St. Patrick’s 3 Lessons to Pursuing Your Dreams

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
                               –Irish blessing

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and in my hometown of Ottawa, Canada the festivities are in full swing.  The pubs are full, the Guinness is flowing and everyone is wearing green.  It’s a fun time, but most people don’t know the story of St. Patrick, why he’s celebrated or what we can learn from him. 

In his early teens, St. Patrick was kidnapped, taken to Ireland and sold into slavery.  For six year he led a bleak life , but he never lost faith that one day he would be freed from slavery and realize his dreams.  One night the voice of God spoke to St. Patrick and told him it was time to escape – a ship would be waiting for him 200 miles away at the coast.  St. Patrick fled and found that ship, but the captain denied him passage.  Inspired by St. Patrick’s story, the crew convinced the captain to let him aboard.  St. Patrick sailed to freedom and for the next seven years he studied in Europe, where he eventually became a priest.  It was then that St. Patrick traveled back to Ireland and realized his dream of converting Ireland to Christianity.  This is why we celebrate St. Patrick on the anniversary of his death, March 17, 461 C.E.

So what can St. Patrick’s story teach us about pursuing our dreams?

Have faith and persevere
When most people dream they dream big, and that often means our dreams are difficult to attain.  Perhaps you are faced with financial challenges, time restraints or family responsibilities that prevent you from achieving your dreams.  Sometimes it can become so discouraging that we want to give up, but that is the time we need to have faith and persevere.  Whether you have faith in yourself or in a higher power like St. Patrick’s faith in God, if you persevere there’s always a possibility of overcoming those obstacles that hold you back.

Be ready to take action
God spoke to St. Patrick when the time was right to escape, but not all signs are so prophetic.  Maybe your dream employer will unexpectedly have a job opening.  Maybe a local theatre company will announce casting calls for your dream role.  Or maybe you’ll be laid off and will suddenly have the time to pursue your dream start-up company.  Signs come in many forms and can often be subtle.  Be ready to seize the opportunity when they are presented to you.

Let others help
St. Patrick was denied passage by the captain, but the crew convinced him to let St. Patrick aboard.  There will undoubtedly be obstacles to overcome in the pursuit of your dreams, but you don’t have to do it alone.  Others may also be inspired by your dreams and will be eager to help.  Seek support from family, friends, colleagues and even strangers.  Who is your crew?

Click here if you would like to learn more about St. Patrick and the history of St. Patrick’s Day.

I wish you the luck of the Irish in pursuing your dreams.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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