My father had a childhood dream. He wanted to fly airplanes. Not just any airplanes – he wanted to become a commercial airline pilot.
Ever since he was a little boy, sitting at the small, local airport with his grandfather in Pennsylvania and watching the planes take off and land, he’d had that dream. He carried it with him for years. And he worked ridiculously hard to make it come true.
My father taught me that your dreams are attainable, but you have to work for them. They don’t just fall out of the sky and land in your lap. They start as a spark, an idea that won’t turn you loose. But the step from wanting something to making it happen – that’s where the wings meet the sky.
And it takes perseverance, tenacity, desire, passion, and faith.
My Father’s Footsteps
As long as I have been alive, my father has been a pilot. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that he actually achieved his life-long dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot. This means that I had the privilege of watching (and learning) as he worked and fought to make that dream come true.
During his journey, he always made sure to position himself around airplanes. While he was working to get his first pilot’s license, he fueled planes at an airport to earn money. For over 20 years, he worked as a corporate pilot for various companies and even as a helicopter pilot for emergency evacuations. While he was happy to be flying, he never let his big dream get too far out of sight.
He applied to be a commercial airline pilot more than once and faced his fair share of rejection. And where most people would have walked away in pursuit of another venture, my father held fast to his dream and just worked harder. He got his master’s degree in aeronautical science to increase his chances. He trained pilots, got many different types of pilot licenses, and jumped on every opportunity that came along that would give him more experience and get him closer to where he wanted to be.
And that’s exactly what happened. He made it. For the last few years, my father has been living his childhood dream.
I’ve learned so much from him that I now apply to my own career goals. Here are the main three lessons I’ve taken from my father’s journey:
1. Dreams Can Become a Reality – And They’re Worth Fighting For
Just like my dad, as a child, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up – a fiction author. Whereas my father kept his feet firmly on the ground and approached his dream in a realistic, logical way, I tend to get my head a little in the clouds and can be not so realistic.
What I’ve learned, though, is that you can be the idealistic “dreamy” dreamer and still be realistic and logical. It isn’t always easy to walk that line, but by keeping yourself rooted in reality, you can create paths that propel you closer to bringing your dream into that reality.
We both had big dreams, but my father is now living his because he put in the hard work and years of sticking with it. Looking at how he reached his goal, I’m inspired and have hope that I too can achieve what most people would consider “just a childhood dream.” It took a lot of work for my father to get where he is, and I know he had a lot of negative experiences and failures along the way. But seeing where he is now, so happy and exactly where he wanted to be as a kid, shows me that all that struggle is worth it. Incredibly so.
The key is the fight. You have to want it, and if you want it bad enough, you’ll work for it – hard. It takes drive and determination. You have to have a thick skin to handle all the obstacles and rejections. You have to be savvy enough to use those roadblocks to propel you forward even when it would be so much easier to just give up. You have to choose to have the mindset that giving up is never an option.
MORE FOR YOU
2. Desires Are Put in Your Heart for a Reason
My father and I are rooted in our Christian faith, and it has shaped not only our dreams but also how we approach them. We believe that God has a plan for us and the desires that He puts in our hearts are there for a reason – to help fulfill that plan.
My father always told me that our passions or the desires of our heart are not some random coincidence. Because of that belief, my father doesn’t think it’s a mistake or coincidence that we humans have such passions. We should pay attention to them, nurture them, and follow them, for they will shape and determine the course of our lives if we allow them.
If we ignore or give up on them, we will miss out on so much, and we won’t fully unlock all of the amazing potential that we are given – or promised. That means we essentially cheat ourselves out of ultimate happiness and joy. When we pursue the desires of our heart and make them a reality, we discover the true purpose of our lives.
It’s important to keep in mind too that just because you achieve your goals and realize your dreams doesn’t mean your problems completely go away and you’re content forever. Not only is life still going to throw things at you that are difficult to deal with, but you should always be pushing yourself even further, constantly growing even when you think “I’ve made it,” because there’s always more to be done.
3. Faith Is Greater Than Fear – Every Time
Is it scary to forge ahead and pursue your dreams with everything you have? Absolutely. The future is uncertain. Rejection and failure can make you doubt yourself and your plan. You may start to wonder if your dream is really yours or if it is intended for you in the first place.
I have one word for you: faith.
In my own life, my faith is what pulls me through the discouraging times. It’s also what has helped my father get to where he is today. No matter what it is you have faith in, you also need to have faith in yourself. You have to believe you can do anything you set your mind to – something my father would tell me very often as I was growing up – and then do it. Otherwise, you’re not going to make your dreams happen.
Instead, you’ll stay right where you are, beaten down, defeated, and afraid of failure and rejection. It will sap your strength so the challenges or even just the work you need to put in seems insurmountable.
You also have to know why you believe you can do it. I can find time to write this novel. Why? Because it’s important to me, and I have the ability to re-prioritize my day. I can get my master’s in aeronautical science. Why? Because I’ve been given an amazing brain capable of learning and a family that will support me all the way. I can land that job that seems too good to be true. Why? Because I’ve put in the work to build up a resume, finished my degree, and found the right connections.
You have to find the reasons within yourself and believe they’re strong enough to get you where you need to be. That equation equals faith in yourself. And good faith will always win. A lot of fear can come with trying to pursue something big, especially when that something big is something you’ve wanted your whole life. So you have to have the faith to push through and be successful.
Keep Up the Fight
When you accomplish what you’ve set out to do, uncover another strength, or experience another victory, add it to the list! This will encourage you to keep it up.
Refuse to let fear get the best of you. Fear is nothing but a loudmouth bully that tries to seem intimidating when, in actuality, it’s just a little imp that you can kick out the door. Stay the course, even when it seems impossible. Your dreams were put in your heart for a reason. Have faith. Keep fighting. Persevere.