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What dreams are made of!

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Support Worker and blogging aficionado Paul Stirling has always had one dream, one he dedicated much of his young adult life to. His dream was to grow a beard. In this post, Paul looks at the idea of a dream and what we can do to achieve our own.

When I was 14, I thought the secret to being a hit with the ladies was to have a beard. Now, I know all it means is that people think you're a decade older than you actually are. Although being 14, a skinny, I mean SUPER skinny kid, with very little confidence and with no real muscles to show off, I was pinning A LOT of hope on developing a beautiful, majestic thick beard. Below is proof as to why I wanted, no needed a beard… and probably a better haircut too.

I can remember being very excited about going to a Christian summer festival for young people, and apart from looking forward to the activities happening throughout the week, it was the girls I was interested in. There was only one thing for it...I needed a beard.

I had heard and read various advice on how to grow such a beard, which pretty much led me to one conclusion: I needed to shave everyday. The logic behind this was that the hair would grow back darker and thicker.

From the time I had researched it, I had 8 weeks to prepare. In my mind this was plenty of time. The fact that at this point in time I only had a few whiskers on my spotty chin was irrelevant. I mean, I was going to be shaving EVERYDAY! That would surely secure me the beard of my, and the entire female populations, dream's, right?

Eight weeks later, nothing. What on earth had gone wrong? I had shaved every flipping day. I had worked for this and was expecting to reap the success.

Obviously,  now at the age of 28 I've figured out where I went wrong. That's right, you guessed it...I didn't use a Gillette razor! Other than that, I probably under-estimated the amount of time puberty takes. But mainly, I think it was the razor.

Everyone needs a dream. My dream was a beard, yours however, might not be. Martin Luther King famously said “I have a dream”. His dream was slightly bigger than mine. His dream was to eradicate racial hate and to establish equality for all, regardless of skin colour. Every person that has ever accomplished something extraordinary has always had a dream. Having a dream is a necessity in order to accomplish something great, because what opposes you normally seems insurmountable. The dream changes your perspective, instead of seeing the problem, you see something bigger and better.

What dreams are made of 2

Me and my beard on holiday

“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood…I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character…this is our hope.”  Martin Luther King.

For most of the people I support their dream is normally fashioned by need. They are homeless…their dream is a home. They are in debt…their dream is to be debt free and managing their money well. They are socially isolated and suffer from anxiety…their dream is to have friends and feel as though they belong. They are unemployed…their dream is to work and feel as though they contribute to society.  

Here in Northampton, under the mental health service that I work under,  we can only support an individual for a maximum of 6 months. Because of this it’s imperative to maximise the focus of our support. We want to deliver an awesome service, because we want to make the biggest impact possible on the lives of those we support. The easiest way to do this in by using SMART targets. If you don’t know what a SMART target is, it is a goal that is:

S – Specific

M – Measurable   

A – Achievable       

R – Realistic   

T – Timed       

It sounds boring I know, it doesn’t feel inspirational, I am literally yawning while writing it, but it’s true. Dreams are essential, but we need to act if we want to realise them, and we can only act when we know what, how, and by when we are expecting to meet our goals. My goal of growing a beautiful, thick beard was very specific, and I even had a time that I wanted it by, but where I let myself down was that my goal wasn’t realistic. 

For my work, helping people to see how they will accomplish something is the important first step, as it removes the mystique of “How will this ever be different!?” that most people seem to carry.

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” Christopher Reeve

That’s how I see what we do at Bromford Support. We are in the business of inspiring people to have a dream and then support them to achieve it through planning and hard work.  It’s not always as straightforward as that, but that’s what makes this such a great job, it keeps me on my toes.  

  1. So what’s your dream?  And how will you achieve it?

Comment, tweet or get in touch, it’d be great to hear what your dream is and what you are doing about it! Plus, if you’re dream was to also grow a beard, tweet me, we should start a club.

You can follow Paul Stirling on Twitter on @Paul_Stirling1

Read more of Paul's post on his own blog.