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Issue 105

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In this issue ~~

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Building a Dream

We hear a lot these days about finding your passion, living your dream. Even in a challenging economy, many people are no longer satisfied with just a steady paycheck (as desirable as that is). We want work that we enjoy doing, where we can use our gifts and talents and create a lifestyle we love.

Building a dream can be done. I've done it. But it takes a certain perspective and commitment. What often gets in people's way are certain beliefs or myths.

  • I will leap right into my fully-realized dream.
  • If I can't do it right now, I never will.
  • I need to know exactly how I will achieve my dream before I start.
  • I need a lot of money to achieve my dream.
  • I need to be at the perfect life stage to achieve my dream.

The truth is, most dreams take time and effort to build. Young people take it for granted that they need to learn skills and get experience to achieve their goals. More mature adults often think that if they don't already have the specific skill set to do something new, they're stuck doing what they always did. As someone who started new careers at 40 and 47 (and will probably start something new at 70!), I can attest that it's never too late to follow a new path.

  • Begin by defining your dream and why you want it.
    Create a picture of what you want, in words or images. As you're putting together your vision, be aware of which words and images excite you. If you want to do something because it will look good on your resume or please someone else, you won't have the drive to stick it out when the going gets rough. Make sure you'll enjoy the process, and not just achieving the goal.
  • Assess your assets.
    What do you already have in place that will contribute to your dream goal? What's lacking, and what will it take to acquire the missing pieces? You may be surprised at how much you already have going for you. And when you define what you still need, you can more easily strategize how to get it.
  • Be strategic in your planning.
    You may have an inspiring idea, but other commitments are demanding your time and attention right now. When I decided to become a Life Coach, I needed 9 months to complete some projects with my publishing company before I could focus on my new career. Your time may be even longer, perhaps waiting until your little ones are in school or you retire. Plan strategically, and use the intervening time to do research and prepare.
  • Take steps with intention.
    I often hear people say, "I hope I can do this." If you're tentative about the steps you take, the results you'll get will also be tentative. The attitude that leads to success is one of unswerving commitment, no matter what the obstacles. Think of your goal as a lighthouse beacon. If you get thrown off course, use your vision to get you back.
  • Just start, and let the path unfold.
    You may not know how to get to your dream goal, but don't let that stop you. Take whatever step you know, even if it's just learning more about what to do. Talk to people; take a class; read a book. As you get deeper into the process, each subsequent step will reveal itself.
  • Be realistic about how long it will take, and don't give up.
    Even an inspiring dream can be challenging. Don't quit your day job, but don't quit your dream either. Develop discipline, and get used to delayed gratification. Hard work and persistence can pay off with big rewards, but you have to stick it out. You don't want to quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens.
  • Don't let a lack of funds stop you.
    Money is the #1 excuse for not pursuing dreams. Notice I said "excuse." If you really want it, you'll find a way. Take small steps, and do what you can afford to do. Save money, or find funding in the form of a business partner, grants or loans. Over time, small steps add up to big payoffs. I coached a poor artist, who couldn't afford to buy supplies, to get back to painting using whatever she had around the house. A few months later, she reconnected with an old friend who wanted to partner with her to open an artists' colony in her home town.

If you have a dream, start now -- yes, even in this economy. Take small steps consistently and build your dream over time. It may seem like the distant future right now, but hey, do you have something better to do with that time than pursuing your life's passion?

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Action Challenge

What dream have you been postponing because it doesn't see possible? List 5 action steps you can take in the next 2 -3 months to explore that dream and start moving toward it.

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Wise Words

"Dreams are astoundingly important. They keep nagging you because you're supposed to fulfill them. When you sense you're special, you're not neurotic or grandiose. Something inside you is calling to you and you have to listen. When you love to do something, that means you have a gift for it. . . And when you're gifted at something, you have to do it."

~ Barbara Sher, Live the Life You Love

"Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes."

~ Marguerite Smith

"Courage is not the absence of fear; it's caring for something with a passion greater than your fear of pursuing it. . . . If we are to succeed, our goals must call to us more loudly than our fear."

~ Paul & Sarah Edwards, The Practical Dreamer's Handbook

"If you're this successful doing work you don't love, what could you do with work you do love?"

~ Tama J. Kieves

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Bookshelf

(click on the book to see a description at Amazon.com)

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles . . . Steven Pressfield

Do the Work . . . Steven Pressfield

Anything You Want . . . Derek Silvers

Poke the Box . . . Seth Godin

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life . . . Twyla Tharp

The Art of Non-conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World . . . Chris Guillebeau

Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance . . . Jonathan Fields

Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur . . . Pamela Slim

Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity . . . Hugh McLeod

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich . . . Timothy Ferris

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© 2011 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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