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Chasing Dreams with American Idol Winner Kris Allen – Episode 213 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Kris Allen was born June 21, 1985, in Jacksonville, Arkansas. He had an early interest in music, which stayed with him through college, church involvement, and missionary work in other countries. In 2009, he became a finalist on the eighth season of American Idol, and triumphed over fellow finalist Adam Lambert in the season finale. He was the first married contestant to win the competition.

Show Highlights:

My dream was so big, I didn’t know how to move towards it. @KrisAllen

I was surprised at the results every round. @KrisAllen

All the time I spent playing in my room and in bars prepared me for the show. @KrisAllen

I am incredibly lucky and blessed that this happened to me. @KrisAllen

I do not take winning American Idol for granted. @KrisAllen

My time on the show felt incredibly surreal. @KrisAllen

When Ryan announced my name, I knew life was going to change. @KrisAllen

I thought I would never play an instrument again. @KrisAllen

Learning to play again has been hard, but I am a better now than I was before the accident. @KrisAllen

You will find happiness in going after your dreams, not in settling. @KrisAllen

Having the dreams allows you to move towards it. @rory_vaden

Too often we don’t even allow ourselves to have the dream. @rory_vaden

You have to be willing to work for the dream. @rory_vaden

Excellence is never an accident. @rory_vaden

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

5 Stages of Success

Success starts with having a dream.

Then you have to work mentally to believe it’s possible.

Then you have to do the physical work necessary to make it a reality.

Then you realize you want to help and teach others.

Then you create a legacy by serving the world and making an impact.

This video by my friend Jeremy Cowart captures it so elegantly and emotionally.

It made me cry like five times! But also left me inspired to make a difference in the world.

I thought you might like it. (It has been viewed over 2 million times)

How to Achieve Any Dream

achieve any dream

Dreams can be inspiring but they can also be daunting.

Real dreams, the ones that fire you up, get you excited, and make your heart speed up when you think what life would be like if they came true, are compelling to have but also challenging.

Because when you find something that matters so much to you, you have a lot riding on it and that means it can be debilitating even thinking about how you might accomplish something so big.

But there is a way around that fear. There is a belief that will push you past that nervous procrastination and right into action.

The belief comes from knowing this: dreams coming true are the inevitable byproduct of focused work.

Dreams are rarely the result of luck.

Dreams are rarely the result of circumstance.

Dreams that come true are almost always directly connected to someone stepping out in faith and then consistently doing the work necessary to make them come true.  

So the question to ask is not: “Is my dream possible?”

The question to ask is: “Am I willing and able to put more work in than ever before into achieving and accomplishing my dream?”

On October 27, 2005 – the day I decided to pursue becoming the world champion of public speaking –  I actually wrote this out.

I had just learned about the contest and so I didn’t have any idea about what it took to get there. I was still basically a kid and so I thought “how is this possible?”

“I’m too young.”

“I don’t know enough.”

“I don’t have enough experience.”

But then I wrote something in my journal that I recently went back and read (as I was unpacking old boxes since we just moved) and it said:

“I have no idea if I will win. I might not be good enough. The judges might not like me. The audience might not like me. But what I know for sure is that I’m willing to work harder and longer than anyone to achieve my dream. You might beat me but you will never outwork me!”

Over the next 18 months I spoke 304 times for free, received over 1100 evaluations, spent 2000 hours watching film and read dozens of books on the subject.

And then on August 25, 2007 I came in second in the world out of 25,000 contestants from 90 countries. (Maybe I should’ve worked just a bit harder! Ha lol.)

But that’s how dream work. Dreams are simply the inevitable byproduct of your work ethic.

Don’t worry about if you’re dream will come true.

Worry about your work ethic.

Because if you are willing to work, then just about any dream for you can come true.

The Myth of the “Lifestyle Entrepreneur”


There is a false dream being overly sold today. 

It’s is the facade of The Lifestyle Entrepreneur. 

It typically includes messages like work from anywhere, set your own schedule, be your own boss, drive a Bentley, and make passive income without doing anything. 

It’s a damaging dream because it’s a lie. 

My problem is not with the promotion of all the things you can have, such as some of those listed above. 

All of those things can become true…eventually. And there are lots of different types of pay for performance business models that can yield them over time. 

My problem isn’t with the dream they are selling, my problem is the dishonesty about what it takes to get there. 

Because the reality is that anyone who has built a successful business has worked their freaking butt off with really long hours, for a really long time. 

They have sacrificed and saved, they have hustled and worked, and they have been beaten down over and over and over again long before they ever had any of those things. 

Real achievers have tried and failed. They started over and got slammed. They kept at it when it never looked like they would make it. But they stayed committed, they fought, they bounced back and went through piles and piles of muck and mounds of setbacks. 

They’ve had a thousand opportunities to embrace any number of justifiable excuses that would have been accepted by any other reasonable person – yet they turned their back on those “outs.”

Every “Lifestyle Entrepreneur” I know that has actually made it is someone who has worked relentlessly to get where they are and they make no mistake about what it’s taken to get there.  

The people who have successfully built businesses are easy to spot because they are the ones who are talking about the truth. 

They are talking about how hard you have to work to get there. They are talking about all of the rejection you have to endure. They are talking about how many times they failed. 

Successful people have unmistakably learned that you do what you have to do until you’ve earned the right do what you want to do. 

So while they may have some shiny toys, big brands, and large followings, they would never promote how easy it is to get there because they know full well that it’s a lie. 

Robert Herjavec from the Shark Tank said it pretty well when he said, “If you are under the illusion that you can start a business and run it at your life’s schedule, you are mistaken. The business is like a starving puppy-when it needs to eat, then it needs to eat regardless of what you have going on personally.”

Gary Vaynerchuk also captured it nicely when he dropped this truth bomb, “people leave companies to start their own business thinking that it will somehow be easier. They are badly mistaken. What they will quickly realize is that if you thought your old boss was bad, in order for your own business to succeed, your new boss had better be a slave driver.”

So if you’re allowing yourself to be convinced that there is some easy path that you’ve missed out on – don’t be. 

If you’re scrolling through social media looking at the manicured versions of other people’s lives thinking they’ve figured out something that you haven’t – quit that. 

If you’re selling yourself that if you’re being asked to work hard you’re in the wrong business – stop it. 

Because chances are that if you’re doing anything that is hard, then it probably also has integrated into it a path to many of the great things you want. 

But it won’t come easy. 

And it won’t come fast. 

And it sure isn’t going to come from jaunting gleefully around the world working only 20 hours a week. 

Quit buying into the lies. 

Quit allowing yourself to be deceived. 

And instead, put your head down and go back to work. 

When you get tired, suck it up and go back to work. 

Then, when you’re ready to quit, go back to work. 

After you’re sure you can’t take anymore go back to work. 

Once you’re completely empty, keep going back to work. 

And one day, after you’ve done that, in one direction, for a really long time, you’ll look up and realize that the “Lifestyle” you thought you missed out on became your actual reality.  

How long are you going to wait?


How Long are you going to wait

What is it going to take to get you to act?

How many days are you going to let pass while you think about your dream but never act on it?

And what exactly are you waiting for?

What if you were the only person who could do what you were designed to do?

What if no one else existed with the capacity and ability to do what you could do?

And what if you missed it?

What if you waited too long?

What if you missed your chance to make a difference?

What if you missed your chance to do the thing that only you could do?

How would that feel?

What would you tell your kids?

What would you tell yourself?

Because that’s how it is.

That is what happens when you don’t act.

That is what happens when you don’t do what you know you should do.

That is what happens when you procrastinate.

Don’t be that person.

Don’t lose that dream.

You were born for greatness.

You were born for a purpose.

You were born with a specific intention for your life laid out by God that no one else can fill.

Today is the day.

Now is the time.

The time to act.

The time to leave fear behind.

The time to do the thing that you know you were meant to do.

The time to make a difference.

Don’t be the one who looks back and says “it’s too late.”

Don’t be the one who says “I wonder if I could’ve.”

Be the one who says I did.

I changed the damn world.

I reshaped the future.

I did what no one else could do.

I made a difference.

I mattered.

I did it.

Punch Fear in the Face

We lose so much to fear.

It’s a shame…

Because the vast majority of fears that we have are not going to happen, or are even all that likely to be possible. Yet they stop us from ever getting started. These stories in our head stifle our inspiration before we even give our dreams a chance to breathe.

Then we wake up one day and realize that we missed out on so much because we created reasons and excuses for why it wasn’t possible.

“But what do you do when all of your excuses for chasing your dream are gone?”

You decide that waiting is over. You decide that now is the time. You decide that today is when it is going to happen.

In Jon Acuff’s new book he lays out the plan for how to “Start” – for how to move past your fears and move your life from average to awesome.

  1. Write the fear down: Fear is a big loud bully in your head but it’s nothing once it’s out on paper
  2. Refute it with truth: Don’t argue or get tangled with yourself about what the worst case scenario is instead just list out all the reasons why it is possible
  3. Share it: Fear fears community and as you tell others it starts to lose it’s power over you

These are just a few ideas Jon shares for how to punch fear in the face. If you’d like some more then pick up a copy.

Don’t be scared.