I'm at the end of Week 1 with my Career Clarity Camp and we're heading into Week 2, where we'll start to turn our career visions into some meaningful action.
One thing I'm realizing as we go through this process is how often we sideline our dreams. We worry that we may fail in our efforts or that we will do something stupid or embarrassing. Sometimes we wait around for someone else to go first. We can also consume ourselves with activities that SEEM like they're moving us forward, but they really aren't.
Here's what I've discovered in my life. If you want to make a dream happen, there are two things you need to do:
1. Acknowledge your dreams without shame or judgement.
Too many of us are ashamed of our dreams. We feel like there is something wrong with us for wanting what we want.
A lot of people I work with, for example, are creative, artistic souls and they judge themselves for wanting more beauty, freedom, connection and joy in their professional lives. These are typically not valued at work, or we pay them lipservice, so people get the message that these are frivolous desires. Nice if you can find them, but not practical.
Have we all really bought into the notion of our society as simply a vast machine for "productivity" and "return on investment," such that wanting something more soul-filling is frivolous? I'm afraid that we have, based on the shame and judgement I see in people who say they want something more.
And it is this judgement--both internal and external--that holds people back from really pursuing what they want. They hear that they must be "practical" and "realistic," which really means that they must give in to a culture that has lost sight of its humanity at work. So they do it, because it's expected, but they are dying inside.
So the first step in making a dream happen is to embrace it, to love it and accept it without reservation, judgement or shame. You must name it and claim it for you to move ahead.
2. Make them happen.
For those of us who have finally embraced what we want as necessary and worthy, the second step is to make your dreams happen. That sounds obvious, but it's not. Too many of us wait for someone to come along who will say "Hey--I hear you have a dream. Let me make it a reality for you." If you want to talk "unrealistic," that's where we get into trouble.
To make a dream happen, you will have to move it. You have to take risks. You have to experiment and explore and be willing to fall on your face. You have to accept the dark side of creation and be kind to yourself in that process.
You also have to be willing to take the lead and be in charge, to put yourself out there in the world and be willing to be identified with your dream. You have to talk to people around you, let them know what you're dreaming. You'll be amazed at what comes your way when you are finally acting from a true place of acceptance and inspiration.
Making your dream happen isn't an event. It's a process. It's doing something each day that moves you closer to what you want. It's a series of steps you take, one foot in front of the other, until you arrive at your destination. There will be stumbles and missteps, but the journey itself will be far more rewarding than staying in place without dreams. I promise you that.
Accepting your dream and then acting on it--that's all it takes to make things happen. So simple, yet so hard to do. . .