When we were young we thought we could do anything and be anything. We possessed a childlike faith in our talents and abilities which made it easy for us to dream of being a super hero or the world's next greatest athlete. Our self-confidence and optimism about making a difference and being someone special made it exciting to get up each day, explore the world, and engage people. Our dreams were something we not only could see and believe in but we expected them to become the reality of the world we lived in.
Somewhere along the way we stopped believing in ourselves and started believing in the words, "No. That's not possible". Because of this our dreams ceased to be visions worthy of a life's pursuit and instead became something we wake up from and forget as we engage the reality of the world around us. Every once in a while we might find ourselves day-dreaming again of all we hoped to be and how we could impact the world, but then we remember our mortgage payment, school loans, and the cost of raising a family. We shake our head, and say maybe someday, but not right now.
More and more I am having conversations with people who are struggling to find purpose and meaning in their life and work. Some are burned out, some are broke, but the majority of people have lost site of their dream. When I ask the question, If you could be doing anything and money was not an object what would it be?, most of them say something completely different then what they are currently doing for a living.
They are sad, frustrated, and even angry because they somehow got lost along the way of pursuing their dream. Perhaps they started pursuing someone else's dream or they just ran out of resources to pursue their own and moved on to something less risky and more financially secure.
Author John C. Maxwell says it best:
People who don't possess compelling dreams are in danger of having their lives merely slip away. Their days can become mundane, and then they become like their days.
I'm sensing now is the time for all of us to once again reconnect with our dreams, our vision, and the deepest desires of our heart. If you feel like you've lost sight of your dream - your calling - your purpose I encourage you to take ownership and responsibility of it once again. Here are four things you can do right now to reconnect with your dream and be responsible for it becoming a reality.
- Take some time away from work to write out your dreams onto paper. No filter, just write them down and what your envisioned future looks like living out your dream. Don't worry about how it will play out - instead focus on what your dream looks like. The how will come later.
- Share your dream with a few trusted advisors. Get their feedback and ask for them to hold you accountable to owning your dream and taking responsibility for it.
- Invest in your dream. Start looking for books, workshops, certifications, and personal development tools that you can invest your time and resources into. These should all drive you towards your goals and dreams.
- Pursue your dream with passion. Look for opportunities for you to live out even the smallest elements of your dream. Perhaps it is speaking to people, starting a small group, serving at a homeless shelter, or designing new products or services.
If your dream is truly your calling then there is a predestined point down the road when your preparation and the opportunity to live out your dream will intersect. Your dream will then become your reality. Don't lose hope as this intersecting moment is not too far down the road - now that you have taken responsibility for your dreams.
Make it a great day!