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I was at work the other day and decided to be friendly and chat with one of our customers.
“How’s it going?” I asked him, to be polite.
“I’m living the dream,” he answered.
Before I could offer some congratulatory phrase, happy and impressed that he was apparently doing so well, he continued:
“…Someone else’s dream, that is.”
Those five extra words stopped me in my tracks. That wasn’t a dream – that was a nightmare!
It made me think. Are we living the life we are dreaming for ourselves?
If not, are we making plans to get there?
Or are we living by someone else’s dream for ourselves?
It may be a well-meant dream; perhaps it’s a parent that we don’t want to disappoint, or a boss we want to impress, or some other reason. I’m not saying to shirk our responsibilities. That would be…irresponsible. But I AM saying that maybe it’s worth taking stock of our lives and seeing if this is the direction we want to head in.
Is the path we’re on going to get us to where we want to go?
Take a moment and think about this for yourself.
What are your own personal goals? If you could design your own future, what would it look like? How would things be different from today? Try experimenting in your mind with different timeframes (six months from now, 2 years from now, a decade from now, etc.), or with different goal types (financial, relational, spiritual, etc.)
When you find a goal that seems right for you, why not write it down? Find a picture of it to inspire you. Build a vision board. Put Post-It notes around your house. Talk things over with a trusted friend. Look for examples in others who have achieved what you want to for yourself.
Once you have your own dream, think about what steps you can take to get there. Nothing is likely to change if you don’t make a change. I’m sure you’ve all heard about how to create SMART goals for yourselves. Of those five steps, I find the ‘time-bound’ part to be one of the most important in my own life. It takes my vague ‘somedays’ and turns it into what I can do ‘today’. Not that I’ll achieve the whole dream in a day – but it reminds me to take daily actions towards my goal.
Along with that, REVIEW your goals – and your dreams! I’ve sometimes found when working on a goal, that I need to adjust it. Maybe I set too ambitious of a pace to begin with and I can’t realistically maintain it now. Or maybe that goal isn’t even a dream of mine anymore; it’s ok to acknowledge that and move on.
We have a funny way of looking at things we’ve already invested in and think we need to keep it up or it will be wasted. But those are what are called ‘sunk costs’; we need to cut our losses and stop throwing our time and money away just to prove something to ourselves. Better to admit we made a mistake, realize that nothing we learned in the process will go to waste, and try again with a new goal.
Whose dream are YOU living?
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