Dare to Dream

    Growing up, I believed dreams were for other people. I’d watch movies or awards shows on BET and think people there were a part of a whole other world that was way beyond my imagining. My life in Dallas was good, but I couldn’t see a future that extended beyond my family, church and local community.

    Then I won a scholarship to a women’s event, Treasure You, where I was chosen to take part in a vision boarding process and I was nudged to go deep and identify what I really wanted for my life. I found myself saying that I wanted to go to New York and pursue acting. And 10 months later, I did. At the age of 33, I took a leap of faith that has helped me realize that dreams are for everyone. A decade later, I’m living in California, acting regularly and working on those big-name events I used to watch.

    It hasn’t all been smooth, but it’s been a fascinating and adventurous journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I have found unexpected doors opening and authentic connections happening, while following the path that I believe has been designed just for me. For all those who may feel that you shouldn’t or can’t wish for or expect more out of life, I overstand because I was that person, but let me encourage you to think again. Dare to dream! Here are some steps that worked for me:

    Say it aloud. There’s power in speaking out what you want to do. Somehow it makes that dream more real. And when you also tell someone else about what’s on your heart, you put yourself out there to be held accountable to following through on what you said.

    Believe in yourself. Don’t talk yourself out of your desire by thinking that you don’t deserve whatever it is you have in mind. You belong in this world just as much as everyone else does! Speak affirmations over your life until you believe them.

    Make a plan. The Bible says that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). In other words, you need to put some thought into how you can take practical steps toward making your dream a reality. You may not see the whole way ahead, but start and follow through.

    Take a risk. While planning is important, there’s no guarantee of success. At some point you are going to have to take a deep breath and go for it, trusting that things will work out. You cannot eliminate all the unknowns, so you will have an element of fear, but just do it scared!

    Don’t have regrets. Instead of looking back and wishing that you had started sooner, focus on what’s ahead. All those experiences brought you to the place where you are finally ready to go for it. It’s never too late to begin.

    Having learned I can dream, I’m now pursuing even bigger ones. I’m building my own production company, through which I want to be able to offer scholarships to help others run after their dreams too.

    A radio and television graduate of the University of North Texas, Perrí Camper Rivers is an actor (Hulu’s Reasonable Doubt Onyx Collective series, American Soul) and coordinator of specials and music programming for BET. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Jeremie Rivers.
    This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of WayMaker Journal.

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