Growing up we are sent conflicting messages about what to do with our dreams; as children we yearned for a specific toy and received it on a birthday or other special occasion (as if by “magic”), and yet we were also told not to be demanding or greedy…don’t ask for “too much”. As a small child it can be hard to reconcile the magic of a wish that comes true with the adult insistence that we not voice all that we hope for - it being clear that asking for the toy you wanted was directly linked to getting it (magic or not). As we grow up the expectation to be selfless and undemanding grows too, dampening what wishes and hopes we share with others. It may feel selfish, commanding or insensitive to give voice to them, so these things live within you in silence. It is also vulnerable to bring into the light your deepest aspirations. Dreams and aspirations are very important; they allow us to strive for something just out of our reach, motivating us even from a place of vulnerability…but only when we have the courage to explore what it will take to make our dreams a reality.
So what dreams do you have for your working life? Dreams are hard to acknowledge, and I am not talking about the “I’ve won the lottery” type of dreams, I am referencing the ones you quietly shield in your heart, in the little locked room that you visit every now and again generating a longing that is almost too painful to bare…perhaps it is a yearning for greater independence in your work…more freedom to bring self-expression into what you do. Look inside, what dreams do you have a longing to see happen? These are not unreachable fantasies, but this can be difficult piece of personal development to undertake. Spending time thinking about your silenced dreams may be painful because they seem big and unattainable; there is fear here. Not brave enough to go after the dream. Feeling too inadequate to be successful or not feeling worthy of what achieving the dream would give to you. The fear of failing at the dream and having to give it up. It’s important to lean into the longing to see what fear is standing in the way of planning for your dreams…because the sad truth is you are the one putting it there. How are you standing in the way of making your dreams a reality?
I am not saying anything is possible, there are limits and realities that do stand in the way, so the next thing to check for is objectivity; is your dream based in the here and now, leveraging the strengths you hold today…or is it based on some imagined future state where you are a whole different and more perfect person? Any dream that starts with wanting to be something you are not (or with the world becoming a more perfect place) is not a realistic dream. This is where the work of separating wants and needs comes into play; obviously everyone would love to be more credentialed, experienced or free of mortal constraints, but that isn’t what dreams are made of (those are wishes). Dreams are about what is calling, the yearnings you have based on your current strengths, values and principles…what do you want to see put into the world that makes a tangible contribution to both yourself and others? Separating wants versus needs is important because your needs (like being fulfilled at work) will have a “call to action” associated with them, and once you can see how these needs benefit both you and your employer, many things are possible within your current role. Manage your expectations, not all of your needs will fit into what your employer has to offer you long term, or even in your current role, but ensuring you look carefully at your dreams and acknowledge the needs you have (versus the “nice to haves”) will ensure you can realistically plan for them (in your current role and all that follow).
Living your dreams is about looking into your future with an awareness that supports your today and tomorrow. With that commitment in hand, you will make your dreams a reality without unnecessary chaos.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." ~ Walter Disney
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I believe in giving back to others in many tangible ways. When I learn something new, or see something that might help others, I share it using my blog and website. You can always find my latest blog entries here, on Facebook or Linked In.