Dreams Don't Work Until You Do


We all have dreams, and it can be challenging to understand how to work toward them. You probably already know about SMART goals and vision boards, but what if your direction isn't that clear to you yet?

You know you want to dream bigger, but you're not sure how to get started or how to make progress.

Dreams don't work until you do, so I want to give you some practical advice about how to create momentum TODAY. 

To do this, I'll share as a case study the story of one of my mentees, Olivia Buckley, to walk you through how to get to work on your dreams.

Here's what you do:

1. Broaden your vision.

Opening your eyes and mind to the bigger picture ultimately opens you up to bigger life experiences and possibilities for success. 

Olivia Buckley is an internationally-renowned luxury event planner. From an early age, her creative passions led her to the event planning world. She took an organic path, earning her degree in Economics at UCC and doing post-graduate work in Business and Marketing. During her studies, she was exposed to the inner workings of luxury brands and became hooked.  

Olivia was proud to be chosen as a participant in the Rose of Tralee (a long-running event with participants from all over the world celebrating women with Irish roots and their accomplishments). This was Olivia’s first time participating in a large scale, televised international event, and her eyes were opened to the world of high profile, custom-designed events. Soon after, Olivia began working in luxury weddings in Ireland.

During a networking event, Olivia and I had a chance encounter that had an impact on her. She recalls: “It was a wonderfully memorable encounter where we spoke about life and its endless possibilities… he became a great source of inspiration to me.”

After relocating in early 2013, Olivia took some time off to reflect and plan the next steps on her career path. Remembering the experience she’d had during our meeting, she reached out and made a connection.  

Olivia listened to that voice inside that told her to pause, reflect, and reach out to a mentor.

She made the call that would influence her entire future and change her life forever.

During our conversation, I told her, “I want you to dot com your name today. You are going places and I am coming to Ireland to launch your business with you on February 1st and watch you brilliantly soar.”

Olivia not only learned to see her potential but to fulfill it. All she needed was a nudge out of her comfort zone and to give her the confidence to launch her own business. 

Olivia explains, “His sheer belief and confidence in me was the nudge I needed to take a leap of faith and as Simon promised, on February 1, 2013, I launched Olivia Buckley Events, and Simon came to Killarney (Kerry County) Ireland to celebrate with me.”

2. Start small.

During her first year, Olivia did mostly small scale, private events.

Word spread quickly and Olivia’s business rapidly took off. Olivia recalls her first major event. “We were contracted to create a beautiful luxury event on a private island. This was a huge undertaking at the early stage of my business. However, its success was the proof that we really could produce spectacular events, anywhere, for anyone.”

Olivia had an opportunity and chose to take bold action instead of listening to inner doubts or fears. She believed in herself and her business and jumped in head first.

Olivia’s faith and trust in herself paid off.

Just one year later, her company was chosen to collaborate with Colin Cowie Productions, a top U.S. events company, who were working on a huge event in Ireland at the time. Their excellence and expertise had set the benchmark for the events world. Having the opportunity to collaborate with this top company catapulted Olivia’s event business to yet another level of luxury high-end events.  

The experience Olivia gained from working on a large variety of events gave her the courage and belief that she could accomplish absolutely anything that her clients request. 

Olivia acknowledges that she is a “big picture” person and has never been a worrier. She surrounds herself with experts, from her core events team to her suppliers and sub-contractors. “Anything is possible because of the strong relationships I have with these colleagues, and the knowledge that they will go to the ends of the earth with me.”

Olivia firmly believes that a positive mindset and a can-do attitude are essential to any kind of success and even more importantly, retaining these attributes afterbecoming successful is key. “Treating everyone around you with respect and cultivating a positive atmosphere in the workplace are ethics and values that I am vigorous about enforcing.” 

Olivia and her team proudly celebrated five years in business in February and have some of Ireland’s biggest high-profile projects under their belt.

The company has grown at an astounding pace and Olivia now works with globally-renowned clientele, vendors and suppliers. As a reflection of their growth and success, the company recently rebranded and relaunched as Olivia Buckley International.

By keeping the bigger picture in mind, Olivia showed up for herself and gave it every ounce of energy that she had.

For all her success, Olivia admits it didn’t happen overnight, nor was it easy. She advises, “In order to have any kind of success, be it in the workplace or your personal life, hard work is essential. Be willing to make sacrifices, take risks and stay strong when the going gets tough – it’s not easy.”

For Olivia, this meant that she often had to bow out of many family occasions and monumental experiences with friends, in order to put in the work to get her business off the ground.

“Surrounding myself with positive people and mentors like Simon gave me the strength I needed to pursue my dreams.”

3. Visualize your future.

“Picture yourself living the life you want, with a job that you love, being where you need to be…visualize and work towards this with every fiber of your being and it will materialize.”

Olivia gives this advice: “Listen to yourself, walk away from routines, break all chains, start from the bottom, follow your heart and do not underestimate the importance of your gut feelings.

He reminds me to swim upstream and defer from the crowd.”

Having the courage to go in the opposite direction of everyone else and step out of the safety zone are concepts that completely changed Olivia as a person and ultimately fueled the success of her business.

If you're still reading this, I want you to take out a piece of paper or a blank document and respond to the following questions. Don't worry--we're not etching this into stone. You can go back and add/edit/change it later, but I want you to create a quick draft NOW:

  • What do I want my lifestyle to look like in 5, 10, or 20 years?
  • What do I want to be doing for work, at home, and at play?
  • What are 3 small goals I can set and start working on today to move toward my vision?

(I hope you'll share your goals with me and our community in the comments below!)