Lately I’ve been meeting closet dreamers. This is not a Marie Kondo reference (although, YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST). Closet dreamers are people with dreams for their careers and lives that they haven’t quite admitted to themselves, let alone the world.
They have visions of what could be, but no plan to pursue their authentic greatness. Well, dear closet dreamers, I was once you, and I have a few things to say to you:
You are different
Newsflash: you are incredibly special for having dreams.
If there’s one thing I need you to understand it’s this: not everyone has a file on their phone for their blog ideas or company taglines. Not everyone keeps lists of contacts in the field they want to enter, or saves draft emails to potential dream employers or collaborators. That’s what dreamers do, and dreamers have dreams for a reason. It was given to you, and I’m pretty sure your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do something with it.
You are not weak or broken
Being terrified is nothing to be ashamed of. Around these parts (2019 I mean), following a career dream that strays from the path you’ve been on tends to be viewed unfavourably, from misguided to irresponsible to high-risk to, well, dumb. These, by the way, are the voices of the non-dreamers.
We humans have lasted a looong time here on planet earth – thanks to the fact that we’re hardwired for self-preservation. Anything outside of the comfort zone and we’re catastrophizing outcomes left and right. Many people want to switch careers, but their brains are on a loop telling them all the reasons why they can’t.
Get yourself some perspective
Let’s try an experiment: Stop thinking about a three or five year plan, and instead, ask 75 year old you about their career story. You can do this in meditation, or in your journal, or you can just think about it for a few days while you drive and listen to music you love. Just open yourself up to meeting your 75 year old self, and find out what they have to say about your career story.
Decide to go for it
Do you have to quit your day job? Definitely not. But whatever this dream is that you have, if you only think about it on the last Friday of the month between 3 and 5pm, when it’s raining, and as long as there’s nothing better to do, it’s going nowhere fast.
You have to nurture it, and to do that you have to commit. If you want to start a business, start showing up for it. If you want to become an expert, get studying. If you want to be a great writer, get a great editor. Whatever you need to do to make it real, do that.
You probably can’t turn off the doubts (although tame them over time? yes and a worthy pursuit). You CAN counteract all that fear by daydreaming about what could go right. Imagining all the good stuff feels amazing and there’s loads of research that says it’s actually essential in order to make it happen.
ANY action you take toward claiming and consciously pursuing the life you REALLY want, makes a difference. Even small steps matter. Progress is gradual and cumulative, until suddenly, unexpectedly, you find yourself face to face with living it.
And won’t that be a great feeling?!
To recap, recognize that your dream makes you special and you’re meant to explore it, give yourself a break for being completely terrified to do so, then, check in with an older, calmer, wiser version of yourself and recognize the future is yours to make and the time is now. Then carve out consistent energy to invest in it and above all else, BELIEVE!
PS! If your dream is calling and you’re ready to break down whatever’s standing in your way, that’s one of my specialties 🙂 Our first conversation is free and you can book it over HERE.