Dream Chaser Lesson One: Have Gratitude for the Small Victories

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

Over the past four years my band Yes You Are has gone on a national tour with the Neon Trees, got our song HGX placed in a Pepsi commercial and the movie Bad Moms, and have played in front of thousands of people.

These were all things I dreamt of experiencing four years ago, but as time went on a funny thing happened.

These experiences started to lose their luster. The buzz and rush from going on tour faded and the Pepsi commercial became common place. (I still love playing in front of big crowds. That will never get old!)

What I once thought was remarkable became familiar. I shifted my focus to the next big thing and being at the next level. I began taking for granted what was initially a dream come true.

Instead of continuing to say “thank you” for the small blessings, I started to expect more. I played the comparison game with much more successful artists and started to discount and diminish my own accomplishments.

It’s normal for expectations and ambition to grow as we experience more success, but be careful not to end up entitled and diluting your progress.

The bigger a dream the longer it can take to achieve. Sometimes it’s worth slowing down and appreciating the wins.

The small victories are what keep us going. 

So, lesson number one that I’ve learned from chasing my dream is to stay grateful for the small victories. We must celebrate and honor the small wins and accomplishments along the way and reference them when we feel discouraged.

Without gratitude for the small victories we can get easily defeated and not enjoy the journey.

Instead of always comparing your current progress to the desired final destination, take time to appreciate the progress you’ve already made and be thankful for that.

Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” — Jim Rohn

This doesn’t mean settle for less or shrink your ambition. It means you continue to stay grateful throughout the journey and don’t take for granted the effort you put in, the people who have supported you, or the progress you’ve made.

Success and achievement is relative. Four years ago, the thought of being in a band that had songs in commercials and movies was unreal. But after we experience something it’s easy to take it for granted and focus on wanting more. The initial excitement and novelty wears off and we desire more and more.

Don’t get blinded from the good stuff that has already happened. 

If you’re working toward a long-term goal and feel discouraged or are at a low point, reference the success you’ve experienced so far. Be grateful for the past opportunities and good fortune you’ve been granted.

Or, if you aren’t seeing the impact or results you want, focus on the small things going well. What is a small victory you’ve experienced lately that you can be thankful for?

Don’t focus on where you think you “should” be or would “prefer” to be. Instead, take stock of your current reality and look for what you have to be excited about now!

Ask yourself more uplifting questions to help you shift into a more grateful and positive mindset.

Gratitude isn’t an emotional state to wait around for. It is a feeling we can create and is a prerequisite to generate the motivation, courage, and inspiration to achieve your dreams.

When I feel grateful I work harder, I’m more disciplined and I’m more open and receptive to opportunities.

Make a list of the victories and wins you’ve already accomplished. Use this list to keep you motivated; reference it to remember what it feels like to be excited and optimistic!

This will keep you going when you feel discouraged or defeated.

“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” – Frank A. Clark

Photo credit: Alex Woods