*Do you ever wonder that the difference is between you and Oprah or you and Tiger Woods (no jokes please) or you and Warren Buffet when it comes to success? Well if you haven’t, I have. I don’t anymore because I now know the answer as it relates to my truth. I used to wonder how I could obtain that level of success and why wasn’t I further along?

I remember being a little girl and dreaming of wearing the most amazing clothes, getting into limousines and making things happen, all while solving the worlds problems by giving to the homeless. As I got older, there were a lot of factors that entered the equation to quiet those particular dreams (new ones did emerge). Most were leading me down a much traveled path. I was very good at math, so finance seemed like the natural way for me to go. Most adults in my life got wind of my numbers situation and joined the “Monica is going to be a CFO one day” bandwagon. It seemed like a noble career to me, so finance it was. My first point on why people may not reach their full potential is because of the outside influences that creep in everyday. Oprah, Tiger and Warren did not go along with other’s expectations. They rebelled, paid a significant price and they were rewarded handsomely.

Now working in the entertainment industry and having met some of the people who are “living their dreams” (as well as now living my own quite frankly), I recognize more than ever that another difference between the average person and these moguls is the willingness to sacrifice. How bad do you want it? is what I would ask myself. They gave up time with family, vacations, having children in some cases, being their for their children, spending time with their significant other, they had to do things that caused much tension, and the list goes on. Executing on the dream could potentially require a high level of sacrifice, depending on the dream. Oprah, Tiger and Warren made great sacrifices.

I find that people are more comfortable with you when you are in the “average” category. In public relations, we call this being relatable. It’s the “average Joe” phenomenon. Sometimes people know from a very young age that they are not “average” in a particular thing. I believe Oprah, Tiger and Warren were three such individuals. They all made people very uncomfortable along the way to where they are now. While it may have given them pause on occasion, it did not stop them from pressing on. Another reason people may not execute on their dream is because they have not gotten comfortable with what it takes to get there.

In order to execute on the dream, I believe there are a few key things that you must do. The first is to get comfortable with your vision. You need to know that your purpose is greater than the dream and certainly the people who will try to stop you. Also remember that some believe they are helping you by trying to guide you in a different direction. For instance, Tiger’s relatives may or may not encourage his children to be golfers given what they know about the scrutiny, etc. Secondly, you need to surround yourself with other dreamers. What was once outstanding becomes a normal way of life when you’re around people who have similar paths (this is a critical step). Thirdly, continue to reassess where you are. Do you still want the same thing you started out wanting and are you headed in the right direction? Be flexible. Lastly, get feedback from people who know what you’re up to support you and have been where you are. Their perspective is invaluable.

Dream. Assess. Execute on the dream.

Monica Cost is communications strategist, brand manager and respected corporate and motivational speaker. She is the President and Founder of Evidently Assured, a brand & talent management firm.  Email her at:  [email protected]. Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and www.Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost.