Steven Spielberg was once asked in an interview what God would say to him when he arrived at the pearly gates. He said he believed God would say, “Thank you.”

He responded with an answer free of doubt, guilt or remorse. He possessed a confident yet humble satisfaction that he is doing what he came here to do.

He is living his vision. Are you?

Yes, it’s true that from the time Spielberg was a small boy he held a movie camera in his hand and had a mother who encouraged his creativity. Not everyone is so lucky. But do you think it has been an easy path for him?

I wonder how it felt to be shunned by his peers and the movie industry for years. I wonder how many doubts and fears he has wrestled with while tackling difficult and sensitive subjects. I wonder how much he likes public appearances that come with the marketing of a major theater release.

Have you ever walked away from a project or shut the door on an opportunity because it got tough?

In a class I used to teach, I would give my students the following set of words to stick in their back pockets to pull out when they felt alone and full of doubts: Purpose, Action, Tenacity, Income, Energy, Network, Clarity and Empowerment. The letters form the acronym Patience, which is a mandatory requirement for achieving long-term goals.

Life can feel like an endurance test — especially when projects fail, people disappoint and weariness overtakes. But that is exactly the time when courage is needed.

In every challenge of your life, learn to look beyond disturbances, through problems and out to the farthest vision you can imagine. Hold on to that vision no matter what.

Next, take steps in accord with it. This will allow your current circumstances to begin fall into line with your vision.

It takes courage to practice the above discipline. You will have to get out from the influence of others, stop people pleasing and hold a consistent picture of your vision under all circumstances.

At all times, in your mind’s eye, clearly visualize all that supports your vision. Then with renewed clarity take the next indicated step, then the next and the next. And when your charted course feels like it has too many steep hills and hairpin turns and you can’t see around the corner — keep going.

When you stumble and your faith begins to falter and you wonder, “How in the world will this happen?” ask instead, “What is my purpose?” With your answer you will find renewed courage and the willingness to continue your journey.

Then one day, after you’ve succeeded and have lived your unique vision in full blown Technicolor, you will stand at the pearly gates and also be blessed with receiving and hearing a simple “thank you” at the end.

Susan Ann Darley is a creativity coach and writer who works with artists, creatives and entrepreneurs to discover, use and market their talents. She offers a free 30-minute coaching session. Follow her on Twitter: @Coach7700. For more information, click here, e-mail her at susan@susananndarley.com or call 805.845.3036.