This week, I had the extreme joy of teaching a grade 12 class on creating heart-centered goals. They are all about to graduate and most of them are heading to college in the fall. During one of the conversations, it became clear that once they hit a certain age, their parents and teachers stopped telling them to dream and use their imagination, and instead, be realistic. They have had all these big dreams for their lives and now when they are just about to graduate and go into the world independently, they are told to be realistic about what goals they set for themselves.
Is this when we begin to instil fear in them, just before they go out on their own, which is already a scary enough?
As I thought about it that is exactly what happens. For years our dream of being an artist is supported and then we are told it won’t make us any money. Or, we are such amazing athletes or writers, celebrated all through our younger years, only to be told before graduation that we need to choose a more “realistic” vocation.
When we are young we are told that we can be, do and have all that we desire, we just have to dream. Why do so many of us get told to stop that and be realistic?
And what does being realistic actually mean? Does it mean choosing a path that sucks us dry of all passion, joy and happiness because we should choose security instead? That is fear talking and making the decisions, and that is why people (including ourselves) start to say, be realistic. What we are really saying is that we don’t believe we can be, do and have what we desire. What we are really saying is that we are afraid we might fail.
Even if we are not being “realistic” and realize that we have to make changes, or shift, or dream another dream, isn’t it better to at least try? For me, the answer is yes.
THE DAY I STARTED DREAMING AGAIN
In 1999 I hit my personal rock bottom. In a moment of surrender, I decided that I was ready for a change. I remember feeling emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually bankrupt. I felt so depleted in my life. I didn’t know my purpose, I had no personal or professional goals, and I had no vision (for a dreamer, this was soul sucking).
I wasn’t taking action to make my life better, in fact the actions I was taking were lots of actions making my life worse. I was so confused about what I wanted. All of that slowly started to turn around because I shifted my focus from what I didn’t have, how I was feeling, how I didn’t want to feel, to what I wanted and how I actually wanted to feel. I began to envision the life I actually wanted, not the one I was currently living.
Instead of focusing on my feelings of lack, which were keeping me in negative-ville and energetically attracting even more crap, I shifted my focus towards the vision of the life that I wanted. I started by getting clear about what I wanted, the life that I wanted live, the way I wanted to feel every single day. And I started my annual process of writing down my ideal life vision for the year. That was 21 years ago! And that is what I taught that group of wide eye, the world is so big, with opportunities 17 years olds to do. I started with, when I was your age; I wish I had been taught this. And we started with the most important question…
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Writing down the vision you want for your life creates a map for you to follow. It is easier to set goals, make decisions, shut down fear, and put yourself in the drivers seat of our lives, which is where we belong. Not living in the land of realistic, with our dreams and goals going unlived.
When I say decide what you want, I mean what YOU want, not what everyone else wants for you, but what YOU want for YOU!
So, what do you want?
What do you want for your health?Begin to dream again.
What do you want to accomplish this year?
What do you want for your career?
What do you want for your relationships?
What do you want for your finances?
What hobbies do you want to take up?
What do you want to learn?
What does your personal, professional and spiritual growth look like this year?
Who do you want to be?
What do you want to do?
What do you want to have?
Where do you want to go?
Schedule some time this week to create your vision. DREAM! Begin by closing your eyes and seeing yourself living the life you want. See it, feel it, imagine it like you are right there. If you have a really vivid imagination, hear it and smell it! Remember being a kid and being able to create the most amazing adventures right in your head? Do that!
Don’t worry about the how right now. This is where we always get tripped up. “I don’t know how I could ever be, do or have that, so I’m just going to stop right here.”
During this vision phase, just begin by getting clear on what you want. When you are done, look at it daily and start to ask yourself, “How can I achieve this? What do I need to do today to get me closer? Who do I need to be? Who do I need to work with, or speak with?”
The how (action) always becomes clear when we start looking at our vision every day and asking ourselves these questions. Maybe you get a nudge to hire a coach to help you set goals. Perhaps you feel inspired to take a class. You start up a conversation with someone and they have the exact plan or advice you needed. Or sometimes, it might just come from within. In those moments, you can begin to set a structure around living out your desires and take inspired action.
Your Dream Is the Ember That Stokes The Fire – Keep it Lit!Contagiously Positive
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl