Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When You Don't Have A Dream

It's the talk of the town. Dreaming big. Living the life of your dreams.

Taking leaps forward.

Getting out of your comfort zone.

Feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Making shit happen.

Then, there you are. Living the dream. Wildly happy, beaming with joy, extra spring in your step and all. The whole lot and then some. Dreams like this are what you've heard all about for as long as you can remember. The accumulation of every struggle, pep talk, check mark, triumph, and goal crushing. The you-can-do-its! and keep-goings! cheered from the side lines. It's the success stories you've watched from a far and secretly wished was you. Except, now it is you.

But... wait. Let's pull back the reins, stop the future tripping, and get back to the here and now. (Because here and now is where it's at)

How do you get there? How do you begin at square one?

(You know, the starting line, where you sheepishly look around, muttering under your breath... "oh...hey? I just got here. Yeah, I'm a little late to the game, but I think I'm ready?")

Recently I was chatting with a friend of mine about goal-setting and big-dreaming and she looked at me and said, "I don't think I have a dream."

It didn't surprise me. I've been there. It was not too long ago when I would have said the same thing myself. To be honest, it was what I told myself for years. In a world full of dreamers, do-ers, and go-getters, I spent a lot of time looking around, seeing my peers topped to the brim with motivation, ambition, and massive goals to boot. I'd take a look around, comparing myself, thinking, "I'm just not good at anything, I don't have a passion, and I don't know even know where to begin. I don't know what to do with myself. With my life." I accepted it, I settled for less, and I went along like that for quite awhile - apathetic, empty, and downright unhappy. (But secretly searching. Always searching.)

"Of course you have a dream, you just haven't discovered it yet."

Everything looped back around to living a life thriving on the passions that come to you easily. Finding that thing that just clicks when you do it, the one that flows effortlessly through your veins, that is what you should pursue.

It's exactly what Marcus Buckingham said:

"You grow most in your areas of greatest strength. You will improve the most, be the most creative, be the most inquisitive, and bounce back the fastest in those areas where you have already shown some natural advantage over everyone else— your strengths. This doesn’t mean you should ignore your weaknesses. It just means you’ll grow most where you’re already strong."

Ask yourself this:

Three simple questions... get a piece of paper and write what pops into your head first. The name of the game is RAPID FIRE ANSWERS. No censorship. No self-editing.

No, really. You there, reading this. Skimming on by. Piece o' paper. Do it.

1. How do you want to FEEL in your life? (creative, peaceful, connected, alive...)

2. What makes you feel ____________? (creative, peaceful, connected, alive... write out an answer for each feeling. For example, maybe you feel the most CREATIVE when you're writing, painting, cooking, completing DIY projects, OR you feel the most ALIVE when you're out in nature, trying new experiences, moving your body, or base-jumping, you little adventurer, you.)

3. Brainstorming sesh. What can I do on a daily/weekly basis to align myself with how I want to feel? Write your heart out. Whatever comes, write it out. There is nothing too silly/ stupid/ out there.

Knocking those big goals outta the park doesn't happen over night, neither does living your dream. Baby steps pave the way for massive leaps. Aligning yourself with how you want to feel consistently opens the door for more of that good stuff to enter your life. Whatever lights you up? Do that. Let those feelings guide you. Call off the search on finding all the answers. There's a subtle beauty about how everything comes together when we stop focusing on the achievements and outcomes. Epiphanies happen. Dreams come to fruition. (Trust me on that one.)

Oh, and my friend? She's found her thing.

Just a couple more Q's before you head out: How did the exercise go for you? Any answers pop up that surprised you? Any little nudges you were previously feeling that are now amplified? (Ahhh... pushes from the Universe, funny how that happens, huh?) Drop it like it's hot in the comments. (Or, if you want to dive into this further, I love connecting through email as well!)

Image via Dan Littlewood


  1. I've missed your posts. I'll try the exercise and let you know how it goes, I'm not entirely sure what my dream is anymore!

    1. Why, thank you! I really hope you do try it out! It's amazing what flows out of us when we welcome it. The funny thing about dreams is that they continue to change, evolve, grow... it's up to us to check in and say "What do I really want?"

      Don't fret! The "knowing" will come xx

  2. I think the most stressed out I ever was in my life was when I had no idea what I wanted to do. It's like a weight just constantly hanging over you.
    PS - are you going to share your "thing" with us??

    1. Definitely! It can be extremely discouraging. And I know I had people tell me "You just wait... you'll find it!" who I gave a half-smile, completely not believing them... but it's true! It's so true.

      My thing? I'm ironing out the details... ;)

  3. I have totally been in that place of "not having a dream," and it's a terrible feeling! But even when you know what your dream is it can be hard to live it. And life has a way of causing your dream to change focus and courses. It's interesting for sure! And definitely a bumpy ride! Thanks again for another thought provoking post! Always enjoy them :)

  4. awesome awesome awesome post! a few of my friends havent found what make them tick, and it makes them feel kind of down and lost. I should totally show them this post- it'll maybe stir them and help point them in the right direction :D

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

    1. Oh YES! PLEASE do! I'd love to know how it goes xx

  5. I love this exercise! I'm really not sure yet if I know my dream... at the very least I know the answers to the questions above, but not necessarily what they all sum up to. So thought-provoking... definitely something to journal my way to figuring out.

    So glad you're back!