How to make your dreams a reality

How to make your dreams a reality

We all have dreams, ideas, and goals we want to achieve in life. Ideas and dreams are necessary…they lead to progress and advancements in every sector of society. The question is, how do we turn our dreams and ideas into reality?

As the month of March is the International Ideas Month, here are some tips to help get you started on turning your dreams into reality today…

What’s your dream?

The very first step to achieving your dreams is defining your dream. Make sure you have a very clear picture of what it is you want to achieve. The more specific you are, the better.

Believe in your dream

In order to achieve your dreams, you must believe in them… even if no one else does. You will find that there will always be people that will tell you that your dream is “too big” or worse, “impossible”. All the greatest thinkers, inventors and leaders confronted this… not once, but many, many times. However, they did not let those critics stop them from believing in their dreams.

“You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”

Do your research

To turn your dream into reality, you must do your research. With so many resources available at your fingertips, you have lots to learn! Listen to podcasts, watch videos, read books, talk to people you know who have made a similar venture.

Stay committed

Your dreams and ideas are your personal projects… to make them happen, you need to commit to them. Start off with small steps… you don’t have to rush into making a big leap! Try to squeeze some time into your schedule every day to work on your dream. It may not seem like a lot, but it will get you closer to achieving your dream.

Set goals for yourself

To turn your dreams into reality, it’s important set goals with deadlines. Attaching a deadline to your goals will help you create a plan of action so that you get stuff done!

Embrace failure

Life has ups and downs, and things may not always go according to plan. Along the way, there will be many achievements…and many failures too. Often, we are afraid to take risks because we are scared that we’ll fail. Or sometimes, when we do fail, we give up on our dreams, thinking that it’s a dead end. However, failure is not something that should be feared, but rather embraced. Making mistakes is inevitable. Even the greatest of them all have made mistakes. But you know what? They got back up and kept going, using their “failure” as a learning experience to get even better. Be persistent in the pursuit of your dreams, don’t let a “no” stop you from moving forward.

Get started today

Procrastination is one of the biggest threats for any idea or dream. After all, without action, a dream will remain a dream. As Mark Twain once said: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” So, stop delaying! Start working on your dreams today…no excuses!

Everyone has the potential to achieve their dreams, no matter how big they may be!

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Want to turn your dream marks into a reality?

Spend some time studying with Minute School.

How to make your dreams a reality

Dreams without action is a world of make believe. Consider the following.

  • 96 percent of college professors believe they have above average teaching skills.
  • 50 percent of high school students believe they will attend law school, medical school or grad school.
  • Time magazine asked in a survey, “Are you in the top 1% of wage earners?” Nineteen percent said yes! And 36 percent expected to be.

A dream without a plan is soon exposed.

“When the tide goes out, you discover who’s been swimming naked.” —Warren Buffet

John Kotter has said there are two kinds of people in the world: those who accept their life, and those who lead their life. Some people just get up, look at their life and hope something good will happen. The successful person says:

The obvious lesson? The key to transforming dreams into reality is to set goals that can be broken down into doable steps.

“The secret to change is one step at a time.” —Mark Twain

Is there a gap between what you know or the skills you have, and the information or the skills you need to actualize your dream? These seven steps will help.

1. Start with the end in mind.

Determine your goals and ask yourself: Where do I want to be next year? What do I need to do to accomplish these goals? Your answers instantly become your learning agenda.

2. Assess the skills or knowledge you’ll need.

Some goals won’t require new skills or knowledge, but others will. What specific skills are needed to make your dream(s) come true? What skill that you already possess would you like to improve by 25 percent within the next year?

3. Explore the best sources.

Is it going back to school? Enrolling in a training course offered by your employer? Developing a relationship with mentors and/or co-workers who can teach you skills or give you insights? Look for that optimal source for every skill you decide you need to learn.

4. Create your learning agenda.

You now have the information, so start creating your learning plan. It should lay out the skills and knowledge you need to acquire. It should include a timeline of where and when you will go about it. And it should be in writing, on no more than one page. It’s too easy to lose your “ball” in the weeds.

5. Begin with the most important.

Don’t start with the hardest or the easiest. What is the most important thing you can do right now? Evaluate and then rank them according to value. Enroll your action plan into M.I.T. (Most Important Thing).

6. Get moving.

Execute. What is your W.O.W. (Within One Week)? What step will you commit to this next week?

And of the utmost importance….

7. Identify your limiting beliefs.

We all have them. When you identify them, they begin to lose their power. Don’t doubt your dream.

  • I’m too young.
  • I’m too old.
  • I don’t have the time.
  • I don’t have the money.
  • I never follow through.
  • Someday I’ll…

Every time you do something you didn’t think you could do, your confidence is built. Action leads to confidence more than confidence leads to action.

Confidence = Positive Self-Regard + Competence

One without the other will not equate to confidence. You need to build on both. And it’s not an overnighter. It’s day in and day out—building one day at a time.

You can choose what you will believe, and it will shift your mindset to be clear on the action you will take. I am not talking about clicking your heels together, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, saying I believe… I believe. I’m talking about putting a stake in the ground and making claim to your life.

These steps will become part of your Doubt-Removal System. This will shift your mindset, and this action will deal with your limiting beliefs.

How to make your dreams a reality

How to make your dreams a reality

Why are Dreams or Goals so Important?

Dreams and goals are the backbone of society and innovation. They are the birthplace of human ambition. And a person without a dream or goal is only a shell of his or her full potential.

  • Dreams or major goals are so important for a number of reasons including:
  • Dreams motivate you to do your best and reach your full potential.
  • Dreams provide you with positive energy and help to keep you going through hard times
  • Dreams keep you focused on what’s really important.
  • Dreams help you define yourself as the type of person you’d want to be.
  • Dreams keep you excited about life and the possibilities of the future.

6 Powerful Ways to Make Your Dreams Come True

So, how can we see that we actually accomplish our goals and realize our greatest dreams? Here are 6 tips that you can put to work for yourself immediately to make your dreams a reality.

1. Visualize Yourself Reaching Your Dream

Visualization is a great first step to making your dream a reality. By visualizing yourself in the final stages and achievement of the dream, you affirm to your subconscious that it can be done and that you are already on your way. This limitless supply of positive energy is crucial to reaching your goal especially when the going gets tough.

2. Get Organized

The next step in my experience to reaching your greatest dream is to come up with a strategic plan.

Rather than just dreaming about it and hoping one day it comes to pass, create a plan that you could use to actually see it become reality. Although this can be a daunting task, just remember that each step gets you that much closer. Make a list of the first few steps and just do one thing at a time.

For example, if your dream or goal is to lose 50 lbs don’t just start working out randomly. Plan it out and be very particular about how you use your time. Take it one day at a time focusing on making that specific day as efficient as possible towards losing weight.

This planning and way of thinking will not just bring you closer to your goal, but it will also make you feel good and positive about your progress.

3. Build a Support Network

A strong support system is crucial to being successful no matter what your goal is. Just like how a bridge can’t stand by itself, it’s harder to make a dream a reality on your own.

You could look at all of the great accomplishments people have made from Steve Jobs founding Apple Inc. to Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time – they have all had people who have supported them and helped them along the way. While this doesn’t mean that you ask someone else to do all of the work for you. Sharing your dream and vision with others who believe in you will greatly help you in your journey towards your goal.

4. Ignore the “Haters”

There will always be people who refuse to believe in the feasibility of your dream. They will put you down and they may even tell you that your dream is impossible. You must ignore these “haters” and march forward. Don’t let their negativity even touch you and keep focused and locked in towards your goal.

Always keep in mind that many people before have tried to stop dreamers from dreaming throughout history. But dreamers have always been triumphant. Look at the example of the Wright Brothers. They dreamt that one day they would fly. People laughed at them and mocked them. But they shut everybody up when they made the first airplane. And today flying is an accepted concept and a basic form of transportation.

5. Pull The Trigger

At some point, you’re going to have to make decisions to make your dreams come true. These could be small decisions like going for a morning jog or bigger decisions like taking a large loan from the bank. Just remember that whatever the decision you make, don’t be afraid of making it. Always do you due diligence but in the end, make sure you “Pull the Trigger” for whichever option you choose. There will be more opportunities in the future but you must make most of what you have now.

6. Develop Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is crucial to making your dream or goal a reality. Unless you believe in yourself and your abilities completely, you will never be able to reach your max potential. In the simple but powerful words of Peter Pan: “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”

7. Transform Your Dream into Energy

You must transform your dreams and goals into a burning desire inside of you. You must feel that you want to reach your dream more than you even want to even breathe. Once you’re in this state of mind you will find that there is not much that can stop you. This desire will fuel your every action and give you an endless supply of energy to reach your goal.

This desire can always be found in the most successful people.

“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly”. ― Langston Hughes

Best of luck in making your dreams come true!

How to make your dreams a reality

How to make your dreams a reality

How to make your dreams a reality

This is the boldest title I’ve ever given a blog post; and that’s because what I’m about to share with you, is real. You can make your dreams a reality, with hard work and a process.

First, I want to tell you that I’m not one of those people that has dreams and keeps them to herself. Now, that’s being selfish.

Whenever I think of something that I want to achieve, both personally and professionally, I quickly start sharing it with the world.

I begin with my husband and kids. Over dinner. By talking about it. I call this “painting the picture.”

Then another day. And another. I just don’t stop bringing my dreams up.

I begin to ask, “what would our life look like if we did this?” And, “how would it feel if we did that?” And pushing further, “how fun would it be to do XYZ?”

This is what I call “outlining my dream.”

But I don’t end up there. Over time, the “what would it be like” turns into “this is what we’re going to do when…” and this very statement, is HOW you make your dreams come to fruition.

This is what we’re going to do when ________. Now it’s real.

You begin to talk about what it is going to be like. What living out your dream feels like. And then, the conversation turns into mapping out the steps needed to get there.

Of course, this isn’t a linear thing.

The best part is that you can talk about many things. Discuss personal dreams/goals; they can be family adventures, how you’re going to get out of debt, how you are regaining your health…

MINDSET. It’s so powerful.

“But Laura, how do you then actually get to do the things? How do your dreams come true?” -Oh, my friend, I thought you’d never ask.

I believe I have the power within to get everything I want -the things I’m meant to have in my life. And so do YOU.

This is not about getting rich by winning the lottery. This is about living a rich life you create by experiences.

You see, your life is like one of those adult coloring books. The pictures are outlines of our goals and dreams. We get to choose which picture to color first and which colors to fill the lines with.

Some pictures are never finished. Some pictures we don’t like and aren’t meant to be colored. And that’s ok. And sometimes, if you’re adventurous enough, you work on a few pictures at once!

How to make your dreams a reality

Some take longer to get finished. While others are not meant to be started at all. Heck, you can even have several books!

Two years ago, I told my husband “one day, I will rent a house in Park City, Utah, for six weeks and experience what it’s like to live in the snow, to work remotely, to teach our kids, and ski in the afternoons whenever possible.”

We live in New Orleans. As different from Park City as you get. Couldn’t be more opposite actually.

But I started to talk about it. I drew the outlines. I shared my dream family trip with everyone I met that was from Utah or lived near it.

For the last six years, I’ve taken my boys skiing in Park City for a few days and then came home. “This isn’t the year. It’s not the right time -yet.”

But, I kept sharing my dream with our ski instructors, people I met at a cookie shop in Midway UT, and with a woman I met at a conference a year ago -from whose parents we’re renting out the house in Utah.

We saved money. My husband and I talked about how we’d travel there. How we’d homeschool our kids, and how we’d divide our time so we both could get our work done.

I even found house sitters to take care of our home and our diabetic cat this way.

I shared my dream with anyone that would listen as if it was already real. With each conversation, I colored the lines some more.

“I’m filling in the picture -I’d tell myself.”

Putting it out there, and doing the work will turn your dreams into tangible goals, into small steps, into your new reality.

The key word there are… “doing the work.”

I know this to be true because that’s the story of my life.

Everything I’ve done in my life has stemmed from an idea. A dream that started conversations that created goals that I broke down into smaller steps, leading to achievements.

Today, I am writing this post from our temporary home outside of Park City. I’m here. My family is here. Living out that one dream.

Now, it’s your turn to achieve your dreams. Big and small. They are all important.

So today, I want to ask you one thing.

What’s that one dream you’d love to achieve but haven’t quite dared to talk about it and start making it a reality? Leave a comment below and share it with me!

Last week, you thought “I wish—“, then quickly squashed your wish.

“Too ambitious,” the voice in your head whispered.

“”You need to settle for what you’ve got.”

“It’s too big a risk.”

“You can’t accomplish that.”

You listened. The voices, like Velcro, hooked doubts, and you tossed your dream over the reality cliff.

Except, a piece of the dream wafted up, lingered in the air. Perhaps you want to run your own business; land a higher paying, more exciting job, or retire by 50. Maybe you want your boss’s job or to make all the money you need to live on while working only twenty hours weekly. Whatever the dream, you don’t want to let it go.

Face what stops you.

Do you feel you’re not good enough? Or that you might not succeed and so don’t try? Guess what? You’re the author of your mental conversations and can create new ones. How about telling yourself, “When I establish a goal I really want and commit to it, nothing can stop me.” Anything you see someone else achieve, you can – by believing in yourself and releasing your mental parking brake.

How to make your dreams a realityPhoto by Alexandre Zanin on

Dream large

Those who hesitate to dream big neutralize the power of a dream. In the same way that the chance to win an Olympic medal keeps an athlete performing at peak levels despite exhaustion, by dreaming large you kindle adrenaline.

Remember those days when you rocked at work or when playing competitive sports? Adrenaline and commitment powered those days. You can have those days every day – if you fuel your energy with an inspiring dream. So name your dream and then move it from twilight to daybreak

How to make your dreams a realityPhoto by Alex Fu on

Stop your sabotage.

Do you wait overlong for the right moment to start? So fear risks that you settle for “good enough?” If you want to achieve your dreams, uproot the ways in which you undermine yourself.

If you fear risk, consider which feels worse – risking and failing or selling yourself out by giving up before you start? What do you want said at your retirement? – “S/he took a risk and won” or “whoops, maybe next lifetime.”

How to make your dreams a realityPhoto by Erik Mclean on


You know what I mean – think of all the individuals who make a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking yet add, “Unless I really need the cigarette.” Don’t sell yourself out.

Commitment creates the difference between achieving what you want and “if only I’d….” To bring a large dream into reality you need to step up to the plate and take action.

Action transforms you from someone who can “talk a good story” into someone who lives a good story. Bring your dream to life.

© 2020, Lynne Curry

Lynne Curry, Ph.D., SPHR, is the author of “Beating the Workplace Bully” (AMACOM, 2016, and “Solutions”, (both books are rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Send your questions to her at or follow her on twitter @lynnecurry10.

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Ashampoo’s Home Design 5 lets you visualize every element of your home-to-be.

Everybody’s got a dream home in mind, but like any dream, it doesn’t manifest into reality overnight. However, it turns out you don’t need to wait to see it with your own two eyes.

Before the real estate wrangling, before the haggling with contractors and chasing after permits, you need to have a clear vision of what your house is going to look like—and how it’s going to work logistically. Not that long ago, you would need to rely on an architect to draw up those first plans. Now, you can do much of the legwork yourself with the right design software. For an increasing amount of homeowners, Ashampoo Home Design 5 is the perfect marriage of technical accuracy and a user-friendly interface.

Designing a home from the ground up takes a lot of work—and will likely take a lot of compromise along the way. But this software makes it easy to convey your ideas clearly from the start, allowing users to add and remove elements without having to tear things down to their virtual foundations. See your home as a 3D skeleton, from multiple angles every step of the way, helping you along with a strong architectural framework.

Start from scratch or import brand-name models from programs like SketchUp and Collada, test driving improvements like solar panels and landscaping to see how they’d look before committing to the build. Every detail—from furniture to the surrounding terrain—is yours to control; you can even set the position of the sun to see how much natural light your kitchen gets.

The platform is picking up strong reviews from tech sites and casual users alike, boasting more than 3,500 downloads on Softpedia, and counting. PCMag readers can try Ashampoo Home Design 5 (Windows-only software) for $19.99—60 percent off the original MSRP.

How to make your dreams a reality

How to make your dreams a reality

“You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
but don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true” – Billy Joel, Vienna

All right, I know that title sounds massively depressing, but I wanted to get your attention. Because I’ve got something important to say, I promise.

If you’ve ever looked at the shelf of the self-help section in your bookstore, you’ve probably heard of a guy named Stephen Covey. He’s only slightly famous for writing The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People– voted #1 as one of the most influential books of the 20th Century.

So, in the book one of the habits is “Begin with the end in mind.” Good advice, no doubt. But there’s a slight problem — a simple misinterpretation really — when you take this advice too seriously.

When it comes to living your dreams, beginning with the end in mind is a great idea. It’s absolutely necessary as a motivational tool to keep you going, to remember why you’re working so hard on getting or that book proposal.

The problem is that working with the end in mind will drive you absolutely insane. No one ever told us “Begin with the end in mind, but once you’ve done that, completely focus on the step you’re on. Otherwise you’re liable to completely lose your mind and touch with reality.”

In other words, remember your dreams when you set out to work toward them. Reconnect with the ultimate goal you’re trying to accomplish before you set out on your task. But after that, completely forget about it. Be in the moment and focus on completely enjoying the scenery of the path you’re at. Find bliss not just in the realization of your dreams, but the movement in their direction.

Believe me, I’ve tried things the other way around. I’ve tried to always focus on the goal of being self-employed while working at a job that I less-than-love. It can absolutely drive you mad. Having co-workers talking, shuffling files, asking you how your weekend was (“Let me guess. Was it too short?!”). Keeping the end in mind here will do nothing more than cause you to completely loathe every day you take that dreaded walk to your cubicle.

Okay, so that was just part of it.

Here’s the real conundrum: We know that focusing on the step we’re at, instead of obsessing about how we’re not where we want to be, will help us reach our goal faster. We’ll produce more quality work through being present (instead of living in the future). We know that. But we can’t let go of obsessively thinking about where we wish we were, simply because we know it’s a good idea. You can’t force yourself to relax.

Without trying to go all Zen Koan on you, I’ll try to explain. In a certain sense, you’re got to stop caring about the end goal, but still care about it (to motivate you to take action) at the same time. Sound tricky? Good. If it doesn’t, then you don’t get it.

In this way, the best way to make your dreams a reality is to forget about them. It’s kind of like playing two different rhythms on the drums with two hands. You’ve got to remember what beat you want to do, then start the first hand. Then in order to play a completely different rhythm with the second hand, you forget what the first hand is doing.

I’ll be honest here, this is a skill that takes practice. Especially if you’re like me and you’re not the most patient person in the world. You want things to happen and you want it now.

I know, it’s hard. But if you want to keep your dreams alive, you’ve got to have a kind of recurring amnesia. Remember it, cherish it, then set it free and forget about it.

Then you can walk blissfully by your boss (that you can’t stand) and you won’t be overcome with frustration. Now you can actually start making progress toward your dreams, rather than freaking out that they’re not happening.

If you can master this simple art of remember the end, then forgetting about it and focusing on the movement toward your dreams, you will find success.

It’s that movement that matters anyway. Because bliss isn’t found by reaching the end of your journey, it’s found by walking the path.

How to make your dreams a reality

New year, fresh start! Now you know I love a good list of resolutions… but in my opinion, nothing is more powerful or transformative than a vision board. However, many people aren’t sure where to start or how to create a vision board that works for them. Last year, I talked about why I create a vision board. This year, I wanted to take you step-by-step through how to create a vision board that will make your dreams a reality.

How to Make Your Dreams a Reality With a Vision Board:

1. Brainstorm What You Want: Before you start, sit down and think about what you really want for the year ahead. Write down whatever comes to your mind. Be honest with yourself. This is your first pass, so write down whatever the goal or dream… no matter how huge or ridiculous. Sometimes people feel compelled to write goals they THINK they should go for. Have you dreamed of owning a expensive designer purse, but are embarrassed to admit that is among your goals? Stop it. This is YOUR vision board. Want to go on a big trip this year? Have dreams of quitting your job and selling art on Etsy? It may be a goal that seems impossible or incredibly far fetched, but we are ignoring reason right now. If there is a voice in your heart telling you, “We want this” then write it down. You don’t have to know HOW you are going to make these dreams a reality… you just have to know that you want to.

2. Narrow It Down: Now it is time to look at your first brain dump of dreams and narrow it down. What do you really want to focus on this year. I am not going to limit what you can put on your vision board… but if one of your life long dreams is to backpack through Europe alone with your husband and you just had a baby… well you may need to put that one on the back burner for awhile. (hey, but you can start saving for that trip this year!) Pick the things you want the most, cross off the things you wrote down since you felt like you should and let’s get to the fun part.

3. Create Your Vision: There are so many ways to make a vision board, and they are all equally fabulous. Last year, I created mine on a cork board over my desk, so I could look at it all the time. I loved where it was, so I plan to use them again this year, but start with a clean slate. You want to LOVE your vision board. Grab some magazines and whatever else inspires you and make a collage. Use a poster board, cork board or whatever else you like. Print out inspirational quotes, use pictures of your family, cut out images of the pricey purse. 😉 Every time you look at your vision board, you should be reminded of exactly what you hope to accomplish.

4. Visualize: Now it wouldn’t be a VISION board if you didn’t actually use it for visualization! If you are embarrassed by your vision board (which is totally normal.. maybe you don’t want your roommate knowing the deepest desires of your heart or perhaps your loved ones think a vision board is silly) then it is okay to put it someplace a little more hidden. I used to create mine on poster board and hang it in my closet. You just want it to be someplace where *you* can see it often. Look at it everyday. Think about what it on there and how amazing it will be when those dreams become reality. Take a minute to visualize your vision board goals coming true.

5. Repeat and Revise: Continue to look at your vision board daily, if possible. If you accomplish a goal, or realize you are not inspired by something on your board, feel free to change it. You can revise your board to make it work for you. You aren’t making a permanent shrine. This is a vision board to help motivate and manifest… you can change it however you wish.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at

By Brent Gleeson

The loftiest goal I ever set in the early stages of my professional career was to become a Navy SEAL. Achieving that milestone gave me a new perspective and set the foundation for the rest of my life. Nothing seemed too far from my grasp.

The first six months of training, called Basis Underwater Demolition/SEAL, is designed to identify those not solely committed to the mission of becoming a Navy SEAL, separate them from the herd, and force them to quit. Unless you quickly identify what you personally need to be successful, you will fail. Here are 11 important tactics I learned during that journey that I use every day in the constant pursuit of personal and professional success.

1. Get the simple things right.

During training, Sunday was always depressing, because you knew the inevitable torture that Monday would bring. Monday was inspection day. To be successful as a SEAL, your attention to detail must be unwavering. So you start with the little things, like making your bed and cleaning the floors. I used to keep my bed impeccably made and sleep on top of the covers with a sleeping bag. If everything wasn’t perfect, you paid for it. And sometimes when it was perfect, you paid anyway. The lesson: If you can’t get the simple things right, you can’t expect to successfully tackle more daunting tasks.

2. Set both realistic and unrealistic goals.

Successful people are relentless goal setters. They break down larger milestones into smaller, more achievable tasks. One of the most unrealistic goals a SEAL candidate can set is completing Hell Week. You don’t sleep for a week. You run countless miles with boats, logs, and backpacks. You swim dozens of miles in the frigid ocean. You run the obstacle course daily and do more pushups and pull-ups than you can count. All while battling second-stage hypothermia, sores, and often fractures. Some students quit just minutes into Hell Week. You can’t allow yourself to imagine what the end will look like. So you make–and achieve–one small goal at a time and pray for the sun to come up the next day. A series of near-term realistic goals will help you get closer to your big audacious ones.

3. Work hard.

This one seems obvious, but many people underestimate the level of effort it takes to be successful and achieve aggressive goals. It astonishes me that some of the guys showing up to SEAL training put no real time or effort into preparation. If you don’t work hard preparing for potential success, you won’t change that behavior when things get really tough.

4. Get others to work with you.

A SEAL training class is broken down into boat crews of seven guys each: three on either side of the boat and a coxswain in the rear steering. During the first phase of training, you take the boats out through the surf and paddle miles up and down the beach every day. I was in a winter class, where the swells can be up to 10 feet or more. It takes every man digging in and paddling hard just to get through the surf zone without getting tossed upside down. When setting goals and pursuing success, you must sometimes lead and get others to paddle with you. You can’t do it all alone. The minute you realize that you don’t know everything and need help along the way, the better off you will be.

5. Don’t make excuses.

Successful people don’t make excuses for failure or shortcomings. They acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses and seek feedback from trusted advisers. The longer you sit around making excuses, the further you will drift from the possibility of achieving your goals.

6. Don’t underestimate others.

One of the most fascinating things about SEAL training is that out of the couple hundred guys who start a training class, you could never hand pick the 30 or so who will graduate. Rarely is it the Rambo types who make it. Usually they are the first to go. Underestimating people, whether peers or competitors, is one of the worst things you can do. People who go far in life measure others by qualities such as integrity and strength of heart. Empower those around you, and you will be surprised by the outcome.

7. Be willing to fail.

When entering this phase of my life, I knew that statistically, the odds were not in my favor. I also knew that if I didn’t try, I would never forgive myself. I decided that I would rather try and fail than be the guy who says, “I was thinking about trying that.” You simply can’t look at life through a lens of fear. If you take a calculated risk and fail, at the very least you have a valuable learning experience. Get back up. Dust off. And never, ever, be out of the fight.

8. Embrace the repercussions of your actions.

On your path to success, you will make mistakes. One of my early mistakes was slacking off on my pushups after the obstacle course during the first day of the third phase of training. An instructor was looking through the rearview mirror while sitting in the truck. He was counting to see if I did the required 50. I decided to do 30-ish. That mistake earned me a spot with the “cheaters” the following week while at the shooting range. Each day, before we started, during lunch, and between drills, the cheaters would line up and sprint to the top of a nearby mountain in full gear. If you failed to make the cutoff time, you ran it again. It was torture. But the week after, I miraculously cut my four-mile run time by three minutes. Learn from your mistakes and turn the consequences into something positive.

9. Don’t back down.

My favorite passage from the Navy SEAL creed reads: “I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.” Enough said.

10. Laugh when you want to cry.

Staying positive seems like an obvious trait for successful people, but it’s easier said than done. Your character is defined by what you do when things get tough. During Hell Week, one of the fun tasks is called “steel pier.” After spending some time in the cold water of San Diego Bay, you strip down to your undershorts and lie down on the freezing metal pier while the instructors spray you with hoses. Your body convulses uncontrollably as it reaches stage-two hypothermia. But the guys who found the strength to laugh (partly because of delirium) during this event were the ones standing proud at graduation. When things get rough and are out of your control, don’t forget to laugh.

11. Make sacrifices.

Success comes with sacrifice. Let selfish ways fall by the wayside, and know that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. The most successful people in the world have made significant sacrifices along the way. To become a SEAL, you give up comfort, and the discomfort only increases the further you go. But you get used to it, because you know what you are doing is worth it.

The path to success is paved with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but you can’t lose heart. Stay strong, be humble, and lean on others for support when necessary.