As I write this I’m sitting on a flight home from Philadelphia.

Yesterday –much to my amazement– I went on QVC to sell my first cookbook. If you didn’t get a chance to see it live, feel free to watch me freak out on camera (instead of actually attempting to sell anything!) in the clip at the bottom of this post.

The whole thing was such an emotional experience for me! Emotional because I’ve worked so long to get to this place. Emotional because I can look back over the last fifteen years and see how far I’ve come. Emotional because a book filled with my family recipes –a family founded by migrant farm workers– is going to be on shelves at Target and on TV and best of all, in your own kitchen! What a dream come true! I prayed so much yesterday thanking God for the opportunity and for all of the people who’ve helped me get to this place. I woke up excited and inspired and thinking a lot about what it takes to get a dream from beginning to end. I kept wondering, what I could say to others who find themselves dreaming big dreams? What can I tell those of you who are in the middle of the slog? What words of wisdom can I offer as I near the end of my (at least one of) big dreams? And here’s my answer.

Nobody is going to care about your dream as much as you do. Ever.

Can you hear me sister? This is tough love, but I’m saying it with love just the same. Whether you want to lose weight or write your own book or be on TV or travel the world on a speaking tour… you are the steward of your own dreams! Maybe your hopes are different… Maybe you want to own your home, get your degree, or save your marriage. Maybe it’s a shop on Etsy, opening a small business or getting lead in the local production of Oklahoma this fall. Whatever it is, big or small, grandiose or simple NOBODY is going to care about it the way you do! Even if you have a supportive family. Even if you have the greatest friends alive. Even if your spouse is the most uplifting, encouraging human and your number one fan… even then girl, they will not want it as much as you do. It doesn’t keep them up at night. It doesn’t light their soul on fire.

It’s your dream.

Your own special wish that your heart made long before you were even conscious of it. You want to see it come to fruition? Well then, you have to understand that ultimately nobody is going to help you achieve it. Not really.

Of course I’ve had help over the last fifteen years. Of course there were people and companies who stepped up and invested their time, money and reputations to come alongside me. But do you think they would have done that if I didn’t send the emails? If I didn’t make the calls? If I didn’t follow up again, and again and again? If I didn’t bust my butt to go above and beyond for them in business so they’d consider me the next time? And when I heard NO? Do you think it was someone else who dusted me off and made me try again? Was it someone else who ignored the embarrassment when people told me that I was naive or overreaching?

No way.

It was me… every single time, it’s been me in the ring taking the punches. And your dream? That’s going to be you.

You are the one who has to do the 10,000 hours. You are the one who has to wake up early and stay up late. You are the one who has to keep pushing when everyone else has given up. You are the one who will keep fighting for the next plateau and the one after that. 

Nobody cares about your dreams. Not the way you do. And because of that, even if they don’t mean to, you can’t rely on anyone else to help you keep those dreams alive… you can’t put them into anyone else’s hands for safe keeping. I know it’s hard and I know that you get weary, but every day you’re gaining on it! Every day you move that dream forward an inch at a time. Someday you’re going to look back on this path you’ve carved out for yourself and you’re going to see the road blocks you had to weave around and the indentions in the dirt when you fell and had to dust yourself off. If you’re lucky, if you’re blessed, those same cheerleaders will be with you at the finish line because they were the ones cheering you on through every mile.

But ultimately, finishing the race? Nobody can do that but you.

That’s the magic of a dream… that’s why it’s so incredibly special when comes true. Because only you know how hard you had to work to get it there. Only you know how many times you wanted to give up and how much blood and sweat and tears it took to see it through. So the next time somebody tells you you’re working too hard at it, or that you’re too emotionally invested, don’t get upset with them for not understanding… just take it as confirmation that you’re right where you’re supposed to be: dreaming big, working hard and caring so much it makes your heart hurt. Let it hurt. Let it make you stronger. That strength is what’s going to help you reach your goal. xo, Rach