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This is a transcript from episode #29 of the Let the Verse Flow Podcast.

Figuring out what matters most to you is an essential guidepost; your core beliefs and desires help you know which direction to travel in, which dream to follow. But this isn’t a rigid journey. This is more like a fun scavenger hunt where you unlock secrets, decode riddles, and meet new and interesting people along the way. Perhaps you make it to the promised land and you get the treasure you longed for, but if you don’t, remember that the important thing is that you took the journey. Failure is never an outcome when you learn to adapt with a perspective that expands. When you tell yourself that change is good, that the unexpected is right and timely. As long as you know what you want and why, you are anchored. You are securely fastened and can adapt, climb, and regroup after the tumbling, topsy-turvy moments of life. Figure out what’s most important to you, and then use this love affair as a catalyst for weathering any storms that come your way.

When I’m tired, frustrated, or just plain old cranky, I can let myself go down the pity path. Perhaps I get home from a hard day at work, my 9 to 5 job has some stressful deadlines. I can get home and remember that I have a mile-long to-do list waiting for me, instead of that body scan meditation, dance session or good book I want to embrace. If I’m hangry, you know that deadly combination of hungry and angry, then I may start feeling sorry for myself. Why can’t I have a night to myself? When will my priorities matter? How am I supposed to keep up with my dreams when I’m so exhausted?

This pity party can be toxic and it makes me mad because even while I’m in the midst of it, I know I am going against one of my core beliefs.

Core Beliefs: Right Trying & Right Timing

What is this core belief? It’s a simple, but important one for keeping a steady mind and supporting a positive outlook. I believe that all you can do is put your best effort forward, in whatever form that takes, and then repeat it over and over again, without too much knowledge or certainty about the outcome of your efforts. I believe that what matters most is that sustained effort in the direction of your dreams. There’s effort (right trying) and there’s consistency (right timing).

I’ve talked about the need to take action for your dreams – see episode 18 on affirmations and actions to keep your dreams alive. What helps anchor those actions and hard work? What helps you maintain a positive outlook through it all? It’s our core beliefs. In my case, it's knowing that I'm not running the show, but I've shown up to play and I'm not afraid to work for what I want. I've also accepted that I won't be in control. That I'll be taking action without the promise of control. That can be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the only way to move forward with a sense that we can have an impact on the world. We go after what we want even when we don't know how things will work out. It’s a leap of faith.

Photo of a yellow yield sign that reads "quantum leap of ahead" with a background of white clouds on a blue sky.

Taking a Leap of Faith: An Example

For instance, let’s say you want to start selling t-shirts featuring your hand-made designs. You start brainstorming design ideas, perhaps quotes or words that you will add. You create the design using something like Photoshop or Canva. Then you source the materials to make the t-shirts, and figure out printing and production. After months of doing that planning, you finally have a small group of designs that you can print. But now you realize (or remember) if you planned beforehand that you need to put them on a website or create a Shopify store. Who’s coming to buy your t-shirts? You’ll need to market and spread the word. Once you’ve sold some t-shirts, you’ll need to develop customer service policies. Things start to get complicated really quickly.

You may go for 6 months to a year without selling much of anything. You may feel discouraged and wonder why you ever thought you could be a t-shirt designer. It’s at that moment you realize this new venture will take consistent action over a long period. To make something out of nothing will take energy, and lots of it, along with a tough determination to stick to it and try to make something happen.

Perhaps you thought the hard work was the design, the store setup, or the marketing. But it turns out that the hard part is persistence and perseverance over time. It’s the doing over and over and over again. It’s doing the work when you’d rather not. It’s doing the work when you feel crappy, or when you have to wake up a few hours extra on your day off from your regular 9 to 5 job. It’s doing the work when no one is buying it, when people are returning it, or when people are simply ignoring it. How do you keep up the momentum and work during those times?

Perseverance Comes When You Enjoy the Journey

You do it by remembering your core beliefs, and hopefully one of those is that the end result isn’t the only thing you want to get out of this life. You also want to enjoy the journey, and by enjoy I don’t mean with a gleeful grin on your face all the time. I don’t mean that you will feel like rainbows and bunny rabbits are dancing all around you. It’s not that kind of work. I mean that you will recognize that you have done important work. You have made promises to yourself, and promises to your dreams, and you have worked hard to keep those promises.

Along the way, you will begin to recognize that the journey really is what’s most important. The destination to sell a million t-shirts, or whatever your goal was, wasn’t the endpoint, it was the beginning. It was the beginning of refocusing on the important part – and knowing that it’s really about the life you are leading during the striving because it may take a very long time to realize the dream. I hope that you will like the journey because that’s where your day-to-day life is made and lived. The journey, the quest, and the hard work to move forward are what define your life. That purpose, that drive, that is the lifeblood of your life.

Here’s another way to understand this. I call this poem The Important Thing.

The Important Thing

By Jill Hodge

The important thing is that I tried
I woke up at 5 am
I carried the dream forward through crusty sleepy eyes
And regretful moments
The important thing is that I started
Ignored the inner voices that told me a pack of lies
And willed myself away from the inner chatter
And miserable fears
The important thing is that I kept going
I put one word after the other
I played with sounds and textures
And ideas that mattered
The important thing is that I took a stand
I shared my thoughts
My experiences as I lived them
And it was real and well
The important thing is that I found you
I came to you and you came to me
Hope and connection were realized
And together we journey forward
The important thing is that we move forward
The important thing is that we feel alive
The important thing is that we tried
Photo of a series of bright orange painted walls with successive doorways

At the end of every important journey, what’s left are a few tangible takeaways. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Were you successful?
  • Did your dream or desire change you and the people around you?
  • Can you live with what happened, and if not how can you ready yourself to try to change things?
  • Do you recognize that you made something happen through your will and action?
  • Do you recognize that you pushed yourself toward what you believe in?
  • Have you discovered that you met incredible people, had fascinating experiences, and came out on the other side of your desires with new insight and knowledge about your particular universe? 

Even Our Heroes Fail (But Win)

You’ve probably seen those articles or videos about incredibly successful people who moved through their failures to find success. The stories about how Walt Disney was fired from one of his first jobs because he didn’t have imagination, how Einstein was labeled as mentally slow in his school record, or Michael Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team. Every time, Serena Williams, the GOAT of tennis as far as I’m concerned would lose a match, we’d scratch our head at the loss.

GIF of tennis great, Serena Williams sliding into a split which trying to swing at a ball.
Serena, the GOAT of tennis. She'd lose matches but then glide on past them, keeping her focus on the next game.

We have to remind ourselves that leaders and people at the top of their game do fail, but they grow through failure and continue to face failure. The reason we don’t dwell on the matches that Serena lost is that she didn't dwell on them either. She moved on. There's always another game, another training season, or another new experiment to try. When successful people fail, they move on. Before the dust settles on their failure, they’ve moved on to another quest or adventure. They put their energy towards the next win. They live in the action toward those wins and don’t spend time licking their wounds from yesterday’s failures.

Perhaps they go through hard times and sulk a bit, but they don’t live in the pity party zone. Perhaps they move through it. It’s hard, but through failure, you come to know yourself more, and you are connected to something and you usually build community as well. Once you’ve invested some time and energy into a new project, hobby or skill you realize that you’ve grown and become a different version of yourself. Only now, you have those new skills, those new connections, and at least some belief that you are making progress. These are wonderful insights that can be yours and mine, and while we may not make a ton of money off those t-shirts, we found a place in life that we forged with our own sweat equity. We did create something, we did manifest our purpose, and we ditched the pity party.

Journal Prompts to Reflect on Your Core Beliefs

Here are some journal prompts to reflect on your core beliefs, those ideas that help you move forward on your personal projects even when you don’t know if the outcome will be favorable. 

Write about 3 of your core beliefs – those ideas, internal laws and statements that you believe in and that guide your actions. 
Write about a time when you worked really hard for something. What happened during the journey? Was it what you expected?
Answer this question: what patterns, habits and beliefs help to re-energize your personal projects and goals, and how can you nurture those habits and beliefs to keep a positive and productive mindset?

We all have days when we are exhausted, can’t go on, and need to take a mental or physical break. That’s self-care, and that’s essential. But sometimes we have to dig deep into our core beliefs to remind ourselves that we can (and must) go on to work toward our dreams and desires. 

We push on through the fatigue, the doubt, and the monotony because the journey helps define us as it widens our perspective. We have chosen to be defined by these particular desires and interests. We are still driving our dreams and desires, but we can’t always understand or control the outcome. Remember the important things, your core beliefs, because they make the uncertainty and hard work more bearable.

Walk to the beat of your own drummer as you dream your dreams and work daily toward them. I’m so happy our paths have crossed. May we fulfill our dreams and enjoy the journey together. Here’s hoping that through it all, we stay on the bright side of the beat.🌞

Podcast Music: My thanks to all the musicians who make incredible music and have the courage to put it out into the world. All music for my podcast is sourced and licensed for use via Soundstripe.

Songs in this podcast episode: Ante by Cast Of Characters; Slide by GEMM; East Meets West by Nu Alkemi$t; Pyaar Kee Seemaen by Cast of Characters

Related Episodes:

Affirmations & Actions to Keep Your Dreams Alive (episode 18)

Affirmation Meditation: Keep Your Dreams Alive (episode 20)

LTVF Season Two Music Playlist: Check out the songs that inspire me, and connect with artists from many genres who add to our collective, human soundtrack.

Listen to Let the Verse Flow on Your Podcast Player of Choice

You can listen to LTVF on all major podcast apps like Apple, Spotify, and Podlink. Please rate & review to help spread the word about the podcast!! 💛💜

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Journaling Resources

30-Day Journal Challenge (Writing Prompts to Get Started)
Here’s a fun & simple 30-day journal challenge for beginners (or those who need inspiration). Use the daily prompts to rediscover yourself.

Sign up for the Let the Verse Flow Newsletter and get access to all my articles, including this free 30-Day Journal challenge (with starter writing prompts).

Journaling 101: An Inspirational Guide to Start (or Revive) a Practice
Whether you write, doodle, draw, or keep memorable quotes, journaling uncovers YOU. Let your unconscious mind speak, download my free guide.

Sign up for the Let the Verse Flow Newsletter and get access to all my articles, including this free journaling guide.

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