Many expressions lose their meaning over time, one such expression is, ”I’m waiting for my ship to come in!” The picture I instantly get in my mind, when I hear someone use this expression is a person:

“Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun

I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes

Watchin’ the ships roll in

Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay

Watchin’ the tide roll away,

I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay

Wastin’ time”

The lyrics of this popular song by Otis Redding describes the vicious cycle that we can find ourselves in if we are not careful. We can become people who haven’t narrowed down what we’re passionate about and are unhappy with our current situation, but don’t take the necessary steps toward prosperity and purpose.

The original meaning of “waiting for my ship to come in” originates from centuries ago when people invested money into merchant shipping companies to buy shares of the ship or cargo that returned. When the ship returned they would receive a return on their investment. Overlooking the crucial step of investing instead of just waiting for everything to magically come together, is the reason why we may never see our ship come in.

When we watch people around us on a dock celebrating the return of their ship and the cargo on-board. We can be deceived to believe that all it takes is to wait by the dock and wait for a ship to come in and claim the profits. We are just witnessing the “after” of others, but there are unavoidable steps taken “before” the ship sets sail and returns to dock. Most people are waiting for ships that have never set sail yet. The following steps are helpful to get started and pursue your dreams.

Step 1: Pack

There is nothing more frustrating than to run out of gas before you get to your destination. Before you can set sail, you must pack enough supplies for the voyage. Dreams need to be fed to stay healthy during the trip, so pack plenty of food. So how do you feed a dream, what do they eat to thrive? Dreams feast upon faith, someone must believe in the dream for it to stay healthy and grow, then it eventually becomes reality. Doubt is cancerous to dreams and you must pack plenty of faith to protect your dreams from being infected and killed by doubt. Here’s a short list of what you may want to pack:

  • Fire Extinguisher

During the trip, you may encounter ‘fires’ that can grow out of control and consume the ship and end the journey. Fires are usually the result of negligence, and/or poor planning. Accidents happen, mistakes are made that are counterproductive. Don’t get stuck thinking on “I should have seen that coming!”, “I have no idea what I’m doing!”, “Why did this happen now?” Don’t panic, the worse thing to do in a fire is to panic!

During the trip you may encounter ‘fires’ that can grow out of control and consume the ship and end the journey.

Grab your fire extinguisher and put the fire out. Your fire extinguisher is your attitude! You can stand there and play the blame game as the fire grows and continues to destroy, or you can put out the fire and move forward. Have an attitude that doesn’t allow you to give up. Remember your dream, so it can fuel an attitude that will start a fire on the inside, an attitude that can help you put out any fires on the outside.

  • First Aid Kit

Personal injury is also a possible threat as you make your way to your destiny. The injury hardest to heal from is that of the heart. People who are held close to your heart may discourage you during your journey by focusing on why it won’t work. On the surface, they may make valid points about how impossible the situation appears. Don’t let the facts keep you from your goals.

Don’t allow your heart to repeatedly be crushed by doubt!

We can be guilty of self-inflicted damage to our hearts by our ‘ear-diet'(the things we listen to and accept). This is when you open your first aid kit and apply a “heart-guard”, yes, guard your heart. Don’t allow your heart to repeatedly be crushed by doubt! The First Aid Kit can also be applied to wounds sustained before the journey even begins. Some of us have been wounded for years from ‘heart attacks’, just being bombarded repeatedly to give up on your goals and dreams. In some cases, ‘heart attacks’ can cause paralysis and keep you stuck in the same spot.

  • Life Jackets

This is not a plan B, creating a plan B is admitting to yourself that failure is unavoidable, this is something that helps you stay afloat if you are thrown unexpectedly into the water.

You may find yourself in situations where it appears everything is falling apart at once. The Life Jacket will keep you from going under, whether you are conscious of it, or not, whether you acknowledge it, or not, and it gives you time to assess your current situation and recover. The Life Jacket is different for everybody, it’s the thing that helps you to overcome obstacles amid overwhelming odds. God, family, love, greed, hate, pride are a few ‘Life Jackets’ that we put on to go further than we normally would in tough situations. Pride, hate, and greed may not be honorable, but they have pushed people just as strongly, but can cause severe trauma if relied on constantly.

  • Extra Items

We must be prepared for different climates during our journey.  These items may not seem important, but under certain circumstances the lack of these items can cause complaining and take the joy out of your trip. Complaining may lead to you having a bad attitude. We are creatures of habit, we tend to be overjoyed one minute, and the next minute something minor can easily upset us. So, these extra items can keep us from being tossed back and forth emotionally. These extra items are different from the ‘Life Jacket’ in that they are not meant to be used in an emergency. It’s something that means the world to you, but may have no importance to anyone else. Items that allow or motivate you to do a task better, it may be a promise made to a deceased loved one, a drawing made by your child, or…well, you get the point.

  • Books

This is a great resource to have on your trip. As with any long trip, there are times when you are just ‘bored’. These are the times when you have done everything you can and are waiting for a response to dictate your next move. Gather a variety of books discussing topics you love, especially on topics that address the dream you are pursuing. Books detailing how others overcame their adversities are invaluable to maintaining and fostering a positive attitude needed for success. A much-needed answer may be found in someone else’s story of victory.

  • Map

A detailed plan should be laid out, this is your map to your goal and dream. Your map is helpful if you lose your focus and get off track, and will remind you of where you are going, and how much progress has been made toward that objective.

The map can be revised during the journey if you encounter something that was not charted on the map, such as unforeseen obstacles that force you to take another route. The map can be easily read by others, so they can help keep you accountable and make suggestions if they foresee avoidable dangers in your path.

  • Two Way Radio

Emergencies can occur at anytime, it is important to have your lines of communication open always if you get into trouble and need help. This two-way radio should be accessible to people you trust with your life.

Usually dreams demand that you put everything on the line to see them come to pass. If you rely on people who don’t genuinely want to see you succeed in everything you do, then you may be setting yourself up to fail. People who are not passionate about what you are passionate about will only drain any positive energy you have left keeping you afloat.

  • Flares

In extreme cases, you may need immediate help at your current location, until your usual support system can answer the call. These people are usually complete strangers or acquaintances that have enough compassion and know-how to assist you, until help can arrive. There is a possibility that some of these complete strangers or acquaintances will go beyond just a temporary ‘Good Samaritan’ gesture, and become people committed to supporting you until your destination is realized.

Step 2: Prepare Mentally

Make up your mind that you are in it for the long haul and get rid of excuses. Don’t be intimidated by what you are facing or feeling.

Stress is a given during this journey, and can affect you mentally, physically, and emotionally. The goal is not to eliminate all stress, but to manage it, and use it to your advantage. This takes practice, lots of practice. Mental imagery can be used to review your proper reaction to different situations. Make sure you resolve any issues with your personal and work relationships. A lack of forgiveness can stew in the back of your mind so long that it becomes a part of you. A part of you that will impede your progress if not dealt with. Most of all forgive yourself if you beat yourself up on how your life would’ve been different, if you’d made better choices.

Another reason why your ship has not come in yet, is that you may be waiting on someone else to do it. You must be on that ship when it sets sail and when it returns. Who else is going to be as passionate about your dream as you? No one!

Another reason why your ship has not come in yet, is that you may be waiting on someone else to do it. You have to be on that ship when it sets sail and when it returns. Who else is going to be as passionate about your dream as you? No one!

Make up your mind that you are in it for the long haul and get rid of excuses. Don’t be intimidated by what you are facing or feeling. The earth is filled with vast oceans to explore, but some of us have barely ventured outside our neighborhood, state, or country. Get rid of that “I have nothing to live for”, “I’m happy where I’m at” mentality, and finally find your purpose by pursuing and accomplishing your dreams.

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