How to turn your dreams into reality

Dreaming is a healthy thing to do

We all have dreams. I am not talking about the dreams we experience while sleeping. No need to discuss those here. Rather the dreams we have when we are awake and alive. Visions for the future.

Your dreams may include places you want to visit, people you want to meet, things you want to buy, events you want to experience, or a job you want to have. My list of dreams has always been long.

If you don’t have dreams stop reading now, and think about it.

What dreams do you have?

Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington DC for his famous “I have a dream” speech.

I spent too much time dreaming

For many years I worked really long hours. You may remember this period of my life. It was rare that I was home — always in the office. You boys did not see much of me, except on the weekends.

I justified my long hours in many ways.

One reason I worked so hard was to make more money to support our family.

When I would leave the office late at night I dreamed that we would use the money I earned to take a great family vacation to Europe.

That family vacation to Europe never happened. It remained just a dream.

I would think about it as I headed back to the office. Nose to the grindstone — day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

First, say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do. Life is a grindstone. Whether it wears you down or polishes you up depends on what YOU are made of.
Zig Ziglar

My dreams were not happening

I was working really hard and making more money than at any point in my career. But, my dream of a European summer vacation was not happening.

Why? Simple reason — I was not turning it into reality.

Instead of going to Europe, we continued going to the Outer Banks every summer. Nothing wrong with the Outer Banks. It is a great place for a family vacation. But even the Outer Banks get boring after a few years.

In retrospect, we were in a rut, and I knew it.

None the less, I did not do anything to change the situation.

I was neither proactive nor creative. Instead, I kept doing the same thing over and over which is a common mistake.

We visited the Outer Banks every summer for many years.

I finally decided to make my dream a reality

After your mother and I divorced, I finally decided to make my dream a reality. It was time to dream less and do more.

In the summer of 2015, we went to Bavaria for our summer vacation. It was a great trip. We had a lot of fun. I was really pleased to show you one of my favorite places in the world. Tons to see, do, and experience.

In 2016 we visited another part of Germany and the Alsace region of France.

Last summer we flew to Paris and explored Normandy. We learned about the D-Day invasion when we visited the actual beaches.

Each trip is another dream realized. Another chapter in your book of life. Great times, and fond memories.

Gavin and Riley in Iphofen Germany. They are in front of the house we lived in when Gavin was born.

Three steps to turn your dreams into reality

What changed for me? How did I do it?

It was not complicated. I changed my approach.

Below are the three steps I recommend for turning your dreams into reality.

Avoid falling into a rut and postponing your dreams until another day.

Don’t make the same mistake that I did for years.

1. Figure out what you really want — spend some time dreaming.

Ask yourself questions like — if you could go anywhere in the world next summer where would you go?

If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be?

Don’t limit your thinking by worrying about whether or not you have the time and money for your dreams. Instead write them all down — even the silly ones. The longer the list the better.

This list is sometimes referred to as a bucket list. Everyone should have one.

This step is the easiest and most fun step.

Gavin and Riley at the Eagle’s Nest above the Obersalzberg near the town of Berchtesgaden.

2. Come up with an action plan — pick one of your dreams.

It is probably best to start with one of the easier ones.

Craft a plan for how you are going to make it happen.

Identify the activities you need to complete to make the dream a reality. Some dreams will take a long time, and require a lot of work. Don’t worry about it.

Write down the plan even if you do not know everything it will take.

This step is harder and is not as fun as the first step.

Many people get stuck here because it requires work.

My experience says that the work is worth it.

We considered three options for this year’s Summer vacation to Europe. France, Benelux, or Ireland.

3. Stop waiting…do it — put your plan into action.

Get started.

Focus on the first activity and get going.

You may be worried. You may not really know what you are doing.

You may be scared. I know I have been many times.

The first time I bought our plane tickets to Germany I wondered if it would be worth it. It was.

No worries — you will never know if you don’t try.

Many people never reach this step. They let their fear control their decisions.

It is easier to stay put than to move out.

You know one of my favorite sayings is “move out and draw fire “. It is something I say to myself in moments when I hesitate because of fear.

Riley at Point du Hoc in Normandy France. The dagger monument to Rudder’s Rangers is in the background.

I hope that both of you dream big

Spend time thinking about what you want in your life.

You are young and will not know all the answers. That is fine.

Your dreams can change over time. Mine have.

Let me know what help you need from me.

Let’s get after it.

Let’s make it happen.

I want more, impossible to ignore
Impossible to ignore
And they’ll come true, impossible not to do
Impossible not to do

Dreams by the Cranberries

Where to read more

I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am starting to share relevant content from my blog here. This is my third post on Medium. I hope you enjoy it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.


Originally published at on February 10, 2018.




Leader and learner. husband and father. Novice blogger,, Founder of All The Way Leadership!

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Doug Keating

Doug Keating

Leader and learner. husband and father. Novice blogger,, Founder of All The Way Leadership!

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