Here's a note I just received from a Dream Job listener:
"Yes, I still do 8.5 hours of time in my ‘human filing cabinet' each day. Yes, I still dream of breaking out and finding my true calling. Yes, I'm still scared to death to do so. I stopped dreaming so long ago that I can't even remember what I loved to do when I was younger. I just remember loving baseball more than anything else. Maybe I should get a glove and a ball and find a wall and play catch with myself for a dozen hours, and my dreams might start to come back. Hmmm. Maybe I will."
That actually is a great idea. Just breaking the cycle of our routine is often the jarring that our brains need to wake up. Go ahead and spend that 12 hours throwing a ball against the wall — I'm absolutely confident that in that time you'll wipe away some cobwebs, peel back the scales from your eyes, and begin to get in touch with your childhood dreams.
So often I see people who have become numbed to their dreams just because "life happens." Mortgages come along, kids need school books, and it's time for new tires on the car. Who has time to dream? But perhaps that's why unexpected and even unwelcome events like a job loss or a business failure often break the normal day-to-day existence and wake up our best dreams. If things are okay for you right now, take the initiative to find your dreams anyway — don't wait for a crisis to break any pattern of mediocrity that may have slowly found its place in your life. Go spend a day at the zoo, walk four miles out in the country, call an old high school friend, get a massage, go on a cruise, or throw a ball at a wall for 12 hours — that just may be the tipping point to reveal your true calling.
In Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E. Lawrence says, "There are dreamers, but not all human beings dream equally. Some are dreamers of the night, who in the dusty recesses of their mind dream and wake in the morning to find it was just vanity. But the ‘Dreamers of the Day' are dangerous people because they act their dreams into reality with open eyes."
Now there's a clear picture. "Dreamers of the Day" are dangerous because they "act their dreams into reality with open eyes."
Your dreams may be the real beginnings of the future you want.
In today's sophisticated, technological world we often dismiss our night dreams as the result of too much pizza or having too much on our minds when we went to bed. But what about those day dreams? Are they to be dismissed as well as just random thoughts passing through our brains? Should we pay attention to those "dreams" or just hunker down and be "realistic" and "practical" with the economy in the shape it is? With jobs being lost, homes being foreclosed, 700 billion dollars up in smoke, and General Motors on the brink of disaster, surely now is not the time to dream. Or is it? Is now a time to dream, or should all wishes, fantasies, visions, and dreams just be put on hold until things get better? Common sense may tell us to forget about anything but the bare essentials until the economy improves, companies start hiring again, or the government gets the automotive, banking, and real estate industries straightened out.
But "common sense" seldom provides the best solutions at times like these. However you define it, "uncommon sense" may be just what is needed — right now. Maybe the trying times have helped you wake up your long-forgotten dreams. Those things that were put on the back burner while life happened may be ready to be birthed because the "common sense" solutions didn't work out very well.
Haven't you experienced in your own life how those times of trials and challenge often released your best ideas? Several years ago I experienced a devastating business failure. I owed the IRS and everyone else in town hundreds of thousands of dollars. And yet that experience woke up some long-dormant dreams of mine that I was able to bring to life over the next few years as I made those painful payments for my mistakes. Today I am living a life much different from the "success" I thought I was heading for back then.
Have you experienced a challenge that helped open your eyes to a better opportunity? Have you ever taken a dream and acted it into reality? Isn't that where your best ideas started?
Could your "dreams of the day" be the seeds of creative problem solutions and the opening door into your greatest new opportunities?
"Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate accomplishments." –Napoleon Hill
As a life coach, nothing concerns me more than beginning the coaching process with someone who says they have no dreams. No dreams traps people in jobs they hate, relationships that have never blossomed, and cars, houses, and clothes that serve nothing but utilitarian functions.
Don't underestimate the value of your night dreams for problem solving and creative approaches to your situation. And by all means, keep dreaming during the day. Tap into those recurring thoughts and ideas that have followed you for years.
"All successful men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose." –Brian Tracy
If you can't dream it, it won't likely happen. Success doesn't sneak up on us. It starts as a dream that we combine with a clear plan of action. Become a Dreamer of the Day and watch your success soar.
Even the Bible tells us — "Where there is no vision, the people perish." (Prov 29:18) We are not going to perish as individuals, families, companies, or a nation — unless we ignore those beautiful dreams of the day.
Maybe in this current work environment you are beginning to wonder if you can even fit in. Perhaps your job is no longer fulfilling — or maybe it has vanished completely. Is it time to conform to a new opportunity or may this be the first time in your life that you actually decide to find — or create — the work you love?
Here's a great question I received recently from a reader who creates beautiful music — but … I'm sure many of you will identify with her.
"Dan, I'm an artist. I don't fit any ‘normal' job because I'm in the 1% of the world's population. I have felt blocked by obstacles or setbacks all my life. I have big dreams — I want to be used by God in a big way. I see myself doing many things: singing/writing/teaching. But I have a feeling I'm going to have to create my own ‘job.' There has never been a job description written for what I want to do. I think God is pushing me ‘out of the box' and has other ideas for me. But I see no clear-marked path of how to best create work. Am I alone in my struggle?"
Dear Artist, I love gifts that God gives us that don't "fit" nicely anywhere. I find that people with those often end up with a much more authentic life than those who simply chose a common career path like dentist, accountant, pastor, teacher, or engineer. The easy path is seldom the most fulfilling. Be grateful that you are in a wonderful 1% of the population. And yes, you will likely have the opportunity to create your position — there are not traditional "jobs" for people like us. But that's where we have to use that same creativity and artistic abilities to find how to share our gift with the world in a way that is meaningful, purposeful — and profitable.
Just keep in mind that having writing/singing skill and putting it to music is the beginning part of seeing success in your work. You then have to position, brand, and market it. Having the gift and talent is not enough. You need to know your "unique selling proposition" (USP) and have a clear marketing strategy. Your music may be appropriate for people in hospice situations or as part of a physical rehabilitation program. I know of an artist who has focused on dental offices for selling her art. Someone commented that her art is calming — she took that one cue and has been extremely successful selling into that one profession.
Don't be fearful of being in the position of having to create your own job or work. Only governments, universities, and enormous organizations have positions with inflexible job titles and duties. Keep in mind that 99.4% of the companies out there have fewer than 99 employees. That means they are small enough to be flexible and to embrace the unique skills brought to them by competent and passionate people. The responsibility (and opportunity) is yours to define what it is that you are passionate about and what you do with excellence. Then you can position and promote yourself for an opportunity that embraces those unique characteristics.
And, no, you are not alone in your struggle. Thousands are asking the same questions and having the same feelings. Believe that being "out of the box" is a blessing. People inside the box are smothering.
People who love their work are not rational people!
I love to see the wide variety of dreams that are nurtured, defined, and developed into meaningful, purposeful work. People often ask me what kind of personal skills make someone a candidate to be one who loves his or her work. And when I start listing the things I think are helpful, I find that I touch on many things that seem to be contradictory.
Is it better to be an extrovert or an introvert? A dreamer or a realist? A thinker or a doer? A socializer or a loner? Is it more valuable to have imagination or practical skills? To be left-brained or right-brained? Dominant or reserved? Analytical or expressive? Change-loving or schedule-conforming? Super intelligent or just normal? Gorgeous or average?
I've come to the conclusion that there is no "right" or "predicable" pattern that leads to work that we love. I think most of us who have found that sweet spot defy rational explanation or categories. The person who loves his or her work is someone using both sides of the brain. The right side pours out dreams, passions, and fantasies, and the left side takes that and creates patterns and systems to allow results that benefit everyone and magically produce money as well. You can have the soul of an artist — and your work is a shaped release of that art. You can be a logical precisionist and your work brings life to those otherwise boring and useless details.
Welcome to today's world of work — yes it is volatile, unpredictable, and intimidating. Old work models are being destroyed. Pensions, medical benefits, company cars, and big bonuses will never be the same. Intelligence, degrees, certification, and loyalty may not be rewarded as in the past. But the apparent destruction reveals a clean slate. There are no obstacles, no barriers. No wrong personal attributes, backgrounds, or education — just opportunity for all!