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What To Do When You Doubt You Can Achieve Your Dream

By: Brian Kim - November 16, 2006

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On the journey toward the accomplishment of your dream, there will be times when you will severely doubt that you can achieve them. That’s perfectly normal. Don’t think you’re weak because of it. In fact, that doubt only serves to make you stronger.

It usually starts out with you doing something that doesn’t go the way you thought it would. Perhaps you bombed the job interview of your dreams. The bank didn’t give you the loan for your business. One of your clients fired you.

You then start a dangerous downward spiral. You imagine the worse case scenario that ensues because what you worked on doesn’t go the way you planned. You get that sinking feeling in your gut. You start questioning yourself as to whether or not you should keep on pursuing your dream. Hope is dwindling. The fears are piling. You’re about ready to throw in the towel. What do you do then?

1. Breathe

Deep breaths.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

Deep breaths. Inhale, exhale.

When you do that, really concentrate on your breathing.


Three reasons.

1. It gets you back in the present moment.

At the point when you are most down, you are probably projecting the worse case scenario way into the future. You have to travel back to this present moment in time because that is all that matters. Not the past, not the future, but now. NOW.

2. It reminds you that YOU are in control.

When you concentrate on your breathing, you become aware that it is YOU that is controlling YOU. You tap back into your power of personal responsibility. You are in control of yourself. You and nobody else. It is only YOU who makes or breaks YOU.

3. It clears your head

Your mind was probably like a tornado when you were spiraling down, thinking of every conceivable worse case scenario, but when you concentrate on breathing, you go back to simplicity. You clear your head of all that negativity and all that's on your mind now is the simple act of breathing.

After you do that, then what?

2. Focus on what you want.

Stop focusing on what you don’t want. That’s what caused your downward spiral in the first place. Now that you’re back in the present moment and know that you’re in control, start to focus on what you want to happen. Visualize it. Repeat the end goal you want to achieve over and over again in your mind.

This shifts your focus away from your fears and back onto your dreams.

Now what?

3. Ask How.

I love the word how. Ask yourself how you can move toward your goals today. List some action items you can do today to move toward your goals to alleviate any doubt and fears and execute them.

The reason why how is such a powerful word is that it silently bypasses any lingering doubts you have. The very nature of using the word how implies, or is contingent upon the fact that you believe you’ll succeed. How can I get that job? How can I get that business loan? How can I get that client back? You already know it’s going to happen. Now it’s just a question of how.

Then, when you take action on those items, your fears and doubt will slowly start to dissipate and you’ll get back into your flow again.

Many people immediately try to jump directly into action mode when things are bad, but that doesn’t really work. You’ve got to come back to the present moment, realize you’re in control, focus on what you want, figure out what you can do now on how to get what you want, and THEN implement those action items.

Rebuild the foundation first. Then take action.

You’ll feel a lot better afterwards. I guarantee it.

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8 Responses to “What To Do When You Doubt You Can Achieve Your Dream”

  1. Lisa Roberson Says:

    Awesome, Brian - awesome! Very timely message, indeed!

    I have been floundering a bit this week in my resolve and confidence and motivation and, well, just all of it!

    I even woke up to “Notification of Payment Received” in my inbox and that didn’t even excite me - I thought someone had just ordered one Not Your Typical Santa Letter…which would just be $10 - and I haven’t even come up with the money to buy the December package goodies! ugh. BUT! When I finally made myself open it - I saw that she ordered 6 months, and that plus my little bit of ChaCha.com money - was enough for me to make my December order! Yea!

    So I was feeling a bit uplifted…inching up there, ya know.

    Then I catch your wonderfully nice email! Uplifting quite a bit more here now! :)

    Then I popped over to read your blog - and lo and behold - the PERFECT made-for-me-today post is waiting for me!!

    I can do this!


    I’m breeeathing “aahhh” and back in the saddle!

    Thanks for helping me get there!

    (This line - “Many people immediately try to jump directly into action mode when things are bad, but that doesn’t really work.” - yes, that is where I have been the last few days….and it was NOT working!)

    Have a great day, Brian!

  2. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Glad things are working out. Funny how the things you need always come at the right time eh ;)

    I”m glad I could help.

    You have a great day as well!

  3. Niloy Says:

    Thank you. :)

    I was feeling severely down lately about the outcome of my one major goal.. and yeah, it helped. Thanks! :) I didn’t really believed that I could be helped by at this state of mind…

    You have no idea how helpful your work is for so many people and how thankful they are to you for your help… :)

  4. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Niloy,

    I’m glad I was able to help and thank you for the kind words! I really appreciate it.

    If I helped at least one person, my work was not in vain ;)


  5. Shaun Says:


    What a well placed link to your article. I was reading your latest entry, feeling a bit down because of some recent negative comments aimed at me and my goals, when I notice this article’s title in your sidebar. I click it, focus on breathing as instructed, and I’m back in the present. Everything that you described I was probably doing — imagining what I don’t want, imagining the worst, fearing the “tornado” tearing apart my future — I truly was doing before you calmed me down.

    Thank you.


  6. Pasiekti svajonÄ™: pirmoji pagalba Says:

    […] Man patiko rašytojo Brian Kim patarimai: […]

  7. Brian Kim Says:


    I’m glad the article helped you when you needed it!

  8. Rose Says:

    a very inspiring article! I have read quite a few of your articles and I have to say that they are all inspiring! I have a Working From Home Blog - since I work from home and there are always stories of people who despite the criticism that they get they continue to “press” on in pursuit of their dreams.

    It seems so simple in the advice of focusing on what you do want - but in practice it is quite hard for lots of us - including me! - LOL! But basically focusing on what you DO want is what it is you have to do - period!

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