By Julie Allen, a Dream Career and Life Coach in the Seattle area.
One of the most rewarding things to do as a coach is to help people work towards meaningful dreams. To me, meaningful dreams align with your purpose and help you live your full potential.
During this pandemic, most people have been living one day at a time but I believe life has so much more to offer each of us even during difficult times. If you are just living day to day, that is probably a good sign that it’s time to tap into your imagination and start dreaming again. People don’t ever lose the ability to dream they just stop doing it!
There is nothing better than a good dream to get you out of a rut. Because our dreams allow us to start hoping again and give us meaningful reasons to live our lives.
The problem is most of you have given up on dreams or delay them because let’s face it, you probably don’t get much support in implementing your dreams.
Not only do you struggle with your self-doubt but then you have others that will doubt you even with the first mention of a new dream.
Many people quietly just go with the flow and become conditioned to the world around them letting memories and people’s opinions define them rather than letting their purpose and dreams define them.
At this place of mediocracy and discontentment, you may complain but will do very little to make positive changes. So how do you reframe?
Witness What You Don’t Like then do the Opposite
I know I didn’t have very many good role models myself living most of my life in dysfunctional families. My mother, grandmother, and first husband all had incredible musical talents. They were alive and living their best when performing in front of an audience. But they couldn’t fight enough to live the dreams inside themselves. Instead, they said yes to violence, abuse, and emotional turmoil.
I became both their victim of violence and witness to how not being true to your dreams can be destructive. I observed the paths they took, the wrong choices that caused nothing but pain for themselves and everyone around them. I started asking myself what is the opposite of abuse and violence? What is the opposite of giving up on your dreams? What is the opposite of not believing in yourself?
My younger years were full of dead dreams.
But I was exposed to enough outside my main circle of influence to see other things were going on in the world. People doing amazing things with inspirational stories. I searched for these stories as much as I could.
My motivation to go after dreams was simply to prove to myself and my family that it could be done. I thought if I can live just one dream maybe I could do more and maybe my family could believe that they could do it too.
My first big dream was to travel. In my early twenties, I wanted to live and work in another country and to go to Greece and see the Parthenon. I burned for it. I had read about ancient Greece in school and taught about the history of ancient Greece during my student teaching.
The idea of getting close to the heart of where the beginning of democracy, athletic competition, excellent art, and culture was like touching the beginning of passion and creativity.
I accomplished this dream and walked through the Parthenon not only once in my early twenties but a 2nd time the summer before the pandemic. By doing so, each time I strengthened my dream confidence.
How to Start Dreaming Again?
Dreaming isn’t hard. What is hard is permitting yourself to do so and then committing to fight and make it happen.
We all can dream. How do we know this? We all did it as soon as our brains were developed enough to play and have an imagination. We are designed to form images and pictures of possibilities and then to find ways to recreate those images.
So, what if you were to permit yourself to start dreaming again today? What would that look like?
What’s the most incredible life you can imagine for yourself?
Here are some tips to help spark your passion for dreaming.
1. Set the Mood
Carve some time out to let your mind be free, to be alone in a quiet room. Maybe wonder in a park by yourself or with someone you can be yourself with that can encourage you and ask questions to get your juices going.
2. Search for Inspiration
A simple quote that eloquently shares a truth, a poem that dances through words, a mind-blowing book, or a song that expands my mind to new ideas.
John Lennon just said the word “imagine” and what followed was his dream written in a song of what the world could look like.
What if you just started with the words “Imagine” …it’s easy if you try.
Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
3. What NOT to do When You Start Dreaming Again
Don’t allow any limits.
Don’t judge yourself.
Don’t worry about what they will think.
Don’t think about the “how” too early or you may stunt the breadth of your dream.
4. What You Should Do When You Start Dreaming
Dreams are meant to be one size too big so you have room to grow into them. Think about something that will challenge you to grow in a new direction. If this is intimidating start out with a small dream, so you can build up your dream confidence. Then find someone to support you or a role model that is doing something similar to what you strive for.
5. Dream Motivators – Find your Dream Mode
Think about what kind of dreamer you are. What motivates and fuels your dreaming? What gets the big wheels moving in your head? What is your dream style? It may even be a combination of the below.
– Cause or Mission
Do you have something that you want to change that you feel is wrong or something you want to save and preserve that you value greatly? Maybe a newfound discovery of knowledge you think people need to know.
– Challenge or Competition
Are you ignited by people telling you, you can’t? Do you like a good challenge? Maybe you thrive on competition. Preventing the pain of negative peer feedback or the energy of a good game is what motivates you. Often this is the mindset that someone needs. But we all need some affirmations. It certainly helps anyway.
– Inspiration & Learning
Do your lights start shinning brightest when you read or hear an inspirational story? When someone provides evidence that dreams can be accomplished or make a difference to others you then start looking inward for what might come from you? You just love learning about anything that sparks your curiosity.
When you have space to be creative and make something new out of paper, in writing, designing, or shaping, it all starts to make sense. You want to make something to share with the world that is perfect and beautiful. Just starting the creative process makes you live your dreams.
Exploring the unknown. Getting a charge off something new. You like adrenaline or to feel the rush of the wind in your hair while racing your bike through the mountains or hiking to the top of a mountain. You need to break away from the normal and challenge yourself in going outside your safety zone.
Lastly, Capture Your Dream Thoughts
Whichever dream mode you have, immerse yourself in it to enliven your dream and bring it back from remission. Then write down what you’ve thought about. Sometimes I do it in my journal or notepad and sometimes it’s at my computer. I use whatever is handy, but I capture it and write it down.
Think big. Breath deep. Expand your mind. Open your heart and plant the seed.
Julie Allen is a Dream Career and Life Coach in the Seattle area. She helps young professionals find meaningful dreams that align with their purpose and potential.