Sometimes you reach and work and struggle for years, in a very direct, concerted attempt to make a dream come true.
The painstaking, step-by-step journey to slowly master a new skill, for example.
Planting your butt in a chair, day upon blessed day, to write that book.
My own seemingly endless quest to find a partner I actually want to spend my life with.
Sometimes, it seems, the Universe wants to see you sweat before handing out the goods.
Other times, a dream that feels totally outside of your direct control, one that you’ve perhaps merely longed for from a distance, is handed to you on a platter. Not unlike winning the lottery without even buying a ticket.
That’s what happened to me this week.
A Dream Comes True, Part 1
Actually, it started the week before that, when I received an email out of the blue, from a certain Joe at the Huffington Post, inviting me to contribute a post for publication.
I’d had a dream to write for the Huffington Post for years, but, aside from poking around the website once for clues as to how to submit for publication there, I’d never made any actual measurable steps toward making that dream come true. And now I get an out-of-the-blue email inviting me to submit?
Apparently the internet gods were smiling on me.
Now it should be said that I had put in a lot of work before that smile beamed down. I’ve poured close to four years of blood, sweat, and tears into the almost 450 posts on my own blog, dozens of guest posts elsewhere, not to mention literally thousands of hours of writing, studying, and building and rebuilding my website.
I didn’t ask what search terms Joe used to find me, but luck, as they say, favors the prepared.
That email from Joe was an opening I was not going to pass up. I had six days to submit a post, a deadline I knew was impossible unless I did some serious shifting of what was already on my plate.
So I shifted.
I rescheduled my live sessions for Your Big, Bold, Creative Life Academy to the following week, and moved everything else that could be moved to after November 6th.
“To-Do List Triage,” I call it.
When the Universe presents you with an opportunity, you take it, come hell or hight water. At least, if you’re living a big, bold, creative life you do — if you’ve learned the skills of quieting the gremlins of self-doubt, leaning into fear, pushing through resistance. If you’ve got tools in your toolbox.
Here’s where it comes in very handy to be headmistress of Your Big, Bold, Creative Life Academy! I teach these things, so hell, yeah, I’ve got those tools! Opportunity knocked, and I was damn sure going to open that door!
A Dream Comes True, Part 2
Here’s the part where I worked my butt off with the explicit intention to make this specific dream come true. Over those six days I wrote the best post I was capable of writing, given the skills that I have right now.
Was I scared? Yessiree!
Was it a perfect post? No freakin’ way!
But my YBBCL Academy tools gave me the power to be okay with that and send it in anyway.
Joe received my submission, thanked me for my “thoughtful post,” and forwarded it to the decision-makers, telling me that if they accepted it (if), I’d hear back within four to five days.
Four days passed. Five days. Six days.
Oh, well, I thought, I didn’t make the cut. Still, like getting an Academy Award nomination, or making the Olympic Team, simply being invited to submit felt like a huge win. And I had a solid post I could tweak and send out to another blog for publication elsewhere.
Then, another email out of the blue from a Huffington Post address — this time, a form letter, not from an individual, but from “blogteam,” welcoming me to the HuffPost blogging platform, with details for how to log in to access the “blogger backstage.”
Turns out, not only had my post been accepted (see screenshot below), but apparently I was now an official HuffPost blogger, granted the power to publish whatever and whenever I wish on HuffingtonPost.com.
Wait, really? You mean my crazy impossible dream — the one that, until busting my butt to write the invited post, I hadn’t even made any actual steps toward realizing — just, like, came true?
“Yes,” said the Universe. “Really. Just like that.”
Sometimes dreams are like that.
A Dreams Comes True, Epilogue
Dreams, you may have noticed, are funny things. “Be careful what you wish for,” they say, because up close, the details rarely turn out the way we imagine they will.
In my “Gee, I’d love to be a HuffPost writer” dream, my new status brings me hundreds of new readers, fans, and subscribers every time I publish a new post. My fan base and mailing list grow by leaps and bounds, and soon every program I offer always fills with a waiting list. My business kicks into turbo gear and my financial worries finally melt away for good.
Heh. Um, yeah, not quite.
Getting invited on board the Huffington Post is not, as it turns out, the ticket to overnight success that I’d imagined it would be.
(Kinda like getting into Juilliard isn’t all cross-disciplinary performing arts utopia and dancing on the cafeteria tables. Something else I learned through experience. But that’s another story.)
One thing to understand about the Universe is that it has a sense of humor. It doesn’t like to make things too easy.
Have you ever read the Huffington Post? It’s enormous.
Yes, the readership is huge, but there are hundreds of new articles on there every single day. It’s not as vast as the entire internet, of course, but it almost might as well be.
In other words, getting published on HuffingtonPost.com does not mean you will be read. It’s still up to each individual writer to promote their work, build an audience, grow a community.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s still great. I have a new platform, one with a lot of potential to extend my reach, my impact, my ability to make a difference.
It’s just not the “free ride” I’d naively imagined it would be. I have to do the work to leverage this new platform, if I want to see a return on my time investment here.
It’s simply a different animal than I’d thought — a gangly, untrained filly, rather than a Triple Crown thoroughbred, complete with jockey.
It’s a shiny feather in my cap, for sure, and with time and effort who knows where it might grow? But I haven’t quite won the lottery.
That’s okay. After all, I never bought a ticket in the first place. It’s still a big, huge win, and a genuine dream come true.
Thank you, Universe!
Check out my first HuffPost post here, and if you’d like notifications when I publish something new on the Huffington Post, click the “Become a fan” link next to my byline. While you’re there, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment (you’ll need to set up a free account in order to do so).
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!