If you are analytical, like many of the folks I work with, than chances are you have a few challenges when it comes to dreaming or imagining a career you love.
But do you realize until you are able to allow yourself to dream big, chances are you will never come close to having a truly fulfilling work life.
Let’s be honest for a minute. If you are reading this and you are in your dream career, wasn’t there a time when what you are doing was only a thought – perhaps even a fleeting thought? You had to have had many thoughts and dreams and seen yourself performing many of the tasks you do on a daily basis.
Richard Bolles calls the “not allowing yourself to dream” part the “Safekeeping Self.” This is where we make every excuse we can think of to not take action or to dream big. “What if my spouse doesn’t like what I do,” “I’m not talented enough,” or “I don’t have what it takes.”
Although this concept is nothing new, how many of us would you guess still insert the “Yes, buts…” into our thoughts and we excuse ourselves from dreaming big.
Today I met with a young lady who paints beautifully. Potential buyers have offered to purchase her work, yet she is unable to imagine how she can support herself doing this one thing that comes naturally and is effortless.
Although she is only at the beginning of her journey, it is clear painting is one of the skills that gives her great pleasure and, if she allows herself to dream big, would likely be listed as one of the top skills she would need to use in her work to achieve career happiness.
Given the time it takes to complete one painting, she is concerned that she would end up a starving artist. Yet, is it impossible to imagine a job or career where painting can be incorporated into a portion of the day or once or twice a week? Are you dreaming big now? This can also look like a process of elimination, in many cases. That is, eliminating what you don’t want.
If you’ve ever done mind mapping, you can see how your creative thoughts are all linked – in the center would be “dream work life” or “dream career,” and extending out would be various thoughts and feelings about what that would look like. This is a great way to “dream” on paper.
Because so many things interrupt our imagination process daily, it may be necessary to be aware of the thoughts running through our brains and then catch the feeling we are having at the moment about those thoughts.
Is it sadness, anger, frustration, happiness, feelings of hope, love, anticipation, excitement? When we dream big about what our day would look and make it a point to reach for the better thought, we are on our way.
To have what we want we must first allow ourselves to imagine walking to and being IN our perfect work place. There cannot be any limitations on this – this is not a practical exercise. It is a free association exercise.
No limits. No holds. Go for it. Rock Star? Full time artist? Home office? Beach office? Philanthropist – all great. Just start by dreaming BIG! Who are you talking to, what are you doing and where are you at?
Would you believe for many of us, NOT doing this exercise may have a lot to do with why we feel trapped or are unable to land the job. There is time involved in this. Desperation creates more desperation. Take a breath, take the time and dream big.
I talk about identifying the skills you most want to use in a job as a critical part of this journey. While you are dreaming big, go ahead and notice what skills you are using in this scenario (or one of perhaps several). It’s a great start!
Dream big career image from Shutterstock