“What about the people who have never had a dream about what they wanted to be when they grew up?”
I occasionally stop by the You Tube page where my TEDx Talk lives to reply to any comments. The majority are very positive. There are a couple of complete trolls who probably question and heckle everything, and then … there is this burning question repeated time after time.
In the talk, I mentioned people who don’t dream or can’t remember having a dream from childhood about what they wanted to grow up to be. I mention that even those that can’t even daydream now may have come from a childhood that forced them to grow up faster than appropriate.
Kids who were scared for any reason (maybe losing a parent and fearing the other would die or go away, not being allowed to be themselves for whatever reason or fearing for their safety) will tend to be adults who don’t have a dream. While it is possible to dream if you grew up with these circumstances, when someone can’t, I have found they typically have lived these scenarios.
I apparently left a lot of people hanging but twelve minutes only allowed one through line of solutions.
“What do I do if that is me?”, you might ask.
If this is you, here’s what you do:
Get thee to a therapist — Really. I’m not kidding. If you shut off your dreaming mechanism because it wasn’t safe to check out temporarily, you have to go back and revisit the trauma. What caused the erosion of your sense of safety?
Let’s say you’ve already been to therapy or you just won’t consider going. OK – try this:
Re-sensitize your self — The connection that seems to be missing for people who don’t or can’t dream or imagine a desirable future for themselves is the distance between the body and the mind. You may be desensitized to your own feelings. Not the extremes like anger or elation, but the subtle ones like what you like, what you want, or even what brings you joy. If you feel like you don’t really even know what you want on a daily basis but decide things in order to avoid the pain of NOT making a decision, you are desensitized to your own body.
Your body has a lot of information for you.
How do you re-sensitize? Start or revisit a hobby that involves working with your hands or that requires full-body engagement. For example, knitting, painting, pottery wheelwork or other building/making activity is tactile and preferable. If there is nothing like that you used to do or would like to do, think of something that engages your full body like dancing, running or cycling.
After a couple of weeks of doing one of these activities four or more times per week, notice if you are feeling more sensitive and more aware of your feelings and subtle preferences.
Practice WANT days — Whether you can devote one-hour, three hours or a whole day, take time out to have no agenda whatsoever. Don’t even carry the responsibility of walking the dog or feeding a child. Just give yourself blank space. In that space, notice. Notice your gut. Notice what you want. In fact, keep asking yourself “What do I want?” What is the answer? What do you want?
Do you want to go for a walk? Read? Paint? Sleep? Eat a particular thing? Just practice hearing and responding to what you want. This isn’t about indulging yourself in stuff that’s not good for you. It’s not about masking your emotions with a substitute for feeling like food, alcohol, drugs or other forms of numbing yourself. Feel what you WANT!
Practice WANT days as often as you reasonably can until you can start to FEEL the difference in your body between a true want and a bad habit. When true wants are fulfilled, you will feel a sense of satisfaction. If you’re feeding a bad habit, you’ll ultimately feel negative emotions like guilt, anxiety or anger.
NOW WHAT? — Some feeling should be restored now which means an ability to see in your mind’s eye and/or dreaming should be coming back. See if you can see yourself in a role that brings you joy when you simply think about it, whether it be a specific job, career or life role.
Can you imagine yourself in a new future? Can you daydream about other possibilities for yourself? How does it feel as you envision these possibilities? Whether you are going to take action on them or not does not matter. What does matter is that your dreaming mechanism is now turned back on.
NOW, go back to the TEDx talk, and listen to it for the next steps. Welcome back.
Let me know how I can help you see what’s next.
Some people are lucky enough to “follow their passion” and find joy and abundance, but often passion alone is not enough.
It is frequently interpreted as “interest at the moment,” and interests change over time.
Passion is part of the equation toward fulfillment, but there’s more…
Innovation and social impact doesn’t always come in a glamorous package. Jasmine Burton saw a global need that would make the difference in many lives and went after it with gusto, calling her mom to declare: “I know what I am supposed to do. I am supposed to design toilets.” Maybe toilets aren’t your thing, but are you an innovator or creative who might join with the policy makers to change the world? What need might you address?
Most “overnight successes” did not begin with any resemblance to their future success. What sets them apart is the people who had the courage to follow their vision. They did what many (most) people with great ideas don’t – they took a step and they BEGAN!
“Whether it’s a garage, a basement, or a dorm room, every business has humble beginnings. It’s not about where you start. It’s where you end up.” So, what’s cooking for you? And, what one step could you take today to make your dream a reality?
Brandon Stanton, has recently been honored as one of TIME’s 30 Under 30 World Changers. In this video he shares how his achievement had nothing to do with money. It was about turning a hobby into an obsession and then into a devotion as his audience grew. Success came out of his passion and doing something that he loved. His message at 3:55 is the Now What?® message, and he says it so well that we’ll let his words stand on their own! Check it out!
Here is a short interview with Darcy Camden, as she reflects on her path to becoming a professional wardrobe stylist. Citing “learning to listen” as one of her biggest lessons, she advises those who want to build a lasting career to focus on long-term goals.
While it’s human nature to want to snap your fingers and be on the other side of change, relaxing into a long-term goal can be equally rewarding. Time goes by one way or another, so you might as well be working on something you care about. If time weren’t an issue, what goal would you sink your teeth into?