Everyone talks about how to follow your dreams. But how to find your dream in the first place? I for one had no idea what “my dream” was a couple of years ago and even now I update my dream every now and then.
Because that is the thing with “finding your dream”. People feel that their dream needs to be this big, all inspiring thing that will fuel them for the rest of their lives.
I like to look at my dream (or life goal) differently.
Dreams and life goals can change, and that is ok!
There are all these different things I want (a.k.a. dreams and goals) and sometimes when you are close to living your dream, you figure out that THAT dream isn’t fully what you envisioned/want, so you sit on it for a while and think of another dream.
Easy does it!
We put so much pressure on ourselves and these dreams and passions we are supposed to have, that not feeling that passion is the thing that is keeping us back.
I believe we all have a purpose in life, something special to give.
But for most of us, it takes a lot of trial and error to find what that something special is.
I for one thought I wanted to be an editor at a women’s’ online magazine. I loved writing, online marketing and I am a woman. Perfect fit right?
Until I landed that “dream job”, felt miserable and delivered miserable work.
I went back to a corporate job for a while. One that involved lots of online marketing, writing and strategic thinking in terms of marketing. I liked it.
I liked it ALOT.
And so an idea for my own online marketing company was born. And that turned out to be my new dream.
And so, after a couple of months in this corporate job, I felt like it was the right time to try again. I quit and started BMD Media, my online marketing company. Now I have a steady base of customers and I am living my dream.
Do I feel completely full-filled? Hmm, not really, but I am close. I would like to scale my business, help more people without having to hire a complete team. Not that I wouldn’t like to be “the boss”, but my husband’s job has us traveling and relocating quite a bit. And I do not want to be a long distance boss.
So time to figure out my new dream…
How to find your dream
Enough about me, you are probably reading this because you want to find out what your dream, your purpose in life should be. Obviously, I can’t tell you what your dream in life should be, but I can help you with figuring stuff out. Below I have listed the steps that I took after my first freelance business (yeah, the editing job wasn’t my only job as an editor but that is for another day).All you will need is a pen, paper and some helpful friends and family to ask some questions.
Ready for your dream life?
Accept that dreams can change, it makes picking one easier
If you read the complete intro to this article you already know this. Dreams can change, and that is OK! You don’t have to have it all figured out, you just have to start. Everything else will follow once you start working towards your goal. You will find things you like about your dream and things that aren’t how you hoped they would be.
No problem though!
You are allowed to tweak your dream. Or go for the complete opposite! It is your life and you can do WHATEVER you want. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, ever!
List all your hobbies, talents and passions
Ok, it is time to make a list! Write down anything that makes you feel motivated or passionate. Include hobbies and jobs you had in the past and don’t forget about stories that other people told you.
Do you love to hear your friend from college talk about her interior design job? WRITE IT DOWN! Who knows? Maybe that is your dream, but because it feels so unattainable you’ve just never given it any serious thought.
Write down your talents as well. If you are unsure about your talents, ask people that are close to you what they think your talent is. Some people have obvious talents like singing or being a great chef. Others have more “hidden” talents like being a good listener, having great negotiation skills or being more organized than anyone else they know.
These talents come naturally to you and can tell you a lot about what kind of stuff you are good at.
Where do you like to work?
Some of us prefer to work in an open workspace with lots of colleagues, others love the solitude of a private office and there is another group that likes to work wherever they want.
There is no right or wrong here.
Heck, you can even like more than one place to do your work.
I love working in a co-working space that isn’t too big, but I also love working from home behind my desk and some days I love to write sitting in a chair in my living room. Knowing where you like to work and where you don’t like to work are a great help in deciding if a certain path is for you. If you really hate working in cubicles, you don’t always have to!
Do you enjoy working in nature? Then maybe an office job is not for you at all!
Make a separate list and write all of this down so you have a clear list of likes and dislikes.
What kind of tools do you like to use?
Do you like to work on a computer or do you prefer writing and drawing by hand? Do you like to work sitting or standing? In your spare time, what do you use and do to entertain yourself? Are you into techy-gadgets or do you just love doing things by hand? The tool or thing you like to work with gives you great clues to what your dream is. Knowing this makes finding your dream a lot easier!
Who do you like working with
Do you like to work with people? And if you do what kind of people give you energy and make you feel motivated? For me, I love to work with people but I do my best work alone. That was one of my first clues into knowing that a traditional office life isn’t for me. I love the communication with my clients, but I also LOVE that after a meeting I can just go off and do the work on my own. Office small talk was never my strong suit, and now I almost never have to deal with it. YAY!
This is me living my dream. But for others, this sounds like their worst nightmare!
Knowing who you like to work with and how you like to work with them is a great way to find out your ideal work situation.
Looking back at your life, what activities make you the happiest?
And I don’t mean that time you went to Disneyland as a kid (unless you want to work at Disneyland, of course).
In our lives, we do a bunch of things. Some things make us feel good, others make us feel nothing or – even worse- they make us feel bad. I want you to think back and list all the things that make you feel GOOD. Does writing make you feel like your on top of the world? Giving a presentation? Making a big sale? All of these things are clues to what your purpose in life might be.
Translate these list into life goals and/or careers
Now it is time for the “how to find your dream” part of the list. With all of this information you have, what are jobs and things you can do that combine your hobbies, talents, favorite tools and working style?
Please don’t hold yourself back, just find something that fits the criteria.
It is OK if it is something completely different than what you are doing now.
It is also OK if it feels completely unattainable.
It is a dream, it should not be easy. Sorry for the cliche, but if it was easy everyone would do it!
Once you have found “your dream” (and it is ok if you have more than one dream) try to envision yourself doing it. How does it feel? Do you feel great but a little scared of how the heck you are going to get there?
You found your dream!
Ok, you found your dream. Now what?
Finding your dream was the easy part, LIVING your dream… that is the hard stuff. It means commitment and hard work. I will dive into how to get to your dream life in another blog post, so don’t forget to follow the Girl Can Dream Facebook page to stay up-to-date.
But I also don’t want to leave you hanging here!
The first step to live your dream life is to draw up a roadmap. What small steps do you have to take your life from where you are now to where you want to be. You don’t have to live your dream life tomorrow. But you can take a small step towards your dream.
When I wanted to start my own marketing business, one of the first steps was to think of a name. After that came a logo and a website. After that, I needed my first customer, and when that customer came I needed my first positive review. All of these small steps eventually turned into goals and with each of these goals, I got closer to living my dream.
Not sure how to get where you want to be?
Find people that are living your dream life or people that are a bit further on the path to your dream, and ask them how they did it.
What do you need to do to get where they are?
Live bravely and without fear – or at least try
The most important thing when it comes to living your dream is that you need to live a brave life. Take risks and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Life is to short to live with someone else’s dreams and fears.
“Nobody who ever accomplished anything big or new or worth raising a celebratory fist in the air did it from their comfort zone. They risked ridicule and failure and sometimes even death.”