Do you have a dream that you’ve thought about for some time… but you keep not doing anything about? You’re not alone in this, of course, but knowing that other people have also pressed the pause button on their dream doesn’t help you much!

If you don’t really believe you can succeed at something, chances are you feel very lukewarm about getting started with it. And then there’s the effort required to keep following through to completion, despite the inevitable setbacks.

In my opinion, a great deal of procrastination comes from a lack of self-confidence. It seems so easy for others, but difficult for you. “They were born confident, strong and capable,” you think. “It’s easy for them.”

I used to think this way, too, until I started learning from the example of some real life experts.

Let me tell you the story of Oprah Winfrey, for example.

Oprah Makes It Look Easy

Now that Oprah has accomplished so much, it looks as though it was all a piece of cake for her. The truth is very far from that.

Oprah was born in 1954 in rural Mississippi to a poor, unmarried, teenage mother. A very strict grandmother raised Oprah for her first six years. And they were so poor, Oprah often wore dresses made from potato sacks.

Not a promising beginning—and things got worse...

Oprah moved to an inner-city Milwaukee neighbourhood to live with her mother, who worked long hours as a maid. From the age of nine, Oprah was sexually molested by her cousin, her uncle and a family friend. At 13, she ran away from home. At 14, she gave birth to a baby boy; he died a week later.

So as you can see, Oprah had every reason for really low self-esteem.

Of course there were positives in her life as well; no one’s reality is 100 percent darkness.

Her disciplinarian grandmother taught her to read before the age of three. This prepared her for working hard and doing well in school, even winning scholarships despite everything else she had to deal with. And when Oprah was sent to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee, he made sure she read books and memorized 20 new vocabulary words a week.

And yes, Oprah landed a job doing radio news part-time while still in high school. And she began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. But her emotional, human style got her into trouble. Plus she was busy trying to be like Barbara Walters.

She says of those days, “I'd go home at night and fill up my journals about how miserable I was and frustrated. Then I'd eat my anxiety.”

Television executives in Baltimore told Oprah she was too big, too black, too engaged, too emotional—too much for the news. None of which can have done much for her self-confidence!

She spent eight years doing a job she was unhappy about. I’m sure you’ll agree that once again, she had every cause for giving up.

Eventually she was transferred to an insignificant talk-show spot to finish her contract. Like a plant moved from the shade to the sunshine, at last Oprah found herself in an environment that suited her personality.

Because—and here’s the key—once she realized that pretending to be Barbara Walters wasn't working for her, Oprah never stopped being herself, despite what everyone told her was “wrong” with her.

Your Dream Is Important!

Many philosophers say that the dreams we cherish are an expression of the Universe’s desire for growth and development.

And the next time you catch yourself thinking it’s impossible for you, remember this: Philosophers also say that you wouldn’t have that dream in the first place, if you weren’t capable of making it come true.

So here are three tips to help you get going—and keep going—with your dream:

1. Get it in your head right now that you don’t have to do everything perfectly to succeed. (Oprah’s not perfect. She still struggles with her weight, which only makes us love her all the more!)

2. Praise and congratulate yourself for any and every little success you have. No matter how seemingly tiny. (I recommend doing this by talking to your reflection in the mirror every night before you go to sleep.) This will move you away from self-criticism, otherwise known as shooting yourself in the foot!

3. Write a list of all the ways other people will benefit from you realizing your dream. (This will motivate you by giving you the bigger picture of why it’s important for you to keep going.) Often when it’s just about us, it’s easy to let something drop, but when other people’s well-being is involved we’re more likely to keep going. And you'll be glad you did!

Author's Bio: 

Alexandra Innes is an author and freelance writer with articles published in several countries. A longtime Buddhist practitioner and leader, Alexandra has overcome many trials in her life that she previously thought “impossible.” She is passionate about inspiring and encouraging people through her writing, public speaking and, her life-enhancing quotation site that delivers deliciously inspiring quotes... and more! Check it out!