Remember when you were just a young kid dreaming about what you would be when you grew up? Some aspired to be an actor or actress; others dreamed of being a sports star – the next Mickey Mantle or Wilt Chamberlain; still others dreamed of being a doctor or nurse.
As we got older, most of us who are reading this probably discovered their dream was too far-fetched and chose some other career. Maybe it was because a well-meaning parent, teacher or coach told us to pick a different dream. Or perhaps, as happened to me, life changed significantly.
My dad passed away when I was 16 and thoughts about going away to college to pursue a particular line of study went out the window. I now had different responsibilities in our family. Don’t take this as complaining…just as an example of how life unfolds.
For me, college consisted of commuting to a local, well-respected university. I became very involved in campus activities, particularly in my junior and senior year while holding down part-time paid jobs to pay for a college student’s typical expenses. Overall, it was a great experience.
What I have come to appreciate, particularly in the last 20 years or so, is life is about living a dream and never giving up until that dream is achieved. Mind you, I haven’t yet achieved the dream—I am still pursuing it. Accomplishing your dream, or even coming close, requires relentless focus on actively and intentionally growing into your potential.
For some, it takes years or decades to discover what their dream really is; the journey can be long and arduous to understand their potential. The time required for discovery isn’t the point; what is important is to embrace your dream with all you’ve got when you do discover it.
When you choose to engage fully in pursuing your dream, be prepared for some of your closest friends and even relatives to attempt to dissuade you. They are not being mean necessarily, rather they are lacking in understanding. They are just expressing their discomfort with the idea of you changing, likely because of the impact of those changes in their own lives—or maybe they don’t have a dream of their own.
For dreams to be realized, obviously they must be fed. Feeding happens by developing the skills, talents, and competencies required to perform at an exceptionally high level. Feeding also happens by having a strong inner circle around you to support you, encourage you and possibly make some professional connections for you.
So, do you have a clear perspective on your dream? If so, what are you intentionally doing to develop your skills, talents and competencies to get you closer to realizing that dream? If you don’t have a specific plan, the likelihood of you achieving your aspirations is very low.
You may say, “I don’t have the time to devote to this development.” You are correct – no one has the time. The question really is, “If you invest your time in your development, will you get a return and what will that return be?” It’s all about asking the right question (or being asked the right question by someone else).
If you don’t have a clear perspective on your dream, you will likely continue to move along at other people’s paces focusing on other people’s priorities. Of course, that is OK if that is what you want.
If you’d like a thinking partner to think this through with you, or you know someone who would benefit from having such a thinking partner, let me know.