CNLP 323: Josh Gagnon on How to Chase Your Dreams Even After You’ve Been Disappointed, Keeping Hope Alive, and How to Know When (or Whether) to Finally Give Up

Having dreams is easy. Keeping dreams alive is difficult, especially in the face of rejection and disappointment.

What do you do when your book proposal gets rejected, your church isn’t growing as fast as you think it should and your life, though good, isn’t happening the way you hoped?

Pastor and author, Josh Gagnon, talks about his experience of rejection and disappointment, what’s he’s learned and how to keep your dream alive when you’re facing setbacks.

Welcome to Episode 323 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website | It’s Not Over

Episode Links

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CNLP 297: Gordon MacDonald Shares 8 Decades of Wisdom and Life Lessons, Father Wounds, the Dangers of Drivenness, Counselling a U.S. President, and What Leaders Struggle with Between Ages 32-42 and at Age 48 and Age 62

CNLP 200: Joshua Gagnon on Rapid Growth, Launching Big and Staying Sane in Leadership

CNLP 225: Joshua Gagnon and Daniel King on Breaking Growth Barriers from 30 People to 5000 People Without Blowing Your Church Apart

Next Level Church

3 Insights from Josh

1. Most people are living in a skeleton of a dream they once had

Growing up, we all had dreams. Whether it was to be an astronaut, a police officer, or an artist, we all dreamed of something. As we mature, our dreams can become reality, but sadly they don’t for most people. Josh realized that because of the many discouragements and struggles that come while we chase our dreams, many people abandon them.

Now, when he drives down the street, he sees people living lives that are a shell of what their dreams used to be. They are ignoring, stifling, or fighting against the burning passion inside of them for whatever those early dreams were.

2. We quit on dreams because we see the end, but don’t want to endure the journey

According to Josh, when God gives us a dream, he shows us the end goal of a journey. So when we start to chase after those dreams, our lives look nothing like the end goal for most of the journey. The journey to the dream is hard and it’s discouraging.

Most people quit on their dreams because they go through this discouragement and can’t/won’t endure that pain any longer. With his book, Josh is hoping to show everyone why they have reason to dream again. The world will be a better place because of the God-given dream that we chase after today.

3. There’s a connection between our prayer life and our dream life

One trend that has happened over and over in Josh’s life is that as his prayer life dwindles, he has noticed his dream life dwindles with it. The moment we start believing that there are not better days ahead, is the moment that we quit dreaming and believing God to do truly miraculous things in our lives.

What happens is our prayer life goes from, “God, fill this room,” to, “God, could you get at least 1 guest to show up today?” Or “God, could you do the impossible?” to “God, just do a little bit better than last year.” When this happens, we begin to have a dream problem, because we’re never going to pray big bold prayers if we’ve given up on the dreams of our future and the hopes of our future.

Quotes from Episode 323

'There are people who just really want to give back, and sometimes they might be right next door to us and we miss them. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Most people are living in a skeleton of what they hoped for years ago. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet

Within the definition of the word discouragement, you find the word expectations. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet

When we look at just our experiences, our abilities and who we are, we can pretty clearly line up dreams that probably shouldn't be chased. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet

God really directs us by the fire he places inside of us. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet

The honest answer why I haven't quit ministry is because the pain of not doing it would hurt worse than the pain while doing it. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet

As long as God gives us breath in our lungs, there's still a purpose for our life. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet

What happens is our dream life and our prayer life run in the same lane. For many people today, they don't have a prayer problem, they have a dream problem. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet

You're never going to pray as if God can move mountains if you've given up believing that he can. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet

The people in my life that are redirecting me are going to be people who are willing to sweat alongside me. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 323

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Next Episode: Claire Diaz-Ortiz

Claire Diaz-Ortiz is an author, speaker, startup advisor and investor, and one of the early employees at Twitter. Claire talks about the early days at Twitter, what no one saw coming in social media, how to find traction and success on social media today, and how she juggles so much as the mom of three young kids.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 324.

CNLP 323: Josh Gagnon on How to Chase Your Dreams Even After You’ve Been Disappointed, Keeping Hope Alive, and How to Know When (or Whether) to Finally Give Up


  1. luis alberto on July 2, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Hi, I go every Sunday to the church here in Colorado
    and the truth is that I support the shepherds who give everything for us and help us always,
    If my pastor made a book that talked about how important life is, I’d still poll him like I poll Josh Gagnon.

  2. Caitlynn Bell on March 16, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Thank You so much for praying and giving me information on personal experience. This has really been helping me and opening my eyes to new things. Knowing I’m not the only one who has dealt this with this is already reassuring.

    Thank You and Blessings to all you do,


  3. Caitlynn on February 28, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Hello there! I am 19 years old and currently leading worship at my church of about 100. When I first started leading, I had Many people come up to me and tell me not to put a lot on my plate because they don’t want to see me get burnt out. I told them that it could never happen! I love worship too much to not let myself be burnt out. Over the last month, I have had absolutely no motivation to do my college homework and am falling behind. My heart and mind want to be in God’s word more, but I have absolutely no motivation anymore! I had a two month high, and now I feel like I’m in the low. I have never struggled with depression, but I almost feel like I’m in it! I feel stuck almost, alone, and do not know who to reach out to. I guess I need to figure out how to get out of this and find someone to talk to. Do you have any advice or an article that I could read about the recovery from burnout? And Thank You so much for your time.

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