In Pursuit of Dreams

So, you have a full-time job. It’s a dream job. Or, maybe it’s become your nightmare.

Your lifetime dream (or your parents’ wish) was to become a professional. You trained to be a lawyer, a doctor, a psychotherapist, an engineer, a physical therapist, a professor, a physicist… you get the idea.

You invested brain power, time, effort, and money on your education and your training. Everything was going well and you were on the right path. Your parents claimed bragging rights about your career and you certainly looked great on paper.

Congratulations were in order as you completed the schooling aspect and matriculated into your first job. It was like your first boyfriend or girlfriend. It was a job that was a good learning experience to determine what you wanted and needed, but likely not The One. You stayed a few years until a better opportunity came your way.  Then, you jumped when you got the high-price offer and started as soon as possible.

Things went well at that job. You also made more time for hobbies and outside activities. You finally took the photography class you’d wanted to explore since college and you loved it. You could not get enough. Every moment outside of the office was devoted to this hobby.

While you spent so much time at work and on your passion projects, there was a tugging feeling that would not stop pulling you.

Your mind started getting muddy. You pushed down questions creeping into your thoughts. You took advantage of each spare moment to take photography vacations and research equipment. Concurrently, you noticed your growing savings account and felt proud of a swelling number with each paycheck.

Then, the inner tension rose: you became a slave to your paycheck but started contemplating doing something else professionally. You didn’t tell anyone about your ambivalence. They’d think you were nuts if you revealed how frustrated you felt doing this “amazing” job. This was supposed to be you’re life’s work. And yet you felt so self-indulgent to even have these thoughts. Your parents still bragged about you to anyone who would listen. You kept getting promotions and raises. You felt undeserving and accepted them with a sheepish nod. Feeling called into this new hobby, you wondered if it could be a career.

In American society, we aren’t encouraged to dream.

Society begs us not to take risks, take chances.

How can we be so bold that we bet on ourselves?

Despite the adage that this is the land of opportunity, it doesn’t always feel like the American dream is attainable. They say everyone can succeed with hard work and determination. There is also a counter message to have a stable career that offers a steady paycheck.

This message to land your dream professional job, stay in it forever, and be happy in it is really difficult. I wrote about people who have dream jobs above. For the many who have nightmarish jobs, it’s even trickier. They’re likely not earning enough money and feel like their lives don’t have purpose. But again, the paycheck keeps them coming back each day.

How do you reconcile having a passion and not making enough money with doing what you despise, yet earning more?

Haters say you’re going to fail if you do it on your own. If you become a creative professional or entrepreneur, you’ll likely be told you won’t be able to make it, that you don’t have the skills or business acumen to succeed.

Do you know what? There can be failure in a safe job. There can also be failure in a creative pursuit. But success is also entirely possible!

How? Try. Do! Put yourself out there. Take risks in baby steps.

So many of my clients are textbook examples of having jobs that don’t bring them joy – and they take calculated risks to change this. One amazing woman I work with used  her incredible design skills to bolster other people’s work (she worked for a jewelry company). She noticed herself feeling uninspired and bored. Toying around with an idea, she decided to take a risk. In the last two years, she’s started her own lifestyle line and is now selling in large stores. She has done this strategically. And, it hasn’t been easy. However, she’s taken a chance on herself and it’s proven to be successful.

I’m telling you this because it’s possible. You (yes, you!) can make changes. Sometimes an idea will flourish into something big. Sometimes you’ll realize the idea doesn’t have long legs. Either way, there’s no failure in the attempt.

My work with clients is all about the attempt and the success in starting something, rather than watching life float by. As we wrap up 2018, it’s important to start thinking about what YOU are starting in the new year.

Please contact me for a consultation.

Other posts: Why Passion Is Attractive, You Need A Coach & Whose Life Are You Living?

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