your dream, or maybe you simply need money to do it.

If your concern is that you can’t see a way to make money doing it, and you’ve thoroughly explored all the options, here’s an important next consideration… Maybe your dream is not meant to be your primary source of income. Maybe it’s meant to be a nonprofit. Or maybe it’s a dream meant to be born at a later time when conditions change.

Could there be a source of funding that you’ve not thought about yet? This very concern is what led to the popular idea called “crowdfunding.” defines crowdfunding as "The use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture." However, crowdfunding goes beyond typical business ventures and has funded tours for music bands, films, and nonprofits, to name a few of the many diverse applications. In fact, the crowdfunding industry was worth $5.1 billion in 2013. (Source: Wikipedia)

One particularly inspiring story is how Debbie Sterling used crowdfunding to launch her dream to produce an engineering toy for girls called GoldieBlox. Another creative source of funding came in January 2014 when she was able to run an ad worth millions of dollars during the 2014 Super Bowl for free because of a contest she won through the company, Intuit.

Goldieblox founder Debbie Sterling talks about finding her life purpose:

#3 Reason: Fear
There are a few noteworthy fears, with fear of failure being the big one. What if you take the risk and it fails? There’s also the fear of success. This is a really sneaky one! What happens if you get what you’ve desired, and it’s not what you expected? It could be more than you can handle. And then there’s the fear of criticism. This one has many possible perpetrators, including your inner critic, loved ones, and people you don’t know well but are important.

The first thing you should realize is that you'll never get what you want unless your desire is stronger than your fear. That's the secret behind how to manifest what you want in life.

Secondly, you can use a mind mastery tool like The SHIFT, which stands for "Subdue Hogwash, Introduce Facts & Truth," to shift the fear. Neale Donald Walsch once said, "FEAR is an acronym in the English language for 'False Evidence Appearing Real'." And Mark Twain's take on this was, “I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Two wise men from completely different eras came to the same conclusion because it's a common condition. Most of the time, our fears are totally unfounded.

Here's how to use The SHIFT: create two columns on a computer document or sheet of paper, labeling the left side "The Hogwash" and the right side "The Facts & Truth." Now list all your worries and fears under in the left column, and in the right column challenge each fear by listing the facts and/or answering the question, "Is this true?"

You might also like to check out The Work of Byron Katie: The methods are somewhat similar, although The SHIFT is an even simpler, scaled-down approach.

The point is that to step into your potential and fulfill your dream, you need to put your concerns under scrutiny. Shine the light on them, and be honest about what you really see.

Whether it’s time, money, or fear, what is delaying you? Are you letting others’ opinions or an unseen solution get in your way?

We’re waiting for your dream too. We probably need it to happen even more than you do! So, take it off the backburner and turn up the heat. Don't let anything or anyone keep you from going for your dream, and that includes yourself!

Angela Loëb is known internationally for her work in the area of professional and personal development. She's authored three books and hundreds of articles about life purpose, mind mastery, goal achieving, spirituality and career. Learn more about her programs at

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