“As children we’re always told to ‘follow our dreams’. But as adults, it breaks my heart to hear so many people discouraging the individuals trying to accomplish them. However, what tears it in two, are the people who are aware they posses such talents to achieve their dreams and then squander them.
I believe every person on this earth has a greatness and a skill which can make them powerful. Unfortunately, so many people today talk about their dreams and very few take any action to make them happen. Don’t get me wrong, whatever you REALLY want to achieve in life is never easily attained. But, so many people today are being discouraged by others that they almost reserve themselves not to take any action to change their situations. So, the real question is how much do YOU want to reach your goal and what are you prepared to sacrifice to get it?
Taking myself as an example, I believe my purpose is to help people. Because of this, I have built my businesses to assist dreamers, like myself accomplish their goals. I’m fortunate as I have been able to do this within an arena I’m passionate about; bike racing. But, it hasn’t all been plain sailing to get here.
At 13 years old, I knew that I wanted to work in the world of motorsport. At 13 years old, I was also told that I would never work within the industry because, a) I was a women and b) I wasn’t smart enough. I was bullied, picked on and ridiculed relentlessly. Back then, I believed given time, it would get better, but it didn’t – it got worse.
But as I got older, I grew more determined to reach my goals. I went to sixth form and eventually university. I failed my second year there and was told I was not clever enough and to re-evaluate my career goals. I didn’t. Instead, I was cleared to complete my third year and I graduated with a 2:1. Even on the day of my graduation, a fellow student told me to jack in my ambitions and travel with them, as it was clear to everyone I would not get a job in motorsport. I declined and 3 weeks later, I began working within British Superbikes. 6 months later, I started my first business. 18 months later, I started my second business as a human performance coach – purely specialising in elite bike racing. So far, the riders that I have worked with have achieved 54 podium places and I am so proud of every one of them.
Despite this, I’m nowhere near reaching my overall goal yet. I want the riders I work with to be the BEST in the world at what they do. Nothing makes me happier than seeing them excel! This means for me to help them, I have to be the best at what I do as well. To get to where you want to be in life requires time – and a shit tonne of it. The sacrifices are sometimes awful. I’ve missed birthdays, Christmas’ and weddings. I’ve found that when some people don’t understand your vision, they are often quick to criticise, rather than ask questions. I’ve been horrendously bullied, sent hate-mail over the internet and ridiculed in person by peers and strangers. I’ve lost out on friendships and fallen away from family because they have not understood my desire to help others thrive. I’ve had relationships break down and my heart broken more than once.
When you’re striving to help others reach their potential, it can sometimes be a lonely place. A friend once asked me, ‘how can you get lonely when you must meet so many people on your travels?’. Let me tell you now, when you’re stood in some of the biggest stadiums in the world and it’s at full capacity with, sometimes that is the loneliest place to be. But when my riders come to me full of happiness, proudly waving there trophies after achieving their dreams, ask me if it is worth it and I’d say yes every time! It’s always important to remember the bigger picture.
For me, if I’m not making someone’s life better or helping them move forward, then I’m wasting my time. But, this requires a high level of commitment from myself. I get up at 5am, travel an hour to work an additional office job four days a week, get back at 7pm, start consultations and then go to bed after the last one at midnight. In between that, I care for my grandfather. Working 19 hour days is exhausting. With my international riders, I sometimes find myself up at 3am doing online consultations to make their lives easier by fitting around their race schedules. Why do I do it? Because when you want your clients to be the best in the world at what they do, you can’t afford to take days off. Why? Because for me to help my clients be the best, I have to work hard to be able to buy the best equipment for them to use during our sessions and for me to provide them with the best session, I have to the best training.
Then there’s all the unseen preparation work. Hours upon hours of writing out individual fitness plans, nutrition plans, mental toughness techniques and massages. Not forgetting loading up of the race van at 2am on your own and the hours upon hours of travelling to the races. I live 8 months on the road either in the back of my van, in hotels or on sofas. I’m a serial sofa surfer. Why? Because for my riders to achieve their goals, its vital I am there when they need me. Why? Because everyday offers them a new opportunity to get one step closer to reaching their goal and if I can help them achieve that more easily and safer, you bet I’ll do it. Sometimes I look around and think, wow – I wish I just worked 9-5pm. But then my alarm goes off at 5am, I get up and start again. Why? Because I believe that if I can help enough people achieve dreams, I will achieve mine also.
So what about you? What is your dream?
If you know what you want out of life, but you also know that you aren’t making those necessary changes to make that happen, I challenge you to make the first step today. Why? Because tomorrow might be too late.
I challenge you to make that call. I challenge you to send that email. I challenge you to make that trip. I challenge you to say goodbye to the people holding you back. I challenge you to override your fears and say what you feel. I challenge you to love yourself. I challenge you to stick it to the man and quit your job. I challenge you to prove the haters wrong and show them how powerful you can be. I challenge you go on a journey that leads you along one path and one path alone – YOUR path. Why? Because it is only when we travel down our own path, that we discover our real purpose in life. It is only then, when we get realise our true potential.
I challenge you to stop waiting for the perfect time to begin making your dream a reality. Why? Because every day counts. Tomorrow is an uncertainty. I’ve lost 7 friends in the last 3 years all under the age of 30. I’m 24 this month but I don’t know whether I’ll be here is 24 hours time, in 24 days or even 24 years time. That’s why I’m taking the risk toady and speaking to about my experiences, in the hope that if you’ve been bullied or told you can’t do something, you’ll know that you also have a greatness inside of you and that greatness that can rise above other peoples lack of faith in you.
The present is the perfect time to take action. Why? Because the present time is YOURS. You own it and you owe it to yourself to use it achieve your dreams. You are responsible for your life and you cannot hold anyone else accountable for your actions. So, I challenge you today to believe that it is no longer enough for you to simply want your dreams to become reality. I challenge you to stand up, break out of your comfort zone and go and make your dreams happen!
There are a lot of people sat down in this world who are not happy with their current situations. There are also a lot of people complaining about how unfulfilled their careers are and how they are unhappy with their lives. Always remember, you will never see a change if you don’t make a change. So, I challenge you to get up and take that leap into the unknown!
If you have faith and vision, you will succeed and achieve your goals. In my experience, there will be people who doubt you and those you try to discourage you. I challenge you today to prove them wrong. But let me tell you now, every step forward you take is a mile in comparison to those who are unwilling to leave their chair. Be passionate and go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others think it is. Never give up.”
Jennifer Duffee, 2015.