Avoid dream killers. After deeply pondering why many people grow wings and fly in my workshops while a few seem to mire in confusion and discouragement, I decided to write about How to Avoid Dream Killers. The first and very prevalent hurdle to making dreams come true was taught to me at a very early age.
1. Being "Realistic" Far Too Soon!
Back in my high school days, as my interest in school-work sharply declined - with my marks following - I was called into the student counselor's office. Trying to explain my disinterest in school with examples of mind-numbing, clone-creating classes only elicited an exasperated query from the counselor of, "Yes but, what do you want to BE when you grow up?"
I told him I didn't know what I wanted to be but I did know I wanted to world travel. I'll never forget his response… "Oh, be realistic! We all have those idle dreams." Thankfully, I've never taken advice well and have world traveled thirty-five different countries. If I would have taken his advice I may have lived my life with regret over unlived dream.
There is a time for being realistic but NOT when a person is in the dream-seeking stage. Avoid dream killers like "I have to be realistic: I am too old, don't have the education/experience/money; someone else is already doing that..." Instead, when dreams bubble up – regardless of how outlandish they may seem - nourish them: write them in a dream journal, share them with supportive people, and follow where they lead. At least then, you can live your life without regrets of dreams unexplored. Avoid the dream killer of believing your
2. Inner Critic Comments
Avoid the dream killer comments of your inner critic which erode self worth and dreams. Awareness is the first key. When negative thoughts begin to whisper in your mind… STOP. Know this is part of the human condition. Practice compassion for yourself and others who suffer from negative thoughts with this Buddhist exercise called Tonglen.
First, breathe in all the angst, fear and torment all human beings feel when tormented by negative thoughts. Then, breathe out compassion and peace of mind for yourself and all the tormented minds in the world. For more tips on Transforming the Inner Critic click here.
3. Listening to Uniformed Advice and/or Negative Criticism
The advice of my school counselor may have seemed well-informed but never-the-less, could have snuffed my great dream. In the words of the great Sufi poet, Rumi: "When setting out on a journey do not consult someone who has never left home."
I can't tell you how many times I have heard workshop participants say something cannot be done because their next door neighbour's uncle (brother/friend) tried it and failed. When I query, "Did he have all the necessary factors in place ie location, money, product, service, niche, timing, etc? Did he have the passion, personality, intelligence, skills, etc… necessary?" No one knows – a case of uninformed advice nearly derailing a dream.
Avoid the dream killers who cite why you personally cannot succeed. These perhaps are the most murderous words for fledging dreams – as the personal criticism erodes one's courage. Negative criticism is often driven by fear and we must not share our dreams with these naysayers – even if they are family members. Instead, find supportive people to share with, and help build one another's dreams. Avoid dream killer...
4. Staying Confused, Lost, Overwhelmed, Frustrated, Discouraged
Attempting to change our work and create something new invites a host of feelings everyone feels from time to time. However, staying confused, lost, overwhelmed, frustrated, discouraged is a dream killer. Why do some people seem to cycle round and round here?
Perhaps they expect the answers to be given to them by others: the consultant/coach/counselor, other people, or the self-assessment tools/creative exercises. Outside sources may give us ideas but only we can define what we love to do and what really turns us on. Self exploration can only be done by oneself. Self exploration exercises are pointless unless we then, deeply ponder our answers, our life, for clues into our passions.
Also, we must be willing to start the exploration research process BEFORE we know where we are going. People who stay stuck in confusion and discouragement are people who say they don't know what they want to do and therefore cannot start exploring and researching. (Can’t start until I know; can’t know until you start!) In effect, they want to know the answer without seeking it. Remember it is, "Seek and Ye Shall Find," not reversed.
So the way out of the confusion conundrum is to begin seeking. Explore. Explore. Explore. Which leads us to Avoid Dream Killer…
5. Not Enough Information or Exploration
Avoid dream killer lines: "Oh, I could never do that," "I don't know what I want to do," and/or "I am lost and confused." Knowledgeable, correct information and exploring one's interests, passions and hunches is the way to move beyond the first four dream killers! Our dreams will not be revealed without exploring and researching.
Begin researching - discover who is doing what you are interested in doing. Google "How to be a business consultant, world-class chef, or…;" investigate professional organizations, the phone book, business magazines, bookstores, libraries. Read interviews with people who have very successful, interesting careers on www.roadtripnation.com. for ideas.
Talk to people making a living doing what you are interested in. Can you apprentice, volunteer, collaborate, job-shadow, hang-out with them? If someone is doing it – then it’s possible you can too! Barbara Winter reminded me of another way people short-circuit their dream. Read about this in Part 2 of Avoid dream killers…
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