t’s Time to Release that Emergency Brake Holding You Back

My grandparents must have had the steepest driveway in the entire state of New Jersey. Ascending it as a child sitting in the back seat seemed like climbing Mt. Everest. I mean the car was practically vertical — or at least it felt that way. Being seven and having no clue about the laws of physics, I thought sure that Buick would plummet backwards taking me with it. Of course, that never happened and besides, my grandpa always set the emergency brake.

Release the Brake and Move Forward

New Jersey is hilly like a stack of biscuits, whereas Florida, where I live now, is more like flatbread. Yet, I still feel the need to set the emergency brake even in the slightest of inclines. Every time I do, I forget I did. I get back into the car, shift into drive and wonder why there’s so much resistance in moving forward.

In my defense, Firestone says we’re actually supposed to engage the emergency brake, aka parking brake, every time we park. Who knew?

While we certainly can’t expect to drive with the emergency brake engaged, there’s another brake that stops us from moving forward as well. It’s in our minds and it’s called fear — the fear of falling, failing, and facing setbacks. We are so afraid of plummeting backwards into some abyss, that we miss moving forward and experiencing what’s on the other side of our fears.

Here’s a Thought

Maybe we’re not taking enough risks. Maybe we’re putting the brakes on our own dreams. What kind of risks? Exposure and transparency. Instead of putting our work and ideas out there, we’re putting on the brakes and bringing creativity to a halt. Here’s a better idea for our ideas — let’s do the homework and get them in front of people who can help us make things happen.

Are you with me?

If you’re a writer, get your writing out there. If you’re an artist, get your art out there. A speaker, get your words out there. Apply this to any dream you have and out there means anywhere that isn’t hidden under a bushel where nobody sees or appreciates it. Stop trying to be good enough because we’ll never be good enough — waiting for good enough is an emergency brake mentality.

Even when you feel it’s not your best work, you need new perspectives outside your own. Maybe you don’t send that query letter straight to ten agents, but you share it in a critique group. That’s a slight risk with a safety net. It’s getting yourself out there. Even our roughest draft is valuable.

That best selling author? 

I’d venture to say he or she may be looking at their current manuscript right now and thinking it’s their worst work ever. But they keep writing anyway. Because they’ve taken risks before, and those risks paid off — not only in monetary ways but in priceless ways.

The emergency brake mentality will always tell you what you’re doing is not your best so wait until it’s better. But better never comes unless we’re sharing and growing. It takes grit and bravery to release the brake — and it’s worth every bit of what you’ve got to push it out.

Because aren’t you tired of all the old cliches of running after, chasing after, and following after your dream? If you keep running and chasing and following you’re going to eventually burn out and give up — because what you really need to do is catch your dream. 

So here’s… 

7 ways to catch your dream

1. First, figure out if the dream is actually your dream. We may be chasing after someone else’s dream — longing to do what they do and have what they have. We need to make our dream our own and partner with God in His plans for us. Of course, we will have similar aspirations and steps in common with those who share dreams in our same arena, but we are all walking our own walk. We probably have more than one dream, so narrowing it down to one main dream likely ties them together in some way. Tether them in a bunch and see how they connect. You may find the smaller dreams are actually facets of the larger one. Create a mission statement and action plan that includes all the facets of your one big dream. Hone in and close in.

2. Do it before you feel ready. There comes a time when we have to say, enough! Enough signing up for webinars and e-courses and just do what we are trying to learn how to do. I’m not saying stop taking the courses or stop learning from webinars — what I’m saying is, we can keep learning while we’re doing what we were born to do. God rarely used anyone who already had it going on. He journeyed with them and equipped them along the way, but the point is, they were moving forward as they learned. Notebooks full of notes will only take you so far.

3. Surround yourself with supportive friends. If you’ve read my stuff you may have heard this before. I’m passionate about this one. Support can make or break you or brake you (not a typo). We were never meant to journey this life alone. God is with us always, true story, but He is the one who tells us we need a community. Dispel toxic people who intimidate you into applying the brakes on your dream. Of course, by dispel I mean walk away from them not kill them, although sometimes that thought might cross your mind. Instead, gather with people who support your dream and lift you up.

4. Be encouraged by people who have been where you are. You know those conference speakers? Those best-selling authors? Those influencers? How often have they bared their souls and shared all the many rejections they have received over the years? How many times have they told us that at some point in their lives, they almost gave up? For some reason, we don’t get that — or maybe we don’t believe it. Maybe we believe it but we believe they have something we do not. They don’t. Do you know what separates them from us? They released their emergency brake, did it afraid, and moved forward. After all, we all have something in common, we are all people with a dream. Their fulfilled dream can make your dream come true. Listen, learn, and let go of the fear. The only person who will laugh at your blog post, or your podcast, or your webinar is the person who wishes they were doing what you’re doing. Laughing at you is an attempt to covers up his or her own insecurities. Of course most times, nobody is laughing and it’s that emergency brake in your head trying to hold you back again.

5. Do the work. This is no joyride although you’ll find joy during the ride. You know that sign will work for food? There are no free rides when a dream is at stake. Be willing to work towards your dream. There are mentors who give generously of their time and resources, but it’s your foot on the gas pedal. A good coach would never encourage you to coast because coasting never propelled anyone anywhere. When we conserve our fuel what do we end up with? A lot of fuel we never burn. It’s time to feel the burn.

6. Maintain your most important relationships. Dreams take sacrifice, but not at the risk of sacrificing our most precious and sacred relationships. When the world rejects what we have to offer, we need to have our people to come home to. Chasing fame and fortune will leave us high and dry — remember what is most important. While investing in our dream is a must, investing in our closest relationships is a priority.

7. Believe it can happen to you. We spend an exorbitant amount of time gawking at people who are doing what we wish we could do. Of course, we call it admiration but deep down, we wonder if anything like that could ever happen to us? Yes, it can and it will. Maybe not in the same way, but if we stay the course and do the work, something wonderful will happen. Because when we are compelled beyond what is humanly possible to do what seems humanly impossible, God is at work. Our calling is assured — but we need to be willing to believe in the promise that God will do exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine.

We need to release our emergency brakes, friends. That feeling of going, stopping, going, stopping. It’s going to make us carsick. We can break free of the fear that is holding us back, step out of our doubt, and into what we are called to do.

What is that for you, friend? What are you called to do and where are you on the journey in getting there? 

My new favorite quote:

“It was scarier not to try than to try and fail.” — Carrie Wilkerson

We can only regret what we missed, if we never tried searching for it. We can’t catch something we’ve given up on.

Keep dreaming, keep striving, keep in community, and keep the faith. Stop parking in the driveway and start driving on the roadway.

In the words of the wisest King ever (except for that time when he went rogue on God):

“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

God inspired the words so they’re legit.

It’s time to release the brake, propel forward, and realize your dream.

Speaking of dreams — I need you. I’m a self-published author, but need 650 more email subscribers to my blog before I can submit my book proposal for traditional publication. I have a large social media following, but evidently, email subscribers is where it’s at, friends.

Would you consider following my inspirational blog? When you do you’ll receive this free resource: Simple Tips for Sharing Your Faith. I post about once a week or so.

Grab the download here and to subscribe, and I would appreciate a share so others can grab it too.

Let me know when you catch your dream, friend. I’ve got mine by the coat tails. See you on the other side of fear and may the Lord bless all of your endeavors.

Doris Swift is the author of Goodbye, Regret: Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes. She loves to write, teach, and encourage. She reaches out to a community of women through her blog Walking Deeper at DorisSwift.com, at speaking events, and on her Walking Deeper Facebook page. As a leader in women’s ministry, her passion is to share God’s truth and disciple women to grow in faith as they follow Jesus. In ministry for over thirty years, she has been gifted to teach, speak, mentor, and counsel. It’s her joy to see women of all ages bloom in their purpose and calling. She’s written for various sites and publications such as Purposeful Faith, (in)courage, and Just Between Us magazine. Doris resides in Florida with her husband Brian. She enjoys traveling to historic cities, spending time with family, and loves being Gammy to her beyond adorable grand-kids. You’ll find her on the soccer field, rain or shine.
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Doris Swift is the author of Goodbye, Regret: Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes. She loves to write, teach, and encourage. She reaches out to a community of women through her blog Walking Deeper at DorisSwift.com, at speaking events, and on her Walking Deeper Facebook page. As a leader in women’s ministry, her passion is to share God’s truth and disciple women to grow in faith as they follow Jesus. In ministry for over thirty years, she has been gifted to teach, speak, mentor, and counsel. It’s her joy to see women of all ages bloom in their purpose and calling. She’s written for various sites and publications such as Purposeful Faith, (in)courage, and Just Between Us magazine. Doris resides in Florida with her husband Brian. She enjoys traveling to historic cities, spending time with family, and loves being Gammy to her beyond adorable grand-kids. You’ll find her on the soccer field, rain or shine.

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