How often are you asked, “How are you?” Or “How are things going?” How often do you respond, “Livin’ the dream,” as if life is anything but living the dream? That was my response recently. For some reason, this last time I said it, it didn’t sit well with me. For the rest of the day I kept thinking about my response and how it made me feel. 

During most of my career in corporate America I dreamed of being my own boss, creating something useful, trusting my instincts and decisions…My dream was to be a real entrepreneur. I didn’t exactly know how I was going to do it, but that never stopped me from dreaming about how awesome it would be when that day came. 

But hindsight can be a funny thing. 

Actually, It’s a little embarrassing looking back. I could see my success: I was self-employed, making my own hours, happy, independent, successful!  I realize now that I always thought about achieving my dream more as an arrival and less as a journey. As if one day I would wake up and say, “Yes! Finally! I’m living the dream!”

Over the last three years, I’ve gone from working for someone else full time to working for myself full time. (And believe me, my new boss makes me work like never before.) I’ve invented a product that I believe can positively impact our world, had it patented, brought on investors, set up production, sourced materials, developed designs. Trusted my instincts. Made good decisions. Made bad decisions. I’ve celebrated small wins, cried over losses and questioned my abilities. Repeatedly. But I’ve told that negative voice inside my head that yes, I can. I can and I will, and if I can’t, I’ll figure out another way. A better way. 

In short, I’m not ‘livin’ the dream’, but I am living MY dream. 

Success, like life, is in the journey, not in the red carpet arrival. Like any trip, there are many ways to travel. Most trips are better with planning, but not always. The point is this, it doesn’t matter if you stay at life’s campsite or in a 5-star hotel. It doesn’t matter how long the trip or whether the road was paved or unpaved. It matters that, while on your trip, you look around. You acknowledge that it’s YOUR trip. YOUR journey. And if you acknowledge your successes (Only you get to define success here!), learn from your mistakes and keep striving, then you are already livin’ the dream. 

This month I will launch my first full line of Pop-Up Gift Wrap. They’re amazing and beautiful and I choose to be proud of making my dream a reality.