We Suck At Dreaming
The tagline of my business is “Stop chasing your dream. Start living it!” Naturally when I start working with someone I want to know what her dreams are. One of the first questions I always ask is, “What is your dream or desired outcome for this situation?”
And then something funny happens.
I don’t get to hear about the true desire, or authentic dreams right away. Instead roadblocks, nightmares, or dreams riddle with conditions come up.
Let’s say I’m coaching Molly, and she has been working at a stressful corporate job for over 8 years. She booked a session with me because she knows she wants to make some changes in her life. She wants to feel more fulfilled. She’s pleased with her current successes at work, but knows there’s something more for her. She wants to take action, but doesn’t know what direction to move in. She needs clarity, so she reached out to me.
1. The Road Blocks – challenges and struggles that are holding you back from having what you really want. Molly would tell me: there’s not enough time to research new job possibilities. She’s exhausted from working so much, and having trouble staying motivated to create something new. She wants to change, but has doubt that it isn’t possible for her. Basically, I asked Molly what she wants, and she gave me all the excuses why that isn’t her current reality.
If I asked you where in the world you want to travel to most, that dream vacation, would you tell me all the reasons why you can’t go there? No! You’d say “I want to get my butt to Bali ASAP, here’s why….”
We often let our limiting beliefs and stressful circumstances keep us from clearly seeing and sharing our dreams. Don’t let the things in your way stop you from seeing where you want to go. It’s important that you keep focused on your end destination, not on the pavement directly in front of you.
2. Nightmares – the vision of what you don’t want, the anti-dreams. A lot of times when I ask someone what they want, they tell me everything they don’t want. Dreams filled with fear are nightmares, the complete opposite of what you want. In Molly’s case she’d tell me all about the position that would drive her to boredom, the ever dwindling bank account, and withering unused passion and talent that was never acted upon.
If this is you, you are not alone. In fact, a lot of people lack clarity around what they want, but have a lot of clarity around what they do NOT want. If you don’t want X, then you’ll know to direct yourself elsewhere, but that still leaves A, B, F, Q, Y, Z, and a whole slew of other options.
Focusing on what you don’t want can be a helpful step, but if that’s where you stop, well you’ll stay stuck on focusing on what you don’t want. Where you place your attention, energy naturally flows. Shifting your focus to your desired outcome will direct more energy towards what you want, and help you to manifest those desires with more ease.
3. Conditional Dreaming – the act of only allowing yourself to imagine your life under certain limits of being practical, good enough, or sensible. This isn’t really dreaming, this is living by the limitation that others place on your (or that you might be unconsciously placing on yourself). Molly would tell me how she wants to be able to pay her bills, and make her parents proud, and live a good life at a job she loves. She would let herself dream, but only in a way that’s practical or realistic.
Dreams need not be practical! They are dreams, not action plans and to do-lists. They don’t need to make perfect sense.
Start dreaming from an unconditional place. Imagine what you would want if there were no limitations on time, money, energy, resources, or ability. Remove the barriers, and practice opening yourself back up to unlimited potential. Once you have a clear vision of your dreams, you start to live you life from a completely different vantage point, one filled with opportunity.
Your ability to dream is directly related to your ability to create the life you truly desire. If you can’t even imagine what life would be like, how in the world could it become your reality? Knowing what you want is incredibly powerful. Sit down this week and allow yourself to dream, really dream.