Find fulfillment and joy in making your dream a reality
By Mary Friedel-Hunt
"I just can't wait until I am 16," she announced when she was 12 years old. "I will own my own Volkswagen and be able to maintain it and drive it!" Her excitement and confidence was inspiring. At 12, Katelyn had defined her dream and was determined to earn enough money to make this dream come true. Four years later her dream did come true. She had saved her money from babysitting, walking neighbors' dogs, gifts, and from her summer job scooping ice cream. Somehow she balanced all of that with crew, good grades and a healthy social life.
She had achieved her heart's desire, and one's heart's desire is the essence of dreams. Dreams are our passion - those achievements, which bring us real joy. Dreams keep us alive, give us purpose, and bring us the happiness we deserve. They drive us, energize us and give us hope. For a 16-year-old, having a new car is a typical passion. As adults, our dreams take a variety of shapes that can include career changes, relationships, adventure, spiritual and personal growth, creativity and lifestyle changes. The list is literally endless.
As women, we all too often put our dreams on a back burner until we've completed something else we feel takes precedence. This "something else" can be child rearing, a need to increase our self-confidence, the needs of our partner, or a job that puts bread on our table. As meaningful and essential as these duties can be, they can disallow the pursuit of our heart's desire - our dream. As a result, we can feel a lack of fulfillment, a continued sense of dissatisfaction, and even depression. But in fact, by pursuing a dream, we can actually create the energy and joy those around us need and desire from us.
So how do we move into a dream-seeking stance? There are essential ingredients in this pursuit. Katelyn had the determination and self-discipline to manifest her car. Beneath this determination, however, was a belief that she deserved to have what she wanted and that she could actually attain it. Self-esteem and self-confidence form the foundation of dream seeking. These are simultaneously enhanced as we go after those things that bring us joy.
But let us go a bit deeper. Sue, who felt her life was lacking a sense of fulfillment, ran into one of the most common deterrents on the path to achieving a dream - namely the inability to define her dream. Sue's dream was, at best, hazy and foggy. With the assistance of a personal growth coach, Sue soon learned that her hectic lifestyle was the biggest obstacle to defining her dreams. Her own passions, desires and needs had diminished over the years with responsibility for a full-time job, children, and with a husband who traveled a great deal. The peaceful, quiet moments of solitude Sue needed to birth her dream got lost in the shuffle of busy days. But once she created the space and time in her life to breathe and relax, she was able to remember a longstanding dream of making time for adventure travel. She was on her way!
The starting place, then, on the path to making our dreams a reality is creating a balanced lifestyle in which we carve out daily periods of quiet and solitude. These intervals allow us to gather the motivation and energy we need to take small - but daily - steps toward the definition and fulfillment of our dreams. It is during this time that our intuition can lead us and guide us.
Once defined, the next step in the process of dream fulfillment may involve a good look at our belief system. Asking relevant questions becomes the beginning of this search. Some of these include:
- Do I really believe that I deserve to be happy and to have my dreams comes true?
- Do I deserve to take the time needed to reach my goals?
- Do I believe that I can do it?
- Am I willing to take the necessary risks, and spend the time, energy and money to realize my dream?
When people do not succeed in making their dream a reality, it is because they give up. Fear and doubt are troublesome obstacles that fuel surrender on the road to joy. As amazing as it sounds, people are as afraid of success as they are of failure, because success comes with its own set of expectations. For example, Barbara, who dreamed of having her own business, said, "If I succeed, I will have more responsibility than I can handle." Her fear of success was clearly holding her back. She was advised to gather a supportive group of dream seekers around her to bolster her when fear escalated. This group also served to hold her accountable and eventually led to her conquering the fears that held her back and ultimately to her reaching her goal.
One must set goals, and goals are basically dreams with a deadline. Look at your dream. Determine the steps necessary to create it. It does not matter how long it will take; the passion of the dream will sustain you on the way. Set goals that are realistic; stay on task by doing just one small thing everyday to bring you closer to the fulfillment of your dream. Crowd out negative thoughts by replacing them with affirmations such as:
- I will make my dream come true.
- I have within me all that I need to manifest my dream.
Slowly, step-by-step, your dream will become reality before your eyes. You will feel alive and satisfied with the life you live. Too many of us, as Thoreau said too well, are living lives of quiet desperation. That quiet desperation is frequently the result of stuffing our dreams down into a corner of our lives and believing we will never have what we desire.
Only you can name your dream and make it come true. Start small, build confidence, and know that when you walk to the edge of the cliff and leap into your dreams, you will indeed fly!
Taking the Plunge!
- Risk-taking is inherent in the pursuit of dreams, but don't let it deter you.
- Don't be thrown off course by disparaging comments made by those who do not laud your dream. Frequently these remarks come from people who are afraid to pursue their own dreams.
- Don't get lost in the danger. Risks infer danger and opportunity. Re-focus on the opportunities.
- Look carefully at the risks you encounter. Evaluate what you have to lose if you proceed. Then determine the best path for yourself without succumbing to fears that do not merit your giving up.
- Focus on developing acceptance of and trust in yourself. Risks appear larger and more threatening if we lack self-acceptance and self-confidence.
- Ask others for support, assistance, and affirmation.
Listen & Hear
Create the time and relaxation you need to hear your inner voice of intuition:
- Before and after work, sit quietly for 5-10 minutes to give yourself a chance to regroup and prepare for the next part of your day.
- Buy an inexpensive watch that beeps on the hour. When it beeps, take a breath and remind yourself to be peaceful. This will become a habit.
- Schedule a massage once in awhile to affirm your self-worth and to help you relax.
- Learn to meditate. Create a space and time for this each day. It takes only 20 minutes and will assist you in defining your passion and staying on course.
- Trust your hunches!
Try these exercises as you journey toward your dream:
1. Keep a journal of dream ideas until your primary one emerges.
2. Write affirmations. Put them on 3x5 cards and place them in strategic places to remind you of your vision quest.
3. Cut out pictures and words from magazines that depict your dream. Put them in a basket. Look at them and add to them regularly.
4. Meet on the Internet, on the phone, or in your kitchen with one or more others who want to pursue a dream.
5. Hire a personal coach or therapist to assist you in the development of the self-esteem and the awareness needed for your pursuit.
6. Write your own obituary. In it, define those things for which you would truly like to be remembered and list what you would like to have achieved in your life.