1-2-3 Find My Dream
“But I don’t know what my dream is,” my friend sighed. She sounded frustrated. I don’t think I’ve ever talked with someone who actually wants to live a boring, uninspiring life. In fact, most people get pretty excited when they think about what it would be like to follow their passion and purpose every day.
The problem is, it isn’t that easy. Simply liking the idea of turning your dreams into reality isn’t enough to make it happen. For people like my friend, they’ve been stuck in the life that’s just happened to them for so long, they’re no longer sure what their dream even is. Others like me have the opposite problem. We’re chronic dreamers to the point it gets confusing. Either way, the idea of following a dream and making it real can start to feel like a fairy tale…something we’d love to do but could never really happen to us.
Although I can’t wave a magic wand to make your dreams come true, here are three simple steps to help you capture your own elusive dream and turn it into something more tangible.
1. Start a “Dream Journal.” Get a small notebook or even a little recorder you can take with you everywhere. Pay attention to when your heart comes alive…when you’re happiest…when everything is life-in-full-color…when you feel purposeful and life is “in the flow”.
What is happening in each of these moments? What is your role in the story that is unfolding? Who are the other people involved? What issues or topics are present? What skills are you using? What interests do you have that this taps into? Who and how are you being? What are you feeling? Seeing? Hearing? Smelling? Tasting?
Jot down a few notes about the experience in your Dream Journal while it’s still fresh. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. Single words that trigger the memory for you will work fine. For instance, you might write something like: “friend, sick, funny card, made her smile.” Or: “gardening, warm sun, birds singing, smell of the earth, just me.”
You might want to think back over the past too. Identify peak experiences you can remember. Maybe activities you haven’t engaged in for years. Ask yourself the same questions about these experiences and a few take notes.
2. Identify the unifying themes. Once you have a nice selection of experiences you’ve recorded in your Dream Journal, maybe a dozen or so, it’s time to take a birds-eye view of what’s there. Make it fun. Invite a couple of friends over and do some dream-mining. As people on the outside of your life, they will notice things you might otherwise miss.
You’re looking for common elements that keep showing up in these moments. What type of people do you enjoy hanging out with or working with? What role do you enjoy playing? Maybe you’re a leader or an organizer or a caretaker. What skills and abilities do you thrive on using? What values are showing up…those things that are “must haves” in the life of your dreams? What topics are you passionate about or issues you never tire of dealing with?
Make a list of all the unifying themes you find. It might be helpful to create separate lists or rank them by “absolute musts” and “nice but not essential”.
3. Brainstorm possible dreams. Yay! Your dream is almost discovered! Why not invite those same friends back for another dream party? Or even more friends this time. Make it a big party! This time your goal is to brainstorm as many possible options as you can that incorporate all or some of the elements from the list you created in step two.
There are no wrong ideas at this point. You and your friends can toss every single practical, reasonable, expected, zany, crazy, and totally outrageous idea into the mix. Don’t stop until you can’t possibly dream up another option.
Once you’re done brainstorming, take a look at what’s there. Some of the ideas will obviously not be a fit for you. You will want to mine deeper with some of them to see what else might be there. Who knows…you might even find pure gold in the mix…some dream that is so right on target and so far beyond anything you dared to dream before!
A side note though: this isn’t about finding the one perfect dream that fits the entire rest of your life. You may find that you will want to try out several of the dream ideas simultaneously. There’s nothing wrong with that. Or the dream that fits this season of your life may not fit the next. That’s okay too. This is about having fun, playing with options, dreaming big, and living the dream that’s right for you right now.
I believe you have a dream…everyone does…no matter how deeply buried or long forgotten it may be. It’s just a matter of uncovering it and then setting out on an adventure to make it a successful reality!
Life coach Laura Ege helps women dust off their “forgotten dreams” and turn them into successful next life adventures filled with passion, purpose, inspiration, and impact in the world. To find out if you\’re ready for your next life adventure, visit www.NextLifeAdventure.com and take the free assessment.