In a conversation with one of my lovely client’s yesterday, we talked about the work she’d do if money were no object.
For the first time, she allowed herself to connect to a dream that was completely different to what she’s doing right now.
She then told me she’d often thought about doing this (secretly), but that it would be something that would only be possible once she’d reached a certain level in her career.
Not because she didn’t want to do what she dreamed of.
But because she believed that it wasn’t valid or valuable in the eyes of others.
IT WASN’T A CAREER PATH, IT WAS A LIFESTYLE CHOICE.
She believed that following a career path was what was expected of her and what she must do, even though it didn’t make her heart leap with joy in the same way her dream did.
In the meantime, she’d put her dreams to one side and focus on pushing herself, on achievement, promotions and making herself acceptable in the eyes of others, to then earn the non-verbal permission she needs that it’s ok to follow her dreams.
This is such a common thought pattern that exists in our society.
We’ve been programmed by our caregivers, our teachers, our peers, that there is a necessary path to follow:
University (or straight into working life)
The money, the house, the career
Get married, have children, upgrade houses, cars and other material things, get a few promotions at work, maybe change jobs a few times, all in an effort to be successful and have a successful life.
Retire at 60 if you’re lucky (but these days more like 65)
Then live your life, fulfil your dreams, have adventures and be happy
Die sometime around 80-90 if you’re lucky
Except that this theory has a massive flaw:
YOU MAY NEVER MAKE IT TO NUMBER 5
None of us know how long we have to fulfil our dreams and make a meaningful mark on the world and delaying our dreams is only ever likely to ensure that they never become a reality.
I appreciate that some people find careers that they love and they are fulfilled by these, but if you’re one of many who feels that what you’re doing is lacking meaning or that you secretly dream of doing something else, then perhaps now is the time to start taking action?
The feeling of following an unconventional path that offers fulfillment, meaning & greater connection to people around me, has reinforced what I’d been missing from my time spent in a corporate career, conforming to other people’s rules and beliefs.
IT FAR OUTWEIGHS ANY FEARS I MIGHT HAVE HAD ABOUT CHANGING DIRECTION AND LEAVING THE CORPORATE WORLD
It far outweighs any worry about how I would be perceived by others.
I’m not suggesting you quit your job tomorrow (unless of course you want to!) but I am suggesting that if there is a dream you’re not taking action on, don’t assume you’ll get to do that once you’ve had a successful career doing something that isn’t as fulfilling.
...Because you may not be that lucky.
It’s your life and no one else gets to be you or to live your life for you, so it’s up to you to make sure it’s a good one.