BEWARE: The Dream Is Safer Than The Action

I am an avid dreamer. I enjoy turning visions of wonderful ideas into full-fledged productions in my mind. This has served me well over the years. Daydreams feed my inspiration and confidence to realize many of my desires.

This latest transition feels a little different. Perhaps my previous daydreams were smaller or less risky, or maybe the stakes were not as high regarding my personal commitments and responsibilities. Whatever the reason, in my current quest to start from scratch and create a new life and worklife for myself, I find that I am very protective of my dreams.

In my dreams, I am the lead character of course, and I control my successes. I shine and I deliver and I bring to life the wonder of my visions. Everyone approves of my efforts and applauds my performance. I look great, sound great, and doggone-it, people like me. Everything I risk goes well and everything I create astounds the audience. The dream is protected in my mind, though in my mind, it is also stifled.

I’ve been dreaming of living differently for so many years that now that I am actually living in this opportunity to make it happen, I am scared. What if I let the dream out and it falls on its face? What if everyone laughs at me or doesn’t “get me”? What if I discover that I’m not that good at what I desire? What then?

One thing I said to my husband before I left my full-time job and as I anticipated newfound freedom was, “I’m finally at a place where I would rather have stories of failure than no stories at all.” Easily said, not always easily lived.

I revisited my own coaching tools and determined that taking small risks and conducting small actions helps me stay in motion and helps me gradually gain courage of conviction as I release my ideas into the wild. Make a phone call, send an email, go to a networking event. Put yourself out there a little bit at a time. Sure, real life gets messier than dreams, though as you give yourself permission to walk the walk of your dreams and visions, you bring yourself out of hiding and into the world of real possibilities. It is always worth it, and it is ok to fail. Gravitate towards people who support and encourage you, and be your own best friend. The reality is, you don’t need the whole world to approve of you, and no one actually has that. It can be hard to let go, as your dream sort-of ceases to be a dream as you realize it. In other words, …

You have to allow yourself the loss of your dream in order to live it.

Dreams are powerful tools to realize your desires. If your emotions are powerful though your visions a bit blurry, one activity I find very beneficial for myself and others is to create an inspiration board. It is a wonderful way to see examples of the varied images that are developing in your mind, get them out of your mind, and begin putting some language and actionable ideas to them. If you’re one of those people who thinks this is too “touchy feely” and you are “too cool for school” when it comes to exercises to aid in your exploration, get over it and do something to externalize your desires.

There are many ways to create an inspiration board. My favorite way is to collect a bunch of magazines that I might be drawn to in one way or another. Then, I go through the magazines, and without censoring myself or analyzing anything, I tear or cut out any images or words that resonate with me. I glue or tape them all over a large piece of poster board (when I didn’t have poster board, I just taped a bunch of computer paper together) and I stand back and just gaze at it. The MOST IMPORTANT part of this process is to not judge, question, or overthink your choices. It is also important to not try and organize, categorize, and relate all of your choices or their placement on your paper. This is a picture of real dreams and a real person, and reality is messy and many things that exist together do not relate or might even contradict one another. This is not the time to act as though you are turning something in for a grade or to add to your portfolio or performance review. This is for you. Hang it on a wall in your home office and refer to it often.

To everyone, I wish you happy dreaming, and then HAPPY LIVING!!!

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