5 Keys To Following Our Dreams

This past Sunday, I had the great pleasure of sharing an impromptu lunch with a friend who embodies pure love and enthusiasm. He oozes goodness, and has a zest and an appreciation for life that’s as innocent as a young child. I always come away from spending time with him feeling inspired. The ostensible reason for breaking bread together this past Sunday was because he wanted to talk about book publishing. He’s in the process of creating a children’s picture book that’s aimed at helping children with cancer and their families. Because he’s such a beautiful exemplar of diving fully into following Divine Inspiration, I’d like to share 5 keys to letting our dreams carry us that I’ve gleaned from him.

Key #1: Be open to guidance

GuidanceMy friend has a very pure and clear connection to his soul, his God. That’s why he effortlessly exudes pure goodness, authenticity, and love. This project idea started as nothing more than a spark of Divine Guidance that ignited a burning desire within him and unleashed a passionate pursuit with full gusto. The energy with which he talks about this project is far more infectious than I could ever do justice with words here. By being fully open to inner guidance without any judgment or need to control how it unfolds, my friend allows himself to be led into a project that connects with his soul and expresses his Divine Essence and Creativity.

Key #2: Be a vessel for a greater good

One of the biggest reasons why my friend inspires others whenever he talks about this project is because it’s for a great cause. Even though he’s having a ton of fun with it, it isn’t about him, but about who he hopes to serve, i.e., children with cancer and their families who are affected. I’ve heard him talk passionately and empathetically about what he has learned, including how to be gently truthful with kids about the reality of their illness in a way that they can understand and which empowers them. He has also learned that it’s important to help siblings of cancer patients, who often feel left out and insignificant when all the adult attention goes to their sick brother or sister. He has learned so much about the medical and psychological needs of everyone affected by a child with cancer that it fuels his deepest desire to help each party. I can’t remember the last time I felt more humbled or inspired by someone with such a genuine, heartfelt cause powering a personal project of love.

Key #3: Connect with your burning desire

Related to the above point, a cause only becomes a powerful driver if and only if it ignites that burning desire within us. I’m sure you’ll agree that there are many great causes around the world, from poverty to hunger to education to different forms of social/political justice and environmental preservation. Unless something really grabs our heart and hits that spot in our soul that can’t be denied, it remains only a noble cause that someone else can get behind, just not us, no matter how critical it is in its own right.

With my friend, this book project, in no uncertain terms, fuels the inferno within him that brings forth the expression of his personal power, passion and creativity. If there’s a single prayer to have vis-à-vis your dreams, pray to be shown what would ignite that burning desire within you to serve. Once you know that, living any other life without it is simply not an option. It’s the stuff of truly coming alive and living passionately on purpose.

Receiving helpKey #4: Ask for and accept help

Last week, I wrote about being open to receiving, which requires us to know ourselves and be humble and secure enough to ask for help. With my friend, what started off as a question of whether he should find an agent or self-publish quickly turned into a bigger discussion of what may be the best course of action to get his book into as many hands as he could help. I suggested that, given the topic, his best bet might be to get a local children’s hospital to sponsor his project, instead of doing it all by himself. We discussed how that would take care of his production, operational and marketing needs and be a win-win for everyone involved, i.e., sponsor, target audience and him. You should have seen his face and eyes light up more and more as we dove further into some very realistic possibilities to fulfill his dream.

Just as a side note, synchronicity struck in the midst of our inspired discussion to validate that we were on the right track. At one point, I felt compelled to look to the street next to where we were sitting in an outdoor restaurant (bless the mild California weather and sunshine!). What I saw at that very moment was a van stopped at a red light exactly next to our table with the name and logo of the very children’s hospital we were discussing—even though we were nowhere near the hospital! Both my friend and I marveled at the thumbs-up from the universe. It was definitely a Divine moment in a Divine conversation!

Key #5: Be willing to take inspired action

DreamsOne of the most inspiring qualities of my friend is how thoroughly willing he is to do whatever it takes to carry out what’s his to do. Since he accepted this Divine Assignment, he has had to be very disciplined and methodical about his day-to-day life. He still works full-time at his day job, takes online classes to learn illustration besides the actual creation/production time, and interviews kids and their families, as well as doctors, medical technicians and social workers. Meanwhile, he also tends to other aspects of his life, including staying connected with his family outside the U.S. and supporting his partner in the latter’s dream of being an actor and a film-maker. He has had to make adjustments to when he does what, such that everything and everyone that/who requires his attention in his life receives his heart. And, with all that, he’s still the happiest and most present person you’ll ever have the honor of meeting. There’s no sign of strain or wear-and-tear from being a martyr or from obligatory giving. He’s unequivocally a presence of pure, gracious love and authentic enthusiasm.

Can you begin to see why I’m so inspired and humbled by this great guy?

At the end of our lunch, my friend thanked me profusely for spending time with him and for my advice. Yet, to me, his presence and the interaction we had fed me so fully that I felt I was 100% on the receiving end of Love and Grace. It also made me appreciate how we’re each but a tiny thread in the greater tapestry of life. Who would have thought that the investments I made in following my own Divinely inspired dream of becoming the published author of REACH Your Dreams would have such great spinoff benefits to another and his dream more than a year later?

Before I gush any further, let me close by summarizing what I’ve learned from my inspired friend: Be open and willing to connect with our burning desire that emanates from our soul to serve something quite possibly much greater than us. Be open and willing to ask for and accept help. There’s greater power to be leveraged if we don’t insist on going it alone.

As always, would love for you to share your thoughts/feelings below in the comment box before you leave here today.


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About Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Alice Chan, Ph.D., a former award-winning Cornell professor, runs the market intelligence function of a global medical devices company. Her soul mission in life is to inspire and help others to live fearlessly from their hearts. She’s the author of the book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life, and creator of the program, 30 Days to Living Your Best Life. All content on this blog and website is her own, not the opinions of her employer.

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spartapoet like.author.displayName 1 Like

Powerful read!  There lies no shame in asking for advice and help.  I admire your friend for being so stong!  I have had many a time when I seeked help from close ones and looking back to those times reminds me that I am no less a human and cannot go alone through life, that I too need a warm hand to hold, a helpful voice and a patient soul that understands my call. This wonderful 'guidance of yours is truly felt within, thank you...thank you for being here.

DrAliceChan moderator

@spartapoet Thank you very much for sharing your experience, Sal. As one of my favorite authors, Dr. Robert Holden, says, "As long as you're alive, you need help." I wasn't always good about receiving help, because I didn't feel worthy and didn't want to be a burden. But, in reality, we're all a thread in the grand tapestry of life. Whether or not we feel like it, our lives are interwoven with one another's. It's counter-nature to try to go it alone. By joining hands, accepting help and offering help, we progress together. Thank you for joining in this discussion!


Thank you for sharing alice. I had actually forgotten my dreams my inner feelings. Sue

Harleena Singh (@harleenas)
Harleena Singh (@harleenas) like.author.displayName 1 Like

Beautiful indeed Alice! Your friend is truly inspirational in all senses, and you are indeed lucky to have such a wonderful friend. :) He is doing and working for a great cause, and I can so well relate to this because I lost my Mom to cancer also a few years back. So, such people are commendable indeed. Yes indeed, you need to be open and have that fire or desire within you for doing what you do, even if you are working at other things. Unless that drive isn't there, your work doesn't show real results. And there's absolutely no harm asking for help, in fact we have a great examples of people like Mother Teresa who was one such person too. Thanks for sharing, and I wish your friend all the very best with his children's book as well :)

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thank you for being here and sharing your comments, Harleena! Sorry to hear about your mom's passing...both my maternal grandparents died of cancer (within 6 months of each other) when I was just a child. It was very hard on my mom. I'll be sure to pass on your heartfelt wishes to my friend. I believe he'll do great with the series (it won't be just one book!). I'm grateful to be able to bear witness to how he continues to blossom in his greatness as a vessel of a higher purpose!

Jon M (@ThinDifference)
Jon M (@ThinDifference)

Alice, You are so fortunate to have this friend! What great advice... wonderful 5 keys. It reminds me of Bob Goff and his recent book Love Does. It is about living fully and as a verb. These 5 keys embrace this mindset. Thank you! Jon

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Yes, Jon, I do feel very blessed to have wonderful people in my life, including this friend. And the blessings keep multiplying! Love the title of the book you referenced, "Love Does." Will have to check it out sometime! Thank you for connecting that with my post!

Deone Higgs (@Deone_Higgs)
Deone Higgs (@Deone_Higgs) like.author.displayName 1 Like

WOW, Alice! This is a wonderfully powerful post! It's in total alignment with where I am in my personal journey and the one I'm on in writing my first novel. I started writing the book when I was in a more angry place in my life, I had just lost my mother and experienced a series of events with my family that left me bitter and vengeful. However, since that all took place over two years ago, I've been able to become a lot more forgiving of the injustices I believed had been carried out against me. I'm more at peace with how things turned out now, which means I've been making some major changes in the story. The revenge I sought and thought I needed has dissipated and it has left me continuously seeking spiritual guidance from the Higher Power to help me with the broken pieces of my journey. The keys you have shared here is exactly what I needed to read right now. I had already planned to take about two weeks to free myself up from my blogging obligations and duties. And I'm hoping that during that time being away will be exactly what I need to bring this journey to its completion. I'm mostly doing it for the keys you've shared here (#1, #2, #3, and #5). I know that I need to listen to what the Divine Guidance is telling me right now. And it cannot fully be done going about it the way I've been doing about it. I just hope that If the need arises (and I'm sure it will) I will be able to do key #4. I'm still learning to let my guard down in that area. :) Thank you so much for sharing your insights here. You have confirmed exactly what I've been thinking lately that needs to take place. I'm sure it won't be easy for me, but I know that greater is the power within me, than the power that I'm up against. I SO needed to read this. Thank You. <3

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Deone, thank you so much for your very powerful and honest share! You know something? You deserve HUGE kudos for being willing to be honest with yourself about being angry before and now being willing to let go. Also, major awareness on knowing that you need some space to check in on your perspective and be open to receiving Divine Guidance. Willingness is a HUGE step toward healing and transformation. So, you're already there, my brother! Know that I'm rooting for you and cheering you on in this beautiful segment of your journey. By doing so, you inspire others to embrace their own healing and transformation as well. Deepest gratitude for your share!

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