I had a great conversation with a friend today that really made me think (I have brilliant friends, by the way). How do you know when to keep trying or when to throw in the towel and move on? The answer isn't always as obvious as you'd think. Nor is throwing in the towel always a bad thing. Everyone I know has dreams. Some are brave enough to admit them out loud. Some have pushed them to the far recesses of their minds. A select few are diligently, tirelessly working to make those dreams reality.
But how do you know if those dreams are meant to be? If you're working toward your dream and life throws obstacle after obstacle in your path, what do you do? Unfortunately, we rarely get a neon sign that reads, "Stop, moron! You're going in the wrong direction!" Or even, "Hooray, you brave soul! Don't stop now!"
The trouble most of us run into, is in the authenticity of our dreams. By that I mean, is the dream a deep-rooted desire of yours? Or is it one that was created for you from the expectations of others? And by others, I mean family, friends or society in general (think amassing great wealth, becoming an attorney, owning the latest, greatest you fill in the blank). If the dream is yours and yours alone, have you taken every step you know, and maybe some you didn't, to work toward that dream?
If you can say with relative certainty you have, think about this: If you let go of the dream, right here and now, what's left? The answer might be painfully obvious, or as clear as mud. It's a question you might have to sit with for a few days or even weeks. If you let go of your dream, are you left with opportunity? A blank slate and a fresh start (possibly accompanied by sadness)? Or would you be missing a part of yourself? An essential component that helps make up who you are?
I hope you give yourself the gift of an honest answer. If your dreams are worth it--really worth it--don't hesitate to move forward. Your opportunity will come. If you discover it's time to move on, don't hesitate to hit the brakes. Make sure you take a deep breath when you do. You'll be amazed at what's waiting for you.