How Can You Overcome The Death Of A Dream? A Four Step Guide

Vacation in Tropic Paradise. Jetty on Isla Mujeres, MexicoMy dream died at 5:42PM on February 3, 2014.

My dream was the biggest dream I had ever dared to dream. I had worked successfully toward my dream for twenty years.

Then my dream was gone in an instant.

The death of my dream was, and is, the most devastating event I’ve ever had to deal with. It is even more difficult to deal with than the death of my Dad.

I felt like I had run into a brick wall face first at full speed.

You see, when you put your heart and soul into something and it doesn’t work out (for whatever reasons) you are going to feel pain. Lots and lots of pain.

Intense pain.

Worse yet, the pain keeps coming back again and again. That’s normal. That’s to be expected.

What happened? Well, that’s a long story. A 113,452 word story to be exact. It’s a story with more twists and turns then a great Hollywood movie. One day, I will tell the story, but today is not that day.

We’ve all had dreams die.

Maybe it was the person you fell in love with in high school who wouldn’t go out with you.

Maybe it was your dream to be a professional baseball player.

Maybe it was your dream to be a guitar player in a power-trio.

Maybe it was your dream to be the President or Prime Minister.

Maybe it was your dream to start a business or get promoted.

There’s no way to get around it: it’s going to hurt a lot when your dream dies.

I am not telling you not to dream, not to go for it, or not to try because it’s going to hurt if your dream dies. You absolutely must do precisely that.

I am saying there are ways and tools available to help you when you fall.

The five stages of grief

There’s a process: The Kubler-Ross Model


I believe that losing a dream is in many ways no different than losing a loved-one. Sometimes the pain and hurt from losing a dream can be more intense than when a loved one passes.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote in her book, Death and Dying, that there are five stages to the grieving process. They are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

You may experience some of these stages or none of these stages of the grieving process. You may not experience these stages in order. Some stages may recur.

Whatever you experience or don’t experience, it’s important to know you’re normal and you’re okay.

I went through all five stages since my dream died.   The best advice I have is giving yourself time to grieve. Give yourself however much time it turns out that you need, whether it’s a day, a week, a month, or longer.

The Way Out: A New Dream

It’s so tempting to just settle for something. Don’t, or maybe settle for now as interim step to put money on the table.

But you still need a new dream. You will be unhappy and unfulfilled without a new dream.

Here are the four things that have helped me discover a new dream:


A.  Get your head right.


I’ve written before about how I met wife randomly one Saturday morning coming out of the health club I worked out at. I’ve never talked before about my mindset in the weeks leading up to that meeting.

I was in a really good place. I was happy with my life, and I was in the moment most of the time.

I kept saying to myself in the weeks before meeting my wife, “Something good is going to happen to me.” I didn’t know what it was, but I could just feel it.

I knew something good was going to happen.

I wasn’t trying to bullshit myself. I just felt really, really good.

Then, sure enough, my future wife walks right into my life.

I know it’s tough. You’ve been hurt. The first step is getting your head in a positive mode and mindset. Hal Elrod’s fantastic book, The Miracle Morning, is a great way to jumpstart the process.

You will realize that anything is possible after reading what Hal has been through.


B.  Visualize what you want in your life.


Write down what you want in all areas of your life. How much money do you want to make? Where would you live? What would your house look like? What type car would you drive? What type of work would you do? How would relationships be?

Don’t worry about whether you think it’s realistic. Just write it down. Then start visualizing these ideas like you already have these things in your life. Visualize these things before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning.

Your mind will begin working on closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Magically, ideas will start coming to you.

I had this new business idea for a while, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it happen. I knew what the end result I wanted was, so I visualized that.

The solution came to me out of nowhere while I was driving. I pulled over, and I wrote in my notebook exactly what I needed to do. This leads to part three…


C.  Be sure to write the ideas down, so you don’t lose them.


One of these ideas may help you achieve your new dream or be your new dream.

Keep a note pad or use of one of the many free voice recorder apps available today. Don’t rely on your memory because you will forget the idea.

Now you have an idea and a way to implement the idea. There’s only one step left..


D.  Most important, take action.


Visualization does you no good unless you do something. You are going to need take action. In fact, you are going to need to take lots of continual action to get the job done.


Expect to stumble and fall along the road to success


You’re going down your new path. You have a new dream you are shooting for.

You are likely to hit some roadblocks, and that’s okay. In fact, you may find you need to modify your new dream or abandon it entirely.

That's okay because you can have multiple dreams at once.

Some of the dreams can be big, and some of the dreams can be small. The dreams can be in multiple areas of your life.


Remember the story of Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, worked as a boatman, store clerk, surveyor, militia soldier, and lawyer before finally becoming a successful politician. Lincoln went through five careers before he found his true calling as a politician.

Think about that. Lincoln, arguably the greatest president in United States history, went through five different careers before he found his calling. It makes you wonder how many times his dreams were crushed along the way.

Blossom told me right after we got married that life doesn’t move in a straight line. Just remember to have a dream (or better, lots of dreams) to shoot for as you zig and zag your way through life.


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Pictures: Depositphotos