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3 Things You Need to Know to Achieve Your Dreams

by bevbarnes on July 5, 2012

My friend Valerie completed her PhD in Psychology this year.  Valerie is 54 years old.  She has dreamed of having her PhD since she was about 11 years old.  I know because we’ve been best friends all our lives.

Valerie did everything backwards.  She didn’t need the doctorate to figure out what program to design.  She designed the innovative Intergenerational Trauma Treatment program and trained hundreds of clinicians before she was accepted as a PhD candidate.  For Valerie, the doctorate was the icing on the cake, not the cake.  She’d already baked the cake far before she had her doctorate.  Her doctorate explained to academics why her program worked.

Valerie was the first person I met in Canada when we moved from England when I was 8 years old.  She was fascinating and fun.  I was a shy English girl, with an immigrant family, trying to do everything right and Valerie was a wild free spirit.  We were immediately bonded for life – much to the chagrin of my parents.  Valerie made up her own rules.  She didn’t follow other peoples’ rules.  She only did what felt right to her.

That meant that sometimes she didn’t get a lot of support.

I remember when our entire grade 5 class ostracized Valerie by chasing her into the park.    I ran with her to get away from the class and we never figured out why they were chasing her.  My hunch is that they wanted to be like her – free and loads of fun.

Here are three life lessons (of many) that I learned from Valerie when we were 8 years old that might help you to follow your dreams:

1.  Don’t ask for permission to create stuff you love.

At 8 years old Valerie and I organized a fabulous water fight, complete with our raincoats, inside Valerie’s house.  It was cloudy outside and we (well, Valerie) thought it’d be fun to have a water fight in her dining room as long as we wore our rain clothes.  We really didn’t think about the antique tables that would all need to be refinished.

Valerie’s mom did forgive us – eventually.

I learned that not being restricted by the rules made you more creative and that it was easier to get forgiveness than to get permission.

2.  It feels better to give than to receive.

Valerie would surprise me by wrapping up presents for me and leaving them at my door.  She had no money, she was 10 years old.  She would wrap up treasures that she located and thought I would like, and leave them at the door, ring the bell and run away.  She imagined me being happily surprised with the present.  I never caught her at the door and I loved it.

I started to do the same thing for her, surprise her with presents.  It was so much fun.  I learned that it felt even better to give than to receive.

3.  If you can picture it, it’ll happen.  If you can’t it won’t. 

Long before the law of attraction, Valerie was a manifesting expert.  As we were sitting outside in the sun, Valerie, tanning with her sun-reflector and baby oil (pre-skin cancer days) and me under a tree she said “You know what Bev, if you can picture it, it’ll happen.  Just try.  Anything you can picture happens.  If you can’t it won’t!”

We used this magic potion over and over trying to imagine what would happen and what wouldn’t.

I learned that you can create anything that you believe in.

By using these rules, Valerie created a program to help kids and their care-givers deal with trauma.  She didn’t ask anyone for permission.  She just did it.  She wanted to give back.  To help kids who had difficult childhoods, just like she’d had.  She pictured getting her doctorate her whole life. Yes she wrote and re-wrote for at least two entire years – but she created the program that she wrote about.  It already belonged to her.

And now she has her PhD!

You can create anything that you really, really want.

What are you waiting for?

I love hearing from you.  Let me know on the blog what helps you to achieve your dreams.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison Elissa Horner July 5, 2012 at 10:23 am

Congratulations Valerie! Enjoyed the post Bev. 🙂


Bev Barnes July 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Thanks Alison!


Sonia July 5, 2012 at 11:08 am

Wow! That’s so true. This story remembers me when I was a kid… I’ve always be a free spirit! It’s now time to renew with this magical potion. Thanks for this post Bev and congratulations Valerie!


Bev Barnes July 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Hi Sonia! It’s so easy to forget your true nature but thinking back to childhood is a great reminder. Glad this helped you to remember!


Heather July 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Bev – thanks for sharing that great story. A big congratulations to Valerie too.
I still remember walkin to kindergarten with Valerie who at the time lived about three doors away from me!!!


Bev Barnes July 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Nice hearing from you Heather. Doesn’t it feel like yesterday?


Kari July 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thanks Bev- you reminded me of my best friend growing up who is also a beautiful, free spirit- and who continues to inspire me. I’m so lucky to have her in my life and to receive the lessons she teaches me. Congratulations to Valerie!


Bev Barnes July 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hi Kari. I guess we are both lucky!


Janelle July 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm

What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. It reminded me that I don’t need permission to play before work (I used to think you can only play AFTER work), that my favorite gifts to give are what I’m hoping to receive (so give it before I get it), and to ramp up my daydreaming habit to the next level. So much fun!


Bev Barnes July 6, 2012 at 1:22 am

I love that Janelle! I totally admire YOU!


Linda July 10, 2012 at 2:02 am

Thank you for giving me the right information at the right time for me. Although I am typically quite good, I have been struggling recently with forming my dreams. I knew even as I child that I could do whatever I really wanted to do. I like the thought “if you can picture it, It’ll happen”. I just didn’t know that was what I was doing at the time. I need to get back to basics to move on down my path. Thank you for reminding me.


Bev Barnes July 10, 2012 at 2:11 am

You are really welcome Linda. Any time you are stuck just go back to your childhood self and remember who you were then. I’m glad the reminder helped.


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