It can be annoying when fabulously successful people deliver that seemingly hackneyed message. Their words make it sound so easy, as though our dreams are actually clear to us and the path obvious. Their encouragement can even sound a bit like criticism. Ugh!
We often convince ourselves that realized dreams are for other people–mostly celebrities, pro athletes, and people a lot smarter than we. That’s our first mistake.
Our desire for approval (and fear of disapproval) from friends and family can be a powerful force.
So, most of us keep our dreams private for too long.
Choosing a career that’s far afield from what you really want sets you up for big disappointments. The sad truth is that most people do just that.
When I coach people facing career crossroads, I ask them this:
Describe briefly the career/job you’ve always dreamed of having that you have never pursued or have only toyed with.
In the list below, the arrows tell you what these folks saw as their dream jobs:
- Senior corporate finance director after 30 years → Manager of an entertainment-related facility
- Entry level accountant → Sports team front office administrator
- Business analyst → Own and operate a bed and breakfast
- Single mother of four with a medical degree out of the workforce for two decades → Practicing and teaching alternative medicine
- New college grad with an English major → Wine dealer/Travel writer/Set locator for movies/ Travel company founder
Dreams linger, so it’s never too soon or too late to embrace them.
Your dreams belong to you and you only. Your challenge is to pursue them–on your terms.
Wake up your sleepy head.
Our dreams start in our heads. To make them real, we need to be awake and in gear.
Actor Ryan Reynolds is the voice for the garden snail who dreams, quite unbelievably, of being the greatest auto racer in the world in the animated Dreamworks film, Turbo. As Reynolds says, the message in this fantasy film is important:
No dream is too big. No dreamer is too small.
It’s often the case that we start small as we explore our dreams, testing out whether or not we can cobble together plans to achieve them. Each step inches us closer to our vision.
That’s how it worked for county singer, Dolly Parton, who ,throughout her career, has said she always dreams big dreams.
The fourth of 12 children, the daughter of a tobacco farmer in Tennessee, Dolly grew up, as she describes, “dirt poor,” living in a rustic, one-room cabin, and singing in church.
Her talent for singing and songwriting, her grit, willingness to work hard, her charity, and her willingness to dream bigger and bigger dreams propelled her career. She’s never stopped dreaming.
Neither should we.
It’s never too late to get started. So consider these steps:
- Put a sock in your mouth–to stop the “I can’ts” you mutter that self-sabotage
- Turn over lots of rocks–to find out what’s needed to realize your dream career
- Nibble at the edges–to find an entry point for your first efforts
- Pick your spots– set some specific goals and a timetable for your plan
- Step forward–involve yourself in some way no matter how small
- Keep moving–by gradually increasing your participation
You can turn your dream into reality by simply putting yourself out there.
Converting dreams into reality requires consistent and persistent hard work, sacrifice, mental toughness, and resilience. You’ll need to muster your courage, withstand disappointments, and protect your self-belief.
Your dreams also need the help and support of others. So share them with the right people.
It’s important to ask for what you need when you need it from those who truly care about you and your dreams. Your moment will come but the ride is what it’s all about.
Photo by SanitMB via Photoree