Here are my three things I know are true about dreams.
1. Dreams are imperative.
Dreams fuel you. Dreams make a difference between a life that feels engaged and one that feels stuck and motionless. Dreams connect with what is alive in all of us. Remember how just hearing about a friend’s dream made you feel so enlivened and energized?
My son and I share a love of fountain pens. One of our quests in San Francisco was to find ink. At an art supply store, on a busy street, next to a glass counter, in a small section of the store, we met a woman who knew a lot about fountain pens. We talked about nibs, which ink to use on planes and the features of different pen makers. She carries 3 pens. She loves fountain pens; her collection is about 300. She knows how to choose them, clean them and fix them. We asked her a lot of questions. And she answered them all. Her enthusiasm was catchy. Because when you are around someone who loves what they do, you can’t help but take on some of that excitement.
What else you will notice when people are doing what they love is that they look alive. You can see it on their face, in their expressions and through their words.
Dreams also connect you with others. And when you do what you love, you become more interesting, inspiring to others. You also attract like-minded people and inspire each other.
You are motivated, engaged and purposeful when you follow your dreams.
What to do when you aren’t feeling connected to your dream:
When you aren’t feeling connected to your dreams or wonder if you have any, there are lots of clues in your daily life to what ignites you. The challenge is to pay attention. What excites you? One way of doing this is to write the question with your dominant hand and make a list with your non-dominant one. I would recommend making a list of about 30 to 50 items that excite you. The more time you spend on it, the more you will get to some of your core desires.
2. Dreams don’t just happen.
Often dreams begin small and grow bigger than you would have imagined. I am thinking of Johanna Basford, the young Scottish woman who became famous for her illustrations that she has turned into colouring books. What Johanna Basford has demonstrated is how hard work and following your passion takes you down roads you never could have imagined.
Dreams take effort. Determination. Focus. They don’t just happen.
The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out all at once. Find out what you love, learn about it, develop it, and see what happens. Sometimes you will find that what intrigues you now may not be your dream. Or you may have more than one.
A long time ago, I became quite fascinated with jewellery making. I signed up for a continuing education class with a fine jewellery maker. Though I was quite curious about all of what is involved, I found that I didn’t really like making jewellery.
Trials like these are your stepping stones.
How to make your dreams a reality
Take yourself and your dreams seriously. Be curious. Talk to others, especially people who share your dream. And follow what excites you.
3. The closer you get to your big dream, that’s when the action happens.
The action is usually in the form of self sabotage, with a heaping of fear.
One day on the street, I met a man who I had worked with previously. He said to me, “Do you know why I didn’t succeed?” I shook my head. He added, “Because you believed in me more than I believed in myself.”
Fundamentally, I believe what is at the bottom of all of those abandoned dreams is the answer to this question: What do we believe about ourselves?
Interpretations made a long time ago, usually during childhood, raise their heads when we come closer to your dream. And they are powerful. In dream-killing ways.
What to do when you are sabotaging yourself:
Read The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks. Understand that this is an old part of you that you developed to make life safe. Dig deeper inside to find what you believe about yourself. With awareness, you are much more able to develop the strategies you need to make your dreams come true. Brené Brown also offers great ideas for working with the “experience of believing that we are flawed.”
Writing about three things that I know are true is an idea from Chris Guillebeau. Chris talks about finding his “true north,” what he has found to be true for him. He encourages his readers to use this model for their writing. Chris is a man who follows dreams, dares to dream big and makes it happen. Besides visiting every country in the world, writing 3 books and a lot of other stuff, he is the founder of WDS, an annual event that asks the question, “How do you lead a remarkable life in a conventional world?” Find out more about him here.
What I know is true about following your dreams is also true about finding your dream job.
Often I am asked how do you find the work that you love. Sometimes people are annoyed that they haven’t figured it out already. What I have found is that there are two elements that make the process easier. Time and space. And allowing.
Allow the time to consider work you love.
This means knowing that it takes a focused effort to do the exploration, to make the time and to know that, frequently, percolating is a part of the process. The answers that come often happen in quiet moments and certainly at times you may not be expecting. I think of spending the time to figure out what you love to do as one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself. Once you take the time, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Allow yourself the space to do the exploration.
Throughout my years as an employment counsellor, I have observed people not taking their careers seriously. “It’s called work for a reason,” I hear, as if work was all about knuckling down, doing what must be done, or that the idea of doing work you love is for a privileged few. Many people do not even allow themselves to consider what it would be like to do their dream job. But what about that idea?
I like to think about a world where everyone loved what they did – now that’s a revolution!