Are you working to fulfill your own dream or someone else’s?
Chances are, the work you are doing is helping someone else free up their time, increase their bank balance or follow their heart. You’re a chess piece in their game.
You’re doing the work. They are reaping most of the blessings.
Don’t get me wrong – you’re thankful for the job. You even like some of the people at the office. It’s not totally miserable. But deep down, you know you are working hard to fulfill someone else’s dream.
After all, if you’re not willing to work for your dream, someone will hire you to work for theirs.
So, where did your dream go? Why are things the way they are?
1. Some dreams are buried by budgets.
My friend Ben shared a quote from Nassim Taleb. I wrote it down and it’s never escaped me. “The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates and a monthly salary,” he said.
I wonder if our unfulfilling jobs, providing an adequate cover for our lifestyle, are the very things keeping us from fulfilling our full potential. And I wonder if finding that sweet spot wouldn’t produce even more income in the long run.
A salary is great. But a salary is also safe. It can keep you from dreaming.
I’m not an advocate of betting the farm on a long shot. I don’ think it’s wise for you to quit your day-job to pursue an unfunded passion.
But what if you lived on 80% of your income for a couple of years and banked the rest? What if you started something on the side and saved all of the money? You might have to work early or work one extra day a month, but I bet you could generate something extra.
What if you took control of your income instead of letting your salary dictate your lifestyle, and put a plan into place that would energize your dreams instead of kill them slowly?
2. Some dreams are caged by fear.
If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do? Would you start a business? Write a book? Would you launch out on your own?
Fear is a powerful thing. It robs our future by whispering loudly in the present.
Fear tells you to stay on the shore because it’s dangerous out on the open water. That the comfort of your current paycheck is worth a few more years of regretful wishes.
Fear is a powerful thing, but if you don’t act, I wonder if the corresponding regret won’t be bigger.
It’s true it might not work, but fast forward a decade and think through the ramifications of staying where you are.
William Shakespeare wrote, “ There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the food, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lost our ventures.”
Fear is a very real thing. But may we be more afraid of never trying than trying and failing.
3. Some dreams are washed away by time.
The rare and powerful dream gets stronger with time. But it’s far more common for a dream to die a slow and subtle death.
It was there long ago, but it’s a distant memory now. Days became months and months became years. The kids are older and the bills are larger – now is not the time to try something risky.
But peel back the layers, and I bet your dream is still there. It’s a sleeping giant ready to be awakened.
Go for a walk, read an old journal or take time to remember.
Remember how excited you were about that new idea. Sure, the timing or technology might have changed by now, but the dream is still there.
Remember what you drew on the napkin.
Remember the late night conversation you had in the living room.
Remember the prayers and the talks and the dreams.
You can’t go back in time, but you can remember and learn from the past.
So where did your dreams go? Have they been buried by budgets, caged by fear or washed away by time? If money were no option, what would you do? Feel free to leave a comment and dream out loud.
It’s safe to dream here.