What does it take to find our path in life—our “true north”—and ultimately be successful? “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm,” Winston Churchill once said. It takes courage to stumble through failure on our path to greatness, and courage is at the heart of making our dream a reality. Courage is both the ability to do something that frightens us and finding strength in the face of pain or grief. Although it sounds simple, we need to find and develop our courage and dare to follow our dreams.

Know Our Gift

We are all born with a gift or talent. What are we passionate about? What makes our soul sing? What makes us forget time when we are involved in it? It is okay if, in the beginning, we don’t feel like we have any artistic ability or are naturally good at sports; having an intense interest is what matters. What would we do if we knew that we couldn’t fail or, better yet, what would we do even if we knew we might fail but want to try because we love it that much?

Make Space

We are constantly over-extending ourselves; involved in numerous activities that take us away from spending time on ourselves; or spending hours mindlessly trolling the internet, watching television or texting. Do we spend time with people who sap our energy or don’t support our dreams? Do we have difficulty saying no? For anything to grow there has to be space for it, much like planting seedlings in the ground. Without the proper amount of space, light and nutrients, they won’t flourish and neither will we. Eliminate toxic relationships or people who do not add to our lives. We know they are toxic if they leave us feeling anxious, unsure of ourselves, sad or generally exhausted. Stop spending time in places that are distractions. Take a hard look at how much time is spent doing things other than working on our goal or dream. Start spending time with people who share interests, visit places and attend events that are in line with our dreams and goals, and leave us feeling inspired, not exhausted.

Inner Dialogue

What are we telling ourselves we are capable of or deserve to have? Develop a daily practice of positive self-talk or affirmations related to a dream or goal. “I am a successful artist making more money than I ever dreamed,” “I am a successful chef renowned for my cooking,” and “I have a thriving landscaping business” are examples of what we can tell ourselves. We are a product of our thoughts and what we believe about ourselves. Our inner world is our creation; it can be positive and filled with support and love or it can be dark and discouraging. The choice is up to us.


It is estimated that the average American reads approximately one book per year. Imagine if we read one book on our given subject a month. In five years, we could be a virtual expert on the subject. Dedicate time each day to working on that dream or goal. Start by taking five minutes every morning and evening by writing on the subject. What can we write about that might make a difference? It only takes one spark to start a fire and one good idea can be a game changer.

Your Team

Having a team of supporters who encourage and support us is essential. What is perhaps as important as having actual people in our lives that can provide us with this are the supports we create in our minds. Our brain doesn’t know the difference between who and what is real in our memory and who or what is our own creation. Take some time to think about people who will give unconditional love and support; these people do not have to be people you know. It can be a celebrity, a television character, a lost loved one, or even animals who will provide us with protection. Spend 10 minutes a day visualizing these people surrounding us and connect to what it physically feels like in our bodies to be in their presence. What words of encouragement do they have? What is it like to have that kind of energy around? Practice this daily and this feeling will become part of us; we can take our “team” on the road with us.

Tara Murphy is a licensed professional counselor, licensed alcohol and drug counselor and certified yoga teacher. She has worked in behavioral health for over 15 years and currently has a private practice in West Hartford and Cheshire, CT. Connect at TaraTherapyCT.com, Facebook.com/ TaraTherapyCT and 203-871-1540.